Bringing your dog along on camping adventures is a great way to make memories and deepen the dog-owner bond. Camping with your dog involves a little more planning than that for solo trips, and by researching and planning ahead, you can ensure a smoother and better experience for all involved.
Is camping the right adventure?
Before going on a camping trip, one should ask themselves if camping is the right adventure for their dog. While most dogs will enjoy tagging along, camping may not be suitable for every dog. Going camping will often include lots of new encounters, faces, sights, smells, and sounds, and all these (new) stimuli can be too stressful for some dogs. To prevent any disappointment and frustration, only go camping if you know your dog will enjoy the experience. Doing a short trial run may be useful before embarking on longer journeys.
When taking your dog on a camping adventure, be sure to check ahead if dogs are allowed on the campgrounds and other places you plan to visit during the trip. When booking the camping trip through a travel company, check if the specific trip is dog-friendly.
General Camping Gear
Good gear can make or break any camping trip, and there are several ways one can obtain their camping supplies. When booking a camping trip through a travel agency, some gear may be provided by them, so check what is provided, and what you should take. When you need to provide your own gear, one option is renting from a camping gear rental company. Some of them will even deliver and pickup to the camp location. Another option is to buy the needed gear yourself. Some camping essentials are:
- Sleeping essentials such as a sleeping bag/sleeping pad/sleeping mattress/pillow
- Cooking essentials + Food
- (Flash)Light/Lantern + spare batteries
- Clothes adjusted to the weather
- Pocket Knife
- Good shoes
- First Aid Kit + Toiletries + sun and bug protection
- Water + Water Bottle
- Camp Chair
- Ear Plugs if required
- Toilet Paper
Camping Supplies for your Dog
Additionally, you will need to take camping supplies for your dog. Some essentials are:
- Food and treats in sealed containers so wildlife can’t access it.
- A bowl/plate/bottle for your dog to eat and drink from. They sell collapsible food grade silicone bowls, which are easy to pack and lightweight.
- Lead + Collar and/or Harness, and 1 extra backup. You could consider getting one with lights to make your dog more visible. Make sure all have tags on them.
- First Aid Kit + ticks, fleas and bug repellent
- Pet Wipes
- Poop bags and a way to store the poop bags until you can dispose of them responsibly. Don’t throw bagged poop aside.
- Favourite toy
- A tether to secure your dog for those moments you can’t pay full attention to them.
- Dog Boots. Camping often includes walks over rough terrain, such as hot sand and rocks. By getting well-fitted boots for your dog, you can protect their feet.
- Sleeping gear adjusted to the weather. Such as a waterproof and foldable dog bed and/or a dog sleeping bag.
- A way to create shade, if required.
Optional Supplies for your Dog
Depending on the location, time of the year, and activities planned, extra supplies may smooth out the experience. Examples are:
- A backpack for your dog to carry. Some dogs love working, and having them carry some items in their saddlebag-style dog backpack can be extremely satisfying for them.
- Cooling vest
- Life Jacket
- Reflective Vest
- A sheet or blanket which you can spread on the floor of the tent to protect the tent floor, and easily shake out any dirt or sand that gets tracked inside.
Before the trip, ensure that your dog’s microchip details are up-to-date at your vet, the microchip databases you have registered the chip at, and for Dubai at the Dubai Municipality. Additionally, have a tag engraved with your phone number attached to their collar or harness at all times. A GPS tracking collar can be considered to provide extra peace of mind. Research where the closest animal hospital or 24hr veterinarian is, and have their details on hand. Add first AID supplies for your dog to your own first AID kit, such as:
- Nail Clippers
- Tick removal hook
- Gauzes and adhesive tape
- Thermometer and lubricant
- Latex gloves
At the campsite
When camping with your dog, you should never leave them unsupervised. Dangerous wildlife like snakes and scorpions may appear, and weather conditions can suddenly change. You may want to consider taking a pop up crate or tether with you, so you can safely secure your dog when you can’t pay full attention to them, such as when preparing food. Be courteous to fellow campers, and keep barking to a minimum, especially during early morning and late evening.
Keep your dog on their lead at the campsite, and at places where they legally need to be leashed. A dog that does not have 100% recall, or can’t be trusted to not chase after wildlife, should never be let off their lead. Don’t be tempted as you really don’t want your dog to get lost on unfamiliar terrain, especially not in the middle of the desert or woods.
Keep your dog away from campfires and keep them out of the smoke created by them. Pick up and dispose of dog waste responsibly.
Camping is a great way for your dog to sniff out new adventures. By being well prepared, the experience will be as smooth and stress free as possible.
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