Getting close to nature and camping with your dog is a wonderful bonding experience. If you’re travelling on your own you also get someone to talk to and night-time security.
Introduce your dog slowly. To get them used to new sights, smells and sounds, try leaving your tent pitched in the garden for a few days. You could even sleep in there for a night. Think about where your dog will sleep too. If your tent isn’t big enough for the dog to sleep in there with you, how will you make sure it’s safe? A water-proof cover over a dog-crate is one solution, and you can also buy specially designed dog tents. In the summer you could use a very well-staked ground peg and harness so the dog can sleep securely outside. This isn’t ideal at public campsites where the dog might get disturbed or even stolen. If you do decide to try this, double-check all your equipment and be certain that nothing will break if your dog makes a sudden lunge.
Remember to take bedding – cold ground can quickly sap a dog’s energy. Take lots of food and water in animal- and water-proof containers. You could consider taking enough for an extra day or two, just in case. Remember the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and always pack a towel! The super-absorbent, fast-drying ones are best as they pack small and won’t stay damp and get smelly. Even if you don’t need a towel for drying your dog, they have loads of other uses. Brushes are useful if you have a long-haired dog, or one that loves mud. Also check your dog’s vaccinations are all up to date. Finally, always be considerate of other campers - good manners are a must. No-one wants a naughty, noisy or aggressive dog for a neighbour.
Some easy to use and helpful websites:
- Campingninja.com (select ‘Who is welcome’ and click the tick box next to ‘dogs’)
- Camping and Caravanning Club top 5 dog-friendly campsites