Holiday time is known to be the best time. Many owners of dogs do not want to miss out on their furry family members during this time and plan a holiday together with their darling. A great adventure for you and your dog(s) would be a camping holiday together. But what should you bear in mind when camping with a dog?
Camping with a dog: preparation and general tips.
It’s understandable that you want to pack everything quickly and jump into the adventure. But as with so many things in life, good preparation is essential so that you don’t have to sober up when you get there and realise that you’ve forgotten something important.
In the worst case, no dogs are allowed at the chosen campsite. That would certainly ruin the holiday mood. The following questions can help you prepare:
About the surroundings
- Are dogs allowed on the campsite? Research in advance where you can take your pet without any problems. What rules do you have to follow there? Are there any extra costs that you will have to pay? Is the dog also allowed in the tent/caravan?
- Is the chosen campsite suitable? Accepting dogs at a campsite does not automatically mean that it is dog-friendly or suitable for your dog. If the surface of the campsite is paved, your dog can easily burn his paws. Areas with soft surfaces, such as meadows, are much more suitable.
- Are there veterinarians/animal clinics near?
- Be sure to take into account seasonal conditions, such as breeding and juvenile season of wild animals, weather conditions, local conditions. Is it around high season and extremely crowded and noisy? Is there a heatwave or similar in the region at the chosen time? Try to adapt the conditions to your dog’s needs and, of course, to yours and, of course, to adapt to you.
About the dog
- Is your dog physically and mentally able to undertake such a holiday? If your dog is not familiar with camping conditions, it can be stressful for him. He is also more exposed to the temperatures in a tent than in a cosy flat.
- Are there (fenced) areas for playing and romping? Is it possible – especially for water rats – to cool off, to swim?
- What activities can you do there with your dog? Are there any opportunities for hiking with the dog?
- Are there activities where dogs are not allowed that you would like to do? Who will look after your four-legged friend?
- Where can your dog go for a walk?
- Does your dog always have the opportunity to withdraw and rest? Sleep is also important on holiday.
- Is your dog vaccinated and chipped?
- Is your dog used to (longer) car journeys? Be sure to plan several breaks so that your dog can relieve himself and let off steam. It’s best to do some research beforehand to find out where you can take dog-friendly breaks.
- Do you have all the important documents with you? Especially if you’re going abroad, there are some papers you shouldn’t forget (see below). Don’t forget yours either 😉.
- Have you made a checklist of everything your dog needs?
- If you have rented a motorhome or similar, or if you have very little experience, familiarise yourself with the technology and functioning of the vehicle and check the vehicle before you start driving.
Tip: Be considerate of other campers. Often the neighbours are very close, so ask how they feel about dogs before you just let your four-legged friend run around.
Where does the dog sleep when camping?
If your dog sleeps in the camper van, it’s entirely up to his habits. When he is used to sleeping in your bed, you can keep this habit. If he prefers to sleep in his own dog bed, that is also possible.
If you are sleeping in a tent, it is important that your furry friend is comfortable, not cold and has enough room to turn, stand and spread out. Iso-mats with a cuddly blanket over them have proven to be a reliable base. There are now even dog sleeping bags.
Important: In any case, it is not advisable to leave your dog unattended anywhere outside the camper or tent. This is not only forbidden, but also dangerous. In nature, wild animals can approach your dog or people can harass it. Your little darling should always be supervised and his needs taken care of.
Does the dog have to be secured during the journey?
A large camper van in particular invites you to let your dog run free. In the event of an emergency stop, the holiday trip can quickly end in disaster. So the answer is: Yes, your dog must always be secured while you are driving, and you are even legally obliged to do so.
- A dog transport box has always proved to be the safest option. This has also proven to be a rest area.
- Some campers even have a dog transport box already built into the vehicle.
- Less safe are solutions for strapping dogs in, but still better than not securing them at all.
Camping with a dog: the checklist.
What do you need to make sure your pet is comfortable on a camping holiday? You should never forget the following things:
- The basics: leashes (short and long), harness, muzzle, car safety device, drinking and food bowl, sufficient food, snacks and chewing articles, fresh water.
- In winter or very cool seasons: Dog coat, paw protection.
- The familiar and beloved things: Dog bed, cuddly blanket, dog cushion, favourite toy, dog carrier, etc.
- Important papers: Especially when travelling abroad, you need an EU pet passport and proof of vaccination against rabies. Is your dog chipped? Some breeds, such as so-called listed dogs, need additional documents: Dog licence, a concluded insurance policy.
- A first-aid kit.
- Other things: dog towel, dog shampoo, poo bag, cooling mat for hot days, tarpaulin or parasol (to provide shade).
- And everything you need to enjoy your holiday.
Where can I camp with a dog?
If you want to camp outside an official campsite, you must inform yourself well in advance. It is generally forbidden to camp in the forest or to spend the night in a camper somewhere. Where exactly you are allowed to spend the night in your tent or van is regulated differently in each region. So inform yourself in advance before you have to pay high fines.
Camping with a dog can definitely be a great adventure for you and your darling. However, good preparation is essential, as is a checklist of the most important things. And never forget, safety always comes first. Have fun and an unforgettable time!