Choose the right site
The first step is to check the best campsites for dogs in your desired area. Search for locations that explicitly say they’re dog-friendly and will allow your best friend to accompany you. Those that have facilities specifically for pet owners are even better. It’s also worth researching the local guidelines of the place you choose, to see the regulations around leashes and dog waste disposal. We'd also recommend thinking about how you'll get there, as making sure you're travelling safely with your dog is an important factor when deciding on where to go.
Many of our Experience Freedom sites are dog-friendly – simply check the site details to learn if your chosen location will accept your pooch.
Visit the vet
Just as you should make sure you’re in good health before you set off, you need to get your dog checked out too. Don’t conceal the fact that you’re camping from your vet; they’ll have information about what to do if your dog encounters fleas, a tick or something else on the trail. All your dog’s medication and vaccinations need to be up to date too, including their worming and flea protections, and if you’re going to be far from your regular vet, it’s a good idea to have a laminated paper copy of their health history in case there’s an emergency. Put the contact number of the nearest emergency vet into your phone before you go, and write it down elsewhere in case your battery dies.
Pack up thoughtfully
Packing is key to making sure you and your dog have a good time. Poop bags, their food and a good supply of water are essential; if clean water might be a problem, make sure you have facilities to purify water before giving it to them. Use portable bowls and ensure there’s somewhere on-site for you to clean them.
You’ll also want to make sure your dog has ID in case they gets lost; a collar with a tag is a must, as is a microchip with correct, current information on it. Finally, you should get a first-aid kit in case your pet has an accident. Gauze, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, a blanket and protection for injured limbs are a good start, but ask your vet before you go as they may have extra suggestions.
Other elements of preparation depend on what you plan on doing when taking your dog camping. If you’re going to be walking at night, you need reflective gear to track your dog, even if it’s going to be on a lead. Planning to spend time at campsites? Packing a tether and a stake is a good idea, as your dog can be secured while you do things like put up the tent. If the dog is going to be sleeping inside your tent and is crate-trained, invest in a traveling fabric crate to keep them happy and secure.
And last but not least…
The number one preparation you need to do before you go? Make sure your dog’s ready. Are they OK with riding in cars? Do they come immediately when you command, in case there’s danger or a wild animal and you need them to return instantly? Are they properly leash-trained? Will they eat everything in sight if you don’t watch them like a hawk?
If you work on making sure your dog is ready for the world of camping and do all the work beforehand, you’ll have an amazing time together in the great outdoors.