Camping with Dogs

04th July 2022

Camping is a great family activity, that everyone can enjoy, including your four-legged friend. But before, you set off on your adventure, there’s a few things you need to consider to ensure it runs smoothly for you and your dog. That’s why we’ve caught up with the experts from Cotswold Outdoor to discover their top tips for camping with your pooch.

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Try it out

Camping isn’t for everyone and it’s not for all dogs either, so it’s a great idea to try out camping at home or close to home before heading further afield. Although dogs are highly adaptable, some can get nervous in new situations or become skittish at certain noises, so just like you’d put your tent up in the back garden before a trip, it’s a good idea to check your dog is okay with the noises, dark and cold before planning a longer camp.

The good news is that there are some great bits of dog camping kit to help combat the issues you may face, from warming blankets to cool mats, but it’s harder to get around any behavioural issues your dog may have. On trips to campsites or trails where you’re likely to come across other people, dogs and wildlife, you’ll need to make sure that you can keep your dog under control and combat aggressive behaviours, otherwise you may find it hard to relax and enjoy your stay.

Be prepared

When you’re taking your dog camping with you, it pays to be prepared. In the days leading up to your trip, you should make sure that you have everything you need for your dog, from food and water to poo bags. It’s best to pack all their bits in one bag to keep everything together, but don’t forget to take a separate dry bag for any wet towels.

Another great way to prep for your trip is by researching the area you’re heading to before you set off. That way you can be better prepared for any challenges you may face. If you’re heading to a campsite, get in touch with them to find out if there’s any rules or restrictions you’ll have to follow, like pitching up in designated dog-friendly pitches.

It’s also a good idea to make sure there are plenty of dog-friendly activities near the campsite, as you won’t be able to leave your dog unattended in your tent or car.

If your dog isn’t always great with new people, then wild camping, where it is safe and legal, may be a good option. You can get away from the crowds and really enjoy your time together, however, you’ll still need to keep your dog under control and be mindful of livestock and wildlife at all times.

Don’t forget to get everything you need together too, especially if it’s your first time camping. At Cotswold Outdoor our camping kit list appointments offer you the perfect chance to speak to one of our experts about your trip, so that you can get the best advice on the right kit for your camping adventure.


Sleeping arrangements

Whether you choose to let your dog sleep in your bed with you or prefer to keep them in the tent porch will all depend on what works best for you and your dog. Some dogs may only settle if allowed to sleep with you, whereas others will quite happily settle anywhere. Just bear in mind, that if you do plan to let your dog sleep in a separate compartment from you,  you’ll need to secure them properly so that they can’t wander off during the night. Taking their crate with them if you have the space is a great idea, as it gives them somewhere safe, secure and familiar to bed down for the night.

When it comes to sleeping kit for your dog, you’ll ideally want to take their regular bed that they’re familiar with, but you may also need to pack some extra blankets if cooler conditions are expected. Elevating your dog’s bed off the ground is also a great tip which can help keep them warmer, whereas when it’s hot investing in a cool mat will do wonders to cool them off.

The day’s activities

When planning your camping trip with your dog, you also need to think about what you’ll be doing through the daytime. If you plan to relax at the campsite, it's a good idea to take a long line and stake so you can securely give your dog a little freedom to roam and find the comfiest spot to lay while leaving you free to relax. Just make sure you never leave your dog tied up unattended, as they can easily injure themselves trying to break free and get to you.

When you’re getting out and about, it’s important to keep your dog under control and ensure they are safe in hazardous environments. You also need to keep things safe from them too! It goes without saying, that you should always keep your dog on their lead where requested and follow any restrictions, like sticking to designated dog-friendly areas of the beach.

In areas where it’s safe to let them off and have a run around be conscious that even dogs who have good recall can get distracted by new sights and smells. We recommend carrying their favourite tasty treats with you, and making sure you do lots of recall when you first let them off, as that way they’ll soon realise they’re better off staying close by.

It’s also important to be respectful of other people and dogs. If you see people who look nervous approaching your dog or see other dogs on leads coming your way, it’s courtesy to put them back on the lead until you’ve passed them. And, always make sure you pick up after your dog.  

When you’re out all day, don’t forget to pack water and a collapsible drinking bowl, as dogs can quickly overheat, especially in warmer weather.


Camping essentials for your dog

Camping with dogs requires a little pre-planning and effort, but if your dog is a member of the family, then it’s worth the effort because no trip would be the same without them.

Here’s a checklist covering some of the kit that will help make camping with your dog more enjoyable:

Before your trip...

Check your dog’s vaccinations and flea & tick preventative medications are up to date
Microchip your dog and register their chip
Get a name tag with your phone number on
Make sure your dog is fit enough for the activities you have planned
Practice your dog’s recall and get them used to walking at heel on command off their lead
Check for signs of anxiety

Dog Camping Gear

The essentials:

Collar and lead (pack a spare if you can so you can switch them if they get wet)
Water for the trip (and a bottle to carry water in when you’re out)
Food portioned up in sandwich bags
Food and water bowls
Lots of towels
Plenty of poo bags
Stake and long line
Dog bed/ camping pad and blankets
Doggie first aid kit including doggie sun lotion for summer trips
Travel crate or harness to secure them in the car

The nice to haves:

Adaptil Pheremone spray or collar to help settle anxious dogs
Dog robe to dry them when wet
Rain jacket & cold weather jacket
Canine life jacket for swimming
Doggie boots for cold weather or around nettles
Wet wipes and kitchen roll to deal with muddy paws

When you're back...

Give your dog another once-over to check for fleas and ticks
Clean around eyes and ears, checking as you go
Wash all of their kit
Pay attention to their eating and toilet habits to make sure all is well
Don’t forget to clean your camping kit, to prevent it stinking of dog next time you get it out. At Cotswold Outdoor we offer a Repair and Care service which enables us to professionally clean items like your sleeping bag, which may have a distinctive doggy odour after spending a week in a tent with your pooch.

Don’t forget to get everything you need together too, especially if it’s your first time camping. At Cotswold Outdoor our camping kit list appointments offer you the perfect chance to speak to one of our experts about your trip, so that you can get the best advice on the right kit for your camping adventure.

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