Hi all! I wanted to provide some information from my own experience about camping and campervanning with dogs; I hope some of you find it useful.
This is the campervan we went our adventures with our three dogs in.
When going camping with dogs, whether it’s in a tent or a campervan, whatever you choose, when you’re travelling with dogs it’s important to be prepared. You need to ensure that you are packing for them as well for yourself. Often times you will end up with more packed for the dogs than for yourself, but our precious pooches come first of course.
We go on road trips in our campervan quite often with our three dogs, of very varying sizes and temperaments, so have gotten used to what we need to take with us in order to be fully prepared. I have provided a comprehensive list of what you need to bring with you if you decide to go camping with your pooches.
First aid kit
Having a first aid kit with you is going to be really vital, especially if you are far away from home, from your usual vets and if you’re like us, possibly far away from civilisation if you are camping in the countryside. It’s a great idea to keep a first aid kit stocked in your bag when you go hiking and for days out too. We have two separate kits, one for camping which we keep in the campervan, and one for when we go hiking.
The camping kit includes things for every event including the following:
– A tick twister: such a vital piece of equipment to remove ticks from your dog. It’s a great idea to tick check them every night; if you are in the countryside and in long grass, your dogs are far more likely to pick up ticks, so it’s good to be prepared.
The tick twisters we use are so handy and make taking ticks off our dogs so much less stressful.
– Anti-diarrhoea tablets – we like to keep these with us as they’re good if one our dogs picks something up from the floor or has an upset tummy due to the travel or change in circumstances. They’re great for small tummy upsets but remember if it’s something more severe or goes on for more than 24 hours, it’s a good idea to check up with a local vet.
This brand is the one we have found most effective for our pomeranian in particular, who quite often gets tummy upsets if there are changes in circumstance and she’s over excited or a bit nervous.
– Antiseptic spray – having some antiseptic spray with you is going to allow you to treat small wounds such as grazes on the paws, tick bites, any small cut that your dogs may get while out in nature.
This is the spray we use and it’s fab!
– Bandages – a good set of bandages is always a good one to have with you to pair with the antiseptic above, so that you are able to keep any small wounds clean and dry while they are healing.
I like these bandages because they stick to themselves so to speak and they help to keep any booties or socks I put over the top of injuries on. You may need an additional layer underneath if there is an open wound, but these are certainly sturdy and I’ve found they stay on well.
– Socks or booties – in the case that your dog gets a sore paw or a small wound on the paw and you have treated it with your antiseptic and bandages, a sock or bootie, depending on your dog and what they will keep on their feet, can allow them to still play, walk and be involved in the holiday while keeping their wound safe and dry.
These are the best booties we’ve found but it is better to use a bandage around the top to stop them coming slipping down. when your dog is running or hiking.
– Paw wax – a good paw wax can prevent injuries on your dog’s paws from cold weather, ice or snow, as well as from hotter weather and rougher ground if you are out and about. It can also help to soften your dogs paws as a sort of balm at the end of a long day if they have done a lot of walking; you can even use it on their nose if it has gotten a bit dry! A lick safe one is always a good bet with natural ingredients so that if they lick their paws, as they are so prone to, it’s not going to cause any issues.
This is the paw wax we use. It does come in a big pot but you can get it in a smaller size if you only have one dog.
– Eye drops – this is something we began carrying with us because we have a chihuahua, and being so close to the ground she is often getting things in her eyes, but we found they’re great to have for all of our dogs when it’s windy, dusty or in any setting where they can get an irritant in their eye. The ones we use are antifungal so they can help prevent eye infections if a foreign body has been your dogs eye, as well as cleaning them out, especially for our smaller dogs where tear stains are more common.
With the first aid kit to take hiking, we keep things simple so we aren’t carrying a lot; we tend to just take the tick twister, the bandages and antiseptic spray, because usually anything else can be dealt with back at home base.
Having some wet wipes with you when you’re camping and tend not to have access to a bath or shower to wash your dog if they get muddy can be really useful. It can allow you to give them a good rub down and a quick clean after being outdoors before they get into your tent or campervan, so that you can keep that small area as clean as possible (you’ll know that’s tough with dogs so doing everything you can to keep things clean definitely helps).
On the same note as the wet wipes, having towels (and you may want to take plenty of them depending on how many dogs are joining you on your adventures) so that you can get the dogs dry when the weather has been wet or after you have cleaned them down before they come inside the confined camping area is vital for everyone. No one wants wet bedding in your camping area and as much as we love them, no one wants that wet dog smell in a tiny space you are going to sleep in.
Another thing we bring along with us is a simple pet deodorant which we can just spray on the dogs at the end of the day once we all get into the campervan together. Having something like this with you can be a quick, inexpensive and simple touch to just making your camping experience nicer – you can get some really lovely deodorants with pleasant smells which are dog safe and when you’re in a small space all together, it just makes your dogs smell lovely, all ready to snuggle up for the night!
These are the ones we use and they smell heavenly, plus they have a variety of scents you can pick from to suit your tastes.
Depending on whether you have small or large dogs, a dog carrier may be optional. In our case we have three dogs, one is tiny, another fairly small and the other medium sized. For our little chihuahua, she often can’t keep up on walks and obviously can’t go as far, so having the carrier allow hers to be with us and enjoy the holiday without getting overtired, while also allowing us to make the most of the time we have without being limited by her little legs.
If you have a small dog , it could be a really great addition to your camping equipment. The carrier also provides great shelter for your dogs from midges and flies, from hot weather giving them a shady place to relax, and from cold weather when they need to be kept warm, which is often a real concern with much smaller dogs when you’re outdoors all day. If you get them comfortable in it, it can be a place of refuge for them and can even be used as a little hideaway to sleep in at night.
The one we purchased is below, we have tried a number of carriers previously and have found this is the one she is most comfortable in and the one that is most comfortable for me to carry when hiking long distances.
A picnic blanket with a waterproof underneath is something that can be so useful when you are sitting out at night, having picnics during the day or anytime you are sitting outdoors (which tends to be a lot when camping), as it gives your dog somewhere dry to sit. Dogs, even larger hardier dogs, can quickly become chilly sitting in wet grass or on the wet ground, and the ground can often be wetter than you might imagine, so giving them somewhere dry to sit and relax can be highly beneficial.
The picnic blanket we purchased is pretty big given that we have three dogs and we wanted to be able to sit on it with them during picnics. It’s very bright and fun, and kept the top surface completely dry.
Seat belts that attach to their harnesses are vital for travelling with a dog to keep them safe, or a crate if you prefer. It’s now required by law to keep your dog safely restrained when in the car or any moving vehicle. It can also help them to feel secure when on the move and feel safer overall.
Warm and waterproof clothes
Warm clothes, waterproof coats and plenty of layers, especially depending on the weather and the area you are going camping in, can ensure that your dogs are at a comfortable temperature. Depending on the size of your dog and the breed, you may need to pay more or less attention to this. At night the temperature can drop and having some layers to keep them warm can allow them to sleep comfortably.
Cool coats or bandanas
On that same note, having cooling coats or cooling bandanas, which are made from a material that holds water and help to keep your dog’s temperature down, can be highly beneficial if you are going to be in hot weather and out all day, or even while you are travelling in your vehicle between stops. Dogs can so easily get heat stroke and often with my lower temperatures that you might think, so having something cooling with you so you don’t need to worry, and you don’t need to put your adventures to a halt, can be really helpful.
The cooling bandanas can be really handy to have in your bag, this is one of the brands we use.
Cooling coats like these can be so effective also, especially on the hottest of days.
Water and water bowl
This sounds like an obvious one but having a bottle of water and a travel water bowl with you throughout the day when you are travelling or hiking, is entirely vital for your dog. There are plenty of options for travel bowls, depending on your own preferences and what your dog prefers of course.
Dog tie out stakes
Having a place to tie out your dog at night is so useful, so you don’t need to worry about leads and holding onto them. These tend to be metal stakes that are either hammered or twisted into the ground to keep your dog secure, usually with long leads attached or that you can buy to add to them.
Most campsites require dogs to be on a lead at all times, so these can be invaluable and so fuss free. They allow your dog that freedom to wander around depending on the length of lead you get to attach to them. Ensure you get one that is strong enough to hold your dogs weight.
The stake we recently purchased for our springer spaniel is really sturdy and does the job really well.
Taking spare collars or harnesses depending on what your dog wears is so useful if they get wet or muddy, so that they can always have a dry one on while the other is drying. The same goes for spare leads. It’s also useful if you lose anything or if anything breaks, especially if you have multiple dogs.
Blankets and beds that smell like home
Depending on your dog’s temperament and how used to travelling they are, it can be quite unsettling for them at times to be away from home, especially for a fairly long period of time. Bringing with them beds and blankets that smell like home and that they are used to lying on, can give them that sense of security and help to settle them; this is particularly useful for more anxious dogs and if you are in a vehicle they may not be used to such a campervan.
Their food and treats portioned out
Ensuring that you carry enough food for them, portioned out so that it’s easy to carry and easy to access at meal times, particularly if you have more than one dog and they get varying sizes of portions or any medications or any particular additions to their meals; it can be so helpful and save so much hassle when you’re in a smaller space.
Plenty of poo bags
Last but not least we have the inevitable poo bags ; it can be a nightmare if you forget these so ensure that you tick them off your list and have plenty of them with you when you are packing.
Dogs are the best travel companions and can be so much fun to explore with, provided that you have the right equipment with you to keep them safe, comfortable and happy. Remember to take everything that your dog needs, and have some amazing adventures!