We all hate leaving the dog at home when we go away on holiday – but when you go camping there is no need to! Double win – save on the guilt, save on the kennel fees. Luckily there are lots of pet-friendly campsites where pooches are welcome, and finding them is becoming increasingly simple, thanks to the help of some brilliant websites. In order to find a dog-friendly campsite – both in the UK, but also in venues in Spain, France and across wider Europe, there are resources to help you get exactly what you need. The best we have found is https://coolcamping.com/ which is an absolute joy to navigate, and provides you with all the information you need to make an informed choice. You can select “dog-friendly” on the main page’s drop-down menu and from there search for a venue which meets all your needs. It is also packed with awesome photographs to help you get excited about your upcoming adventures – and we all know that half the fun of the holiday is the pre-holiday buzz!
In order for you to get the very best out of your camping trip with your special dog, we have come up with a list of things to bear in mind. (We are nice like that.) So here we are, the JCHQ fail-safe* list of essentials for camping with the canine:
1. Make sure you have plenty of fresh water or a fresh water source, for you and the dog. Take some bottled water too as, if you are all out for the day, water might not be readily available. Having some bottled water on-hand to fill up your dog's bowl is essential in order to keep them hydrated. It's handy to have in the car for the journey to the campsite too.
2. Take a first aid kit and make sure that it is well stocked (is it just us, or do accidents happen WAY more frequently away from home?) Make sure you have some dog first aid in there too with some hydrogen peroxide. It’s great for cleaning cuts to paws and legs. Find out where the nearest vets is to the campsite prior to your arrival. If the info is difficult to find, phone the campsite in advance and ask them.
3. Pack waterproof matches. Because it might rain. Just sayin’.
4. Don’t forget to take some high-energy, non-perishable food such as muesli bars, dried fruits and nuts, especially if you are not taking a cooler. Hangry children are a holiday-mood killer.
5. If you are taking perishable food like fruits, vegetables, and meats – take them separately and keep chilled in a cooler.
6. Take waterproofs and plenty of blankets to keep warm. (See point 3) Also plenty of towels for drying off – humans and dogs.
7. Dog food. It’s always tempting to feed your dog from the family barbecue, but it’s really not a good idea to change your dog’s eating habits as it could easily lead to a sick dog – and no one wants that on holiday. Take your dog’s regular Judge's Choice dog food on your camping trip and keep them away from the scraps as much as possible. If you can time the daily feeding of your dog to keep said dog occupied while you are doing things where “dog-help” is not required eg pitching the tent, making dinner etc, that is surely a clever ploy!
8. Collapsible bowls (is that how you spell collapsible? Such a strange word)
9. Take LOADS OF POO BAGS.
10. Take something familiar – this goes for the dogs and the kids. While everyone enjoys an adventure, home comforts are great for soothing and calming down at bed time. Some dogs struggle to settle into new environments, so having their favourite toy or blanket on hand will provide a touch of the “known” that will help get them relaxed.
11. Dog/baby wipes. So essential. We guarantee you won’t get to the end of the holiday and ask, “Why did we bring those? What a waste of packing space!”
12. Collar or harness and a short lead – many campsites stipulate that dogs must be on a lead at all times whilst on-site. Keeping your dog on a short lead whilst around the campsite is also a good idea and more sensitive to fellow campers.
13. Dog ID tags. Obviously all dogs must be microchipped, but ID tags placed on collars are an easy way of ensuring you and your dog can be quickly reunited on-site. The tags should ideally include a mobile phone number that you can be contacted on.
14. Camping pitch dog stake. Camping with dogs can sometimes be a high-energy affair. When it is time for break, you can secure your pet safely outside your tent, caravan or motorhome with a dog stake.
15. August can get quite warm (fingers, toes, claws crossed) so you should consider bringing a form of shade for when your pooch is staked out. It may be that the stake is put within reach of an awning or you could bring a specific doggy tent for the task.
16. It is a good idea to be able to see where your dog is at all times. It’s also a courtesy for other campers. Collar lights are great when taking your dog out for a nightly walk and help to alert motorists, driving on site, to your dog’s presence.
*JCHQ spent a long time wracking our brains and pooled our collective knowledge but apologies if we have missed anything.
So, go enjoy the great outdoors in National Camping Month. With our helpful hints you and your dog are sure to enjoy a great time. And those clean, dry bed sheets feel so fantastic when it is all done and dusted. If you are going camping in August – full marks for embracing your adventurous antics and a pat on the back (for you and the dog).