Camping With Your Dog; What To Take And Do
There’s no worse feeling than packing the car and camper trailer only to see your beloved dog looking at you with sad eyes as you embark on a family holiday together. Imagine if you could take the dog with you? It’s a hassle, right?
We’re not convinced!
If you prepare, pack and find the best pet-friendly campsite, we bet you won’t want to go camping again without your dog. It’s not as hard as you think and the reward of taking your favourite family pet with you is worth the effort and preparation.
Let’s look at what you’ll need to do.
Before You Go
Dogs can be a bit impatient, especially when you accidentally say the word starting ‘w’ and ending in ‘alk’. The moment they know they’re going off on an adventure it’s first to the door, huffing and puffing while simultaneously pulling the lead and wanting you to catch up.
If it were up to the dog, all you’d need was a bag of treats and some companionship. However, we — being the responsible ones — need to make sure our beloved family member with four paws is safe and ready to go camping.
Booking the campsite is likely the first step and we’ll go into detail about that later in the blog, but once you’ve done that, you’ll need to book a visit to the vet.
A check-up before any road trip is the smart and safe thing to do, even if they visited the vet within the last six months. It’s always a good idea to get your flea and tick medication up to date as well as letting the vet know your plans and having them make an assessment on the spot.
Quite often our furry friends don’t tell us about their hidden ailments or concerns. They might look healthy and fit but there might be something under that lush coat they’re not telling you about.
Once you’ve left the vet all healthy and ready, it’s time to start thinking about what to pack. Obviously, the snacks and food but there are some handy items that can be very useful on the road.
Packing More Than Just The Essentials
Odds are, if you’re taking your dog on a camping trip you’ve been in the wilderness before. If it’s your first time with the furry companion though, you’ll need to pack more things than just dog food.
A border collie or Labrador won’t have a passport, but they will have dog licenses, ID tags and current vaccination papers. All of these can be processed and updated when you visit your vet before you go and will help you if your dog does find a bit of trouble on the road.
Pet First Aid
A human First Aid kit is mandatory and so should a dog one as well if they’re coming along. You can purchase dog First Aid kits are your local pet store and supplies shop. Alternatively, you can make your own.
If you’re thinking about your very own then you’ll need the following:
- Antiseptic wipes
- Bandages & gauze
- Disposable gloves
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Local emergency numbers
- Pet First Aid book
- Rectal thermometer & lubricant
A very important aspect of camping is how and where you’ll sleep. Your dog’s sleeping quarters or lack thereof should also be one of the priorities.
If your canine is an inside dog then perhaps sleeping with you in your camper trailer is the most suitable option, but if they’re an outside dog it might be an option for them to sleep outside.
Regardless of whichever option you choose, it’s always handy to have a backup. You never quite know how your dog will react to a new environment.
Bring a sleeping matt, leash, tether and stake to cover all bases for inside and outside sleeping.
Other Handy Equipment
There are also some items that aren’t very expensive that can quickly some problems on the road should they arise.
A doggie light for when the sun dips below the horizon can be the difference between a noisy and a quiet dog at night.
A collapsible food or water bowl is a great idea if you want to take your dog for long walks. They get hungry and thirsty very quickly and we’ve all been there and tried to have a dog drink from a water bottle; it just doesn’t work right?
While bring all of the necessary gear is important, it’s what you do on your camping trip that matters.
A location is a new adventure for any dog, regardless of how far away from home it is. While it is exciting to see them sniff to their heart’s content, sometimes that heart can get them into a bit of trouble.
Most campsites and even walking trails will require your dog to be on a lead, but we all know that a lot of people like to walk their dogs off the lead. While we recommend following the signs if you must walk your dog off lead we suggest doing it on the second or third time visiting a location.
When the dog has visited a new campsite or walking trail a couple of times, they begin to understand the environment. It’s still exciting but they’re less likely to run off into the jungle chasing new sounds and smells.
A dog might be the most well-behaved boy or girl at home but if they’ve never seen a rabbit or a duck before they may just snap. Keeping them on a lead at all times where possible will keep your doggie safe.
No matter where you go these tips can help keep your dog safe. It’s always a good idea to stay on the cautious side when camping. Now, let’s talk about the best places to go camping with your dog.
Find the perfect dog-friendly campsite doesn’t require as much research as you think. Many places that offer powered and unpowered campsites for camper trailers usually allow for pets. Thankfully, this trend is becoming more popular as time goes on.
Here are our top pet-friendly locations for each state and territory in Australia.
New South Wales
One of four campsites in the Chichester State Forest, this campsite sits in the heart of a lush rain forest with open, flat grassy areas that are perfect for dogs. The best part about this campsite is that it’s free as well.
The campgrounds are about a 1 km walk to a swimming hole that’s a great location in the summertime to cool off. There are plenty of walking tracks like Problem Creek Falls track that is very popular.
You’ll need to bring your own firewood and water since there aren’t many facilities beyond rubbish bins, fire pits and long-drop pit toilets. This campsite is one of the more remote campgrounds in Australia offer a true outdoor experience with your dog.
Yarraman located about 3 hours inland from the Sunshine Coast, is a small town that serves as a great central location to visit a lot of Queensland. Using Yarraman as a hub to visit Barakula, Kumbarilla, Elgin Vale State Forests is an option many campers use to their advantage.
The campsite offers powered and unpowered locations for vehicles [and pets] of all sizes, so your camper trailer will have no problem. There are plenty of facilities such as hot showers, campfires, BBQs, a pool and much more.
This small but cute caravan park feels more like a little cottage tucked away than a campsite. You even feel a little bit guilty driving your camper trailer over the well-kept open green grass, but this campsite was made for pet-owners.
If you’re thinking about staying at Padthaway, it’s the best campsite to explore the Limestone Coast that is rich in wine tastings, bush walks, golfing and has a number of conversation parks and historic homesteads to visit.
You may think visiting the island of Tasmania only to go camping on an even smaller island called Bruny is a little farfetched but there’s a reason why this campsite is one of Tasmania’s most popular.
Bruny Bay is a popular destination and is increasingly becoming the place for camping due to its stunning natural beauty, clear blue beaches, nature walks, fishing and boating. The north side of Bruny Island offers wildlife to see while the south is where the food can be found.
There’s plenty of open space for the powered and unpowered sites on Captain Cook Holiday Park with views overlooking the bay — something you can appreciate but your dog probably won’t. It’s one of the best pet-friendly campsites that combines the best views, location and things to do.
This campsite is known as the place to go in Victoria for pet-friendly camping. You may have heard or seen this campsite; well-known for their tall teepee camping experience. Wakiti does allow for camper trailers as well.
The area for the camper trailers is spacious with over 60 acres of natural bush to find a spot on. It’s a seamless blend of the natural environment that gets your dog excited and amenities that get us humans excited.
Perhaps the grandest of the dog-friendly campsites on this list, Exmouth is for those who want to stay in a camper trailer with their dog but perhaps don’t wish to go the full Aussie outback route.
This holiday park is an almost self-contained community with almost everything you’d expect from a campsite offering powered and unpowered sites for your camper trailer. It’s a great place to set up shop if you have kids and a dog.
You won’t find a better location to pop out and go swimming with whale sharks, scuba diving in Turquoise Bay, exploring the Cape Range National Park or walking along Yardie Creek Gorge.
Camping is about sharing your time and experiences with those that matter. For many, a dog is as equally a part of the family as anyone else and sharing those camping trips with your favourite furry companion is a must. A camper trailer from Mars Campers will get you and your family there and back without a problem. Contact the Mars team today for assistance.