A camping and hiking trip together with your four-legged friend can be a wonderful holiday experience. However, camping with dogs does need some thought and preparation if all is to go well.
With that in mind, I’ve put together this comprehensive guide on what to pack in your “doggy bag” and canine camping survival kit!
#1 – Dog food
Take your dog’s usual food with you on your trip, plus a bit extra. The extra is for two reasons;
- to make absolutely sure that you won’t run out
- if your dog is doing a bit more exercise than usual, you may want to give him a bit extra food
Dogs can be sensitive to changes in their diet, so resist the urge to feed Fido scraps from your barbecue, and stick to giving him his usual meals at regular times, too, if possible.
TIP: If your dog has tinned food, don’t forget to take the tin opener!
#2 – Supplements and medication
If your dog has any vitamins, digestive/joint supplements, or any medication, remember to pack it with his food.
Check that you have plenty of last for the whole of the trip, and again, a little bit extra just in case.
#3 – Vaccinations, flea/tick prevention etc.
A week or two before you go, check that your pet’s vaccinations, flea/tick prevention treatment, and worming treatment are up to date.
You should also check that your dog’s insurance policy is current. Make a note of the policy number, and take the insurer’s contact details with you, too, in case of emergencies.
#4 – Treats and toys!
Dog treats and toys are other essential items that you should pack for your camping trip.
Your pet will appreciate an occasional treat, especially if he gets them at home. Also, long-lasting treats and chews can be handy for times when you’re busy putting the tent up or doing other things.
If your dog likes to play with toys, then bring along his favorite for him to play with.
#5 – Water
Dehydration is dangerous to dogs, so if you go hiking, take plenty of water for both you and your dog, especially if the weather is warm.
A collapsible dog bowl fits easily into your rucksack and is essential when hiking.
Try not to allow your dog to drink from puddles, ponds, and any other stagnant water sources. The last thing you want is for your furry friend to pick up a bacterial infection and become sick while you’re miles from home.
#6 – Food and water bowls
On a similar note, remember to pack your pet’s food and water bowls, or buy some especially for camping, and keep them with your tent and other gear for future trips.
#7 – Poo bags
Dogs don’t wait for a convenient moment to relieve themselves, and many places frown on fouling. Be prepared, and take lots of poo bags with you.
Use the bags, and always dispose of your dog’s mess in a designated bin or take it home with you. Don’t become one of those hated people who pick up the poo and then chuck the bag into a tree!
There’s no such thing as the Dog Poo Fairy!
#8 – Comfort blanket
Dogs can become unsettled when staying away from home, and it can be extremely helpful to take a familiar item with you, such as a blanket or favourite toy.
#9 – Warm bedding
On a cold night, it’s not only you who feels the chill. Make sure that your dog has a warm bed to sleep on and put something underneath it to insulate it from the ground and to prevent the heat from escaping.
Alternatively, if you want to cut down on things to take, your dog can always buddy-up with you. My dog usually sleeps with me in my double sleeping bag on top of my airbed. He makes a great furry hot-water bottle!
#10 – Dog shampoo and towels
If your dog is one of those hounds that love to roll in the mud, fox poo, sheep droppings, and other unpleasantries while you’re both out and about, you should take some shampoo and doggy towels with you.
No-one wants a stinky dog in their tent, and you’ll want to give your pet a wash down if necessary.
#11 – Portable dog shower
Although it’s not an essential item, a cheap portable dog shower is a good idea if your pup is inclined to get mucky.
A dog shower saves you the hassle of faffing about with buckets of water after a long walk, and many dogs love a shower, especially on a hot day!
I have one that I take on every trip, and, as a spaniel owner, it’s been a great investment! I fill it with hot water and leave it in the back of my van until I get back from a hike, which by then, it’s a nice temperature. It’s so easy just to rinse the mud (and anything else that he’s rolled in) straight off so he dries nice and clean.
#12 – Ground steak and long line
Most campsites insist that your dog is leashed at all times.
So, take a ground stake and a long line so that you can tie your dog up outside your tent.
- Strong and durable corkscrew spike
- Wide handle for turning
- Approx measurements 3.0mm x 31cm
- Rust free coating
- Excellent quality fittings
#13 – A good harness
When you’re out hiking, it’s preferred that you have a good harness with a handle on top, rather than just a collar.
There will be times when you encounter not-so-dog-friendly styles as well as large rocks that you both may have to scramble over. A harness enables you to lift and assist your dog over such obstacles.
I recently got a hiking dog harness from Ruffwear (the Web Master Harness) and it’s been the best harness I’ve ever bought. Most harnesses just support the dog’s chest area, whereas this one supports the whole dog as is designed for lifting. The website boasts that’s it’s the “preferred harness of many avalanche rescue dog programs.”
#14 … and an extending lead
I’m personally not a fan of extending leads, however, if your dog has a habit of going off-piste, it may be a good idea to take one with you and use it when you go hiking.
Many areas have restrictions in place to protect wildlife from rampaging dogs, but your pet can still enjoy a taste of freedom while remaining under control on an extending lead.
#15 – ID tags
It’s a legal requirement for your dog to be microchipped, but we recommend that you also have an identification tag made that your dog wears on his collar and/or harness when you take him on holiday with you.
That way, if your pooch does wander, you can both be quickly and easily reunited. Make sure that the tag bears an up-to-date mobile telephone number so that you can be contacted while you’re away from home.
#16 – Collar light
A collar light is an essential requirement when you’re camping or hiking in unfamiliar territory.
If your dog wanders away at night, you’ll be able to spot him much more easily if he’s wearing a flashing light, as will drivers on and around the campsite.
I’ve got this collar from Amazon in blue and it means that I can still let my dog off-lead in designated areas even when it’s dark.
- Blazin' Security! Outstanding visibility of 350 yards. Be seen by traffic. Save your pet's life.
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#17 – Dog clothing
A waterproof dog coat is a great idea if your pooch will wear one, as it saves you from having a wet dog in your tent and it will help him to stay warm in the cooler months.
Also, a Hi-Viz coat is handy, especially if you’re hiking in areas where your dog might disappear into the undergrowth or if the weather turns against you and visibility is poor. I was once hiking in the Lake District when snow and fog came our of nowhere (even though we checked the forecast beforehand) and my dog’s Hi-Viz jacket became a vital piece of equipment.
If your dog has sensitive paws or you’re planning on hiking on trails where thorn hedges have recently been cut, a set of dog boots is useful for preventing injuries. Most dogs quickly get used to wearing boots, and they can save your pet the misery of cut paws and puncture wounds.
#18 – First aid
A pet first aid kit that contains a suitable wound dressing, medication, and basic items that you’ll need in case your dog hurts himself is essential.
A tick removal tool might also come in extremely handy!
Also, make sure that you obtain the contact details for a vet close to the campsite and keep them with your first aid kit.
What else do you take?
There is my list of dog-related essential stuff to pack for your pet to have a safe and happy trip.
If there’s is anything that I’ve missed, or if you take anything else with you on your doggy-adventures, please let me know in the comments below.
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