Having a dog doesn’t mean that you can no longer go on adventures. If anything, taking your dog along can make your adventures more worthwhile and fun. This post will give you some tips and advice to plan your own wild camping adventure with your pet pooch.
Last month, I went on a family wild camping adventure with my wife and our dog Cleo to the Brecon Beacons in Wales. After a hike out onto the hills, we found a small wood to pitch our tent and get a good nights sleep.
Being outside in a new environment engages your dog’s mind as well as its body. It is a fantastic bonding experience and your dog is likely to have a smile the whole time, just like my dog Cleo.
Before heading out on a wild camp with your dog, there are few things you need to prepare. The health of your dog is the most important factor to consider. Your dog’s age, breed and health should all be taken into consideration before heading off onto a long hike. A vet can give you advice on the amount of exercise your dog requires and whether your dog can manage a night of camping in the wild.
When spending time out in the wild, your dog will be more likely to come into contact with ticks. Ensure your dog is treated with flea and tick treatment to help prevent these horrible little mites from getting onto your dog.
It is good practice to ensure your dog is fully vaccinated. Your vet will give you recommendations depending on the country that you live in.
Before heading out, I ensure I have enough dog food for the duration of the adventure. If you are planning a long adventure (over 48 hrs) you may have to restock on food supplies in local towns or villages. It can often be difficult to get the same type of food that your dog normally eats, so I would advise you take take plenty of supplies.
Again, the amount of food and type of food you will need depends on your dog’s breed, age and health. Remember that your dog will likely use more energy when on long treks so just like humans, they will require more food.
Your dog should also have a good supply of fresh water available. You will need to pack extra water to ensure that you have enough for you and your pooch. You will also need to ensure you pack a bowl or container for your dog. I use a foldable travel bowl like this: Collapsible Travel Dog Bowl
Ensure you take down the phone number and address of the nearest vet. If anything was to happen this would reduce the hassle and time needed to get any treatment.
It is worth keeping in mind that you will have to take slightly more equipment when camping with a dog. Most of this equipment is light but if you are away for an extended period of time, food and water can add up.
Picking a spot to wild camp
There are very little differences when picking a spot to camp for yourself and picking a spot for you and your dog. Check out this post for tips for wild camping.
Extra considerations when camping with a dog:
- You will likely want to take a tent. If you have a large enough tarp/shelter, your dog should be fine. It is not fair to let your dog sleep out in the rain.
- If you are not using a tent, you will probably want to keep the dog attached to you by looping the lead around your wrist. This can be avoided by using a tent.
- You will need a tent that is big enough for you and your dog.
- I take a spare towel to dry my dog before going to bed.
- Secure all dog food. The last thing you want is wild animals getting to the food.
- Avoid strenuous exercise at least an hour after your dog has eaten.
- Having a flowing water source is great for your dog to drink from.
- Try to sleep away from farm animals. Sheep and cows could become spooked by your dog.
- Have an extra mat or use a towel for your dog to sleep on.
- If your dog is toy orientated, take a ball or your dogs favourite toy. This will help your dog to feel at home when in the tent and in the wild.
- Take extra poo bags. Always pick up your dogs poo. The last thing you should do is pick up the dogs poo, then throw the bag in a bush. If your dog poos near trails or tracks, pick it up and carry it in your bag until you next see a bin. It’s not that pleasant but it’s better than somebody else walking in it. It also protects other animals from eating the plastic. There have recently been reports of horses dying from eating bags of dog poo.
- Keep in mind the temperature. It’s not safe for your dog to be outside in extremely hot or cold weather.
- Depending on the breed of your dog you may want to consider a dog coat or jumper in cold weather.
Camping with dogs
Cleo sleeps near my feet whilst in the tent. I place down a dry, spare towel for her to sleep on as well as having the ground sheet of the tent. She usually ends up sleeping on the foot of my sleeping bag. You need to make sure your dog’s nails are trimmed to avoid ripping the tent.
In the morning I make sure Cleo is fed and watered. We then pack up and head off on a new hike for the day.
Heading out wild camping with your dog is a great activity for both of you. Your dog gets plenty of physical and mental exercise and you get a big, fluffy dog to act as a hot water bottle for the night.
Share your wild camping adventures with your dog in the comments below.