Camping with Dogs!
Updated: Feb 13, 2019
If you are anything like us your furry friend is more than just a pet, they are a member of the family. Although all three of us now have a pooch of our own, Jana has also been bringing foster dogs camping for years. Since she started in rescue she has had over forty foster dogs and if she is going camping, there is no doubt she will be bringing one or two furry friends with her. So who better to write a post about camping with dogs than her?!
Having taken more dogs camping than your average bear it is safe to say we have learnt A LOT! Camping with your best furry mate can be great but it does also restrict you in some ways and it’s just good to know what you are in for before you set off on that great adventure.
Obviously, as you can’t take dogs into national parks it restricts where you can go. Do your research before you set out as to what areas are, and are not, dog friendly. Nothing worse than getting to the end of a long day of driving only to realise that you can’t camp at your destination.
The next thing to consider is if your dog actually wants to camp. We are lucky that none of our dogs have a high prey drive and that they are all fans of long car trips. However, not every foster I have had falls into the same category. From dogs that get car sick, to dogs that will chase anything that moves, some dogs are better off having a holiday on their own with a mate or family rather than the great outdoors.
If you have checked off those boxes and your best mate is a fan of the great outdoors then you are ready to dive in. Ultimately our dogs are what changed us from hard core swag fanatics to tent converts. After years of managing dog beds outside the swag, rain and wet dogs and the distractions of the bush causing the dogs to bark at shadows in the night, we are now all about the creature comforts of the tent.
Plenty of space for all our gear, we can supervise the dog, they don’t bark at shadows and if it rains in the night we are all snug as bugs in a rug. It is also perfect for morning snuggles. You can read our full Swag vs Tent breakdown here.
What we pack for our dog
2 x beds (Yep that’s right, two! A clean one for the tent and one that can lay out in the dirt by the fire)
1 x camp box containing kibble, tins of tuna or sardines all portion controlled for the number of days\nights we are going
2 x bowls (food\water)
Toys (although Fred is pretty well entertained with a stick, Rambo and Magpie need something more refined)
A long lead and often an extra strap, if we take a foster and we aren’t 100% on recall we can give them freedom to move around the camp without worrying they will dart off after a rabbit
Extra dog towels (there is nothing worse than a wet muddy dog in the car but it’s their adventure too so sometimes you just have to manage it)
Top tips -
Check the area around the camp when you first set down, there is nothing worse than realising that the people that were there before you weren’t considerate (read drongos). Look for broken glass, bits of wire, fishing gear and hooks. We always aim to leave the place the same as we found it, if not better so we always carry extra rubbish bags if we need to do a quick clean up when we arrive
Have a fully stocked first aid kit:
Throw a razor in there as well. If your dog does injure itself you might have to shave a little area to help a bandage stick.
Saline solution is always a good addition if space isn’t an issue. We carry one of those big bottles used for cleaning contact lenses, it is great for flushing out wounds
Learn a little doggy first aid, like what to do if they get a tick or how to dress a wound here is a good list Click here
Learn how to identify and remove ticks Click here
The two best skills you can teach your dog in and out of the bush are recall and the command “leave it”. Sometimes your dog might stumble across an old dry bone in the bush which might not seem like a bad thing but those old bones can be either splintery or covered in germs that can make your dog sick or worse, baited. Teaching the command “leave it” means that if they do sniff out a treat you don’t think they should ingest, you have more of a chance of stopping them before they swallow. Practise this one at home with rewards that way they learn to eat on command and to halt mid action when they hear you.
In the summer, I don’t let the dogs wander out of sight. They are more likely to be bitten by a snake in the grass or away from the camp a little. Stick to clear tracks where you can see where they are walking. Know what to do if your dog does get bitten by a snake, this is a good article to help you out Click here
Now that all seems like a lot to think about but really camping with dogs is a blast and totally worth a little extra thought and packing time!