Dogs love camping too
Packing the car for a family camping trip must be the most stressful part of your holiday. How many times have you arrived on site only to find you’ve left an essential piece of camp gear at home? We’ve all done it, and we’ve all felt that sinking feeling of frustration. Many seasoned campers have checklists to follow or pack items with military efficiency often in a predefined order to ensure nothing is forgotten. For occasional campers, careful planning can save the day.
But what about the dog – no, I’m not suggesting you’ve forgotten to pack the dog, but I bet that’s happened to someone somewhere. I’m thinking more about the equipment and camping essentials needed for your canine family members. You’ve packed all your own gear, sorted the kids’ stuff, double checked the USB charging cables and spent half an hour looking for the car keys! One last thing, have you got everything you need for an easy camping trip with the dog?
Medication: dogs have medicine too, so don’t forget to pack anything they’ll need. Use a well-respected flea and tick protection before you go and have a supply of antihistamines, essential for stings and bites. Your camping first aid kit will probably have the necessary bandages and dressings but include a small roll of vet-wrap or similar just in case. It’s useful to have a good tick remover, or decent tweezers in your camping kit too, you never know.
Make sure your family pets’ microchip data is up to date and correct. Family camping trips are an exciting time for everyone, including the dog, and with millions of new smells and interesting places to investigate you’ll want to make sure your pet can be reunited with you should the worst happen and you become separated. Invest in a good quality pet tag with your mobile number and contact details clearly visible. Having a strong dog tie down steak can be a particularly useful for securing your dog, but make sure they’re safe and can’t get tangled or pose a danger to themselves or other campers.
Obviously, your dog will need food and water. If you're camping on a caravan site, chances are there will be a good supply of fresh water available, so fill up your WaterHog and you're ready to roll. You’ll need the dog’s food and water bowl and we always carry a collapsible water bowl when we’re out walking too, so the dogs have a drink while we’re out and about. If a supply of water isn’t available, you’ll need to take your own. Make sure you take enough for you and your four-legged friend.
Many camping sites and walking trails require your dog to be kept on a lead. So, make sure you have a suitable collar and lead and/or a flexi lead so your dog can stretch their legs when out walking. While we’re talking about holiday walks with your dog, investigate the local dog friendly ones before you go. https://walkiees.co.uk is an excellent resource and you can search some excellent places to walk with your dog. The National Trust also have an excellent site for researching the perfect walks with your dog, have a look here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/best-places-for-dog-walking
We’ve always packed a good supply of dog blankets and bedding together with a dog towel and some dog toys too. Dogs like routine and having familiar items of bedding and dog blankets from home ensure they settle better at night. A dog toy will help keep your pet entertained, but avoid any squeaky toys, we all need a good night sleep, right! We also have some waterproof car seat covers packed just in case, but blankets work just as well in a pinch.
You can never have enough poo bags either. Pack extra bags in the glove box, in the caravan, ruck sacks and walking coat. Always better to have too many. Family camping is excellent fun and the perfect chance to have an adventure with everyone. But don’t forget the dog, they still have their needs. Food, fresh water, shade and a safe place to sleep. Consider other campers and enjoy your holiday with the whole family.