Handy guide to camping with your dog – from booking sites to packing checklist

Many of us have booked staycations instead of jetting off abroad this year.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – especially as it means you can bring your dog along for the fun.

If you haven’t travelled with a pet before, it can feel a bit overwhelming to organise everything.

But thankfully, there are preparations you can make before your holiday to keep everything running smoothly.

Our sister site 2Chill has compiled a handy guide for anyone who is thinking of taking their four-legged friend away on a camping trip.

From picking accommodation to packing the right essentials, here’s all you need to know…

1. Don’t presume you’re welcome

While many campsites are dog-friendly, they don’t all cater to pets.

It sounds obvious, but make sure you check this detail before packing your bags and heading off on holiday.

2Chill recommends playing it safe by doing your research beforehand.

The last thing you want to do is pull up with your excited pup only to be turned away.

Just imagine the devastated look on the pooch’s face, let alone the rest of the family.

2. Pick the right site

Don’t just go for the first dog-friendly camp site you find online.

Make sure it’s the right fit for you and your pup by checking out reviews.

Is there plenty of space or are people crammed in? Is it likely to be noisy? What are the rules relating to dogs? Are there dog friendly pubs and cafes in the area? And what are the nearby walks like?

Also, many sites charge extra for dogs. It won’t be much, maybe a couple of pounds per night, but it’s something to consider.

3. Make a list before you start packing

You’ll need a surprising amount of essentials to keep your dog happy during the stay.

So to make sure you don’t forget anything essential like food or bedding, write out a checklist before you start packing.

Items on the list should include a travel bed, water bottle and dog bowls (collapsible ones come in handy when you’re out during the day), plenty of doggy bags, a pup-focused first aid kit along with any specific medication, leads, more food than you think you’ll need, and some sturdy storage for it so your pup doesn’t get tempted to rummage.

Camping shouldn’t be an endurance test, unless that's what you’ve signed up for, so don’t forget their favourite toys and a blanket as anything that smells like home could be a comfort in a strange new place.

4. Acclimatise your dog

Holidays can be overwhelming for our pets, so make sure to take things slow.

As soon as you can, give your pup the chance to get used to their surroundings by taking them for a walk on an extendable leash (don’t forget their collar too).

They can have a good sniff about, stretch their legs and no doubt go for a much-needed pee, and feel a lot more comfortable for it.

5. Pack a ground stake

Putting up a tent can be tricky even when you don’t have a dog running around your ankles.

As excitable pups have a tendency to “help” in all the wrong ways, get a ground stake for the sake of your sanity.

Not only will this keep your dog safe and out of your hair while you crack on, it’ll also come in handy throughout the trip.

6. Keep a close eye on your dog

Check for campsite rules on whether or not your pup can roam around.

And if they are allowed to be off-lead, make sure you keep a beady eye on your pooch.

Be mindful of your neighbours and the fact they may not love your pet as much as you do.

Our four-legged friends also have the tendency to scrounge for food from other campers with their puppy dog eyes – but you won’t know what or how much they’re eating.

And don’t forget to keep your own food carefully packed. One sniff of the sausages and you’ll have none left for the BBQ.

7. Sleeping arrangements

Cushing up with your dog in a small tent might sound lovely and cosy but the reality can be very different, especially if you’re camping for more than a few days.

So to prevent chaos, keep your furry companion in mind when you’re buying a tent.

Ideally, you’ll have space aside from the sleeping area where everyone can lounge out, especially if the weather takes a turn for the worse, and your dog might choose this spot to make themselves comfy.

Choose a bed that’s well-insulated and waterproof and don’t forget a carabiner clip, ideally an LED one, to fasten the tent zip closed and stop your dog making an escape in the middle of the night.

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