If you’re an animal lover, then you’ll know that camping with dogs can be so much fun. When you go on holiday, you shouldn’t have to have to leave your fur baby behind in the kennels, but so many hotels don’t allow pets. Camping is an excellent solution as many campgrounds allow you to bring your dogs! 

Today we’re going to look at tent camping with dogs as well as long term vanlife with pets in tow. It’s good to be prepared when going on a trip with animals and there are several things to consider to keep your dog safe and happy. So, let’s dive in take a look at camping with dogs. 

Featured Image Credit: @mywhiskeygirl

Tent Camping With Dogs 

Person snuggling their dog in a tent
© @lady be

Getting To Your Campsite 

The first thing to consider when taking your dog with you on a camping trip is how you plan on getting to your campsite. If you want to use public transport, then you will need to ensure that dogs are allowed on board. Some train companies will require you to buy a ticket for large dogs or make it known that you are travelling with animals. 

Make sure you pack plenty of water in case it is warm, and get off with your dog as the train stops at a station if they need to stretch their legs or do their business. If you can travel by car, this is much more convenient as you can stop whenever you need to and your dog can ride comfortably in the back. 

Keep Your Dog Safe At The Campground 

Once you reach your campground, you will need to make sure your dog is safe and that you follow any rules set out by the site. Most campgrounds will ask you to keep your dog on a lead at all times, usually shorter than 2m. This is to stop your dog running up to other people and dogs uninvited, but it also makes sure you won’t lose your pet! 

Sleeping Arrangements 

When you are camping with dogs, you need to think about where they will sleep. Campgrounds will often ask that pets do not leave the area of your tent or camper, but this does include under an awning. 

If you are in a hot climate, having your dog in the tent itself may not be a good idea as it might be too hot. To avoid this you could create a sleeping area for them in the porch area of your tent as it is cooler but still sheltered and near to you. If you do not want your dog in the tent itself, then it could sleep under an awning. 

It’s important to remember that you will need to be able to secure your dog, so they do no runoff in the night. Tether your dog’s lead to the ground if they are sleeping outside, or bring along a dog cage for them to sleep in. If they are inside your tent, they could roam more freely, unless you think they can open a zipper!

Your dog could sleep in your tent with you, but make sure you check there is enough space for everyone before you set off! Tents can be a bit of squeeze, even before you add your pooch into the mix. Also, remember to pack plenty of extra towels. If the weather takes a turn for the worse and it is wet outside, you’ll want to be able to dry your dog off before letting them inside. 

Consider Other Campers 

Sillouette of man and dog against lit up tent under the stars
© @dogswiss

Bringing your dog on holiday may be fantastic for you, but it’s important to remember that not everyone loves dogs, and some people may even be scared of them. Be respectful and keep your dog in your sight at all times so that all other campers can relax too!

Here are a few things to consider to keep everyone happy!

Don’t let your dog foul at the campground, and clean up after them. 

It’s polite to make sure your dog doesn’t do its business where other campers are trying to relax. There will usually be a dedicated area but whatever the situation is at your campground, make sure you have a poo bag on you at all times!

Aggressive dogs and camping don’t mix.

If your dog isn’t well socialised then taking it camping probably isn’t a good idea. Campgrounds are home to plenty of young families; if your dog isn’t going to be safe in this environment, then it is best to leave them at home. 

Make sure your dog doesn’t yap or bark late at night or in the early hours. 

Noise travels quickly at a campground; you can hear everything through thin tent walls. Make sure your dog is well trained and will not stay up barking or wake people early in the morning. If the owners of the site feel your pet is causing a nuisance for other guests, then you could be asked to leave.  

Exercise your dog off-site or in the dedicated area where indicated. 

Usually, there will be a dedicated area to exercise your dogs. If not, then it is best to exercise your dogs off-site so that you are not disturbing other campers. 

Don’t take your dog into the bathroom block.

No matter how muddy your dog gets, it’s not permitted to take your pet into the bathroom block. It’s unhygienic and not considerate for other guests. 

Consider Your Dog 

Finally, and most importantly, make sure your dog will be happy if you take it camping! You should all have fun when you go on holiday, if it is stressful for your dog, then they might be happier staying with a friend or family member. 

Long Term Vanlife With Dogs

Camping with dogs - woman and her dog in camper
© @shewandersearth

Going on a short trip in your camper van with your dog isn’t too different to tent camping with dogs. You should follow the same rules and make sure your dog is happy at all times. Things might even be a little easier as there is more space to stretch out and you always have water etc. at hand. 

However, if you plan on taking your dog with you on a long term road trip, then there are some extra things to think about before you set off. Living in a van is an adjustment for most people, and the same is true for dogs. Some might love it, while for others, it might not work at all. You should not continue on a journey if you can tell your pet is unhappy or stressed all the time. If this is the case then, even if it sad for you, you should leave your pet with a friend or family member for the duration of your trip. 

Practicalities 

Camping with dogs - man and his dog in yellow pop up westfalia
© @sunnydaysahead1982

Things like food, water and sleeping arrangements shouldn’t be a problem when travelling with a dog in a camper. You can stock up for them, whenever you do for yourself, and usually, a dog will be happy sleeping inside with you. If you are converting your own campervan, then you can even design a cosy bed area for your dog to enjoy. 

However, some other things to consider are pet passports, vaccinations, insurance, keeping cool and tracking your dog. 

Pet Passport 

If you are travelling abroad, then you may need a pet passport to be able to take your dog with you. You may also need to have your dog chipped and vaccinated. All of the requirements that you need to follow depend on which countries you are travelling from and to. These are not arrangements that you can make at short notice; you should contact your vet at least four months before your trip.

Insurance 

Just as you would take out health insurance for yourself when travelling abroad, you will want to do the same for your pet. Make sure you have comprehensive cover just in case anything goes wrong. 

Keeping Cool 

Dogs can overheat in cars, and the same is true for motorhomes. It is crucial to ensure your dog is cool, whatever the weather and overnight. If you are not somewhere where your dog can sleep outside when hot, leave your campervan windows open to allow fresh air in. 

Air-con And fans are both great way to keep your dog cool at night. If you do not have a way to control the internal temperature of your camper, then you might want to consider getting a cooling mat for your dog. These mats can make camping with dogs much safer as they can stay cold even in hot climates. 

Tracking Your Dog

If you like to let your dog off the lead but are worried about losing it, then you could buy a GPS collar. You can connect a GPS collar to your phone to keep track of where your dog is and find them if they get lost. 

Don’t Leave Them Unattended 

It is really important to never leave your dog unattended in your camper van, especially if you have no way to keep them cool. Dogs can overheat and die when left in vehicles, even for short periods of time. If you decide to take a dog on your road trip, you need to put their needs first, even if this means you can’t visit some tourist attractions or go out to a fancy restaurant. You will even need to plan for the small things, such as going to the supermarket. 

Final Thoughts…

Camping with dogs is such an adventure; you can take your dog to places they otherwise wouldn’t be able to visit it and let them run wild in beautiful landscapes. Having a furry friend on board can only enhance the journey, and it’s worth the effort to keep them safe. 

If you’re an outdoorsy person and want to get a dog that you can take with you on all your camping trips, then check out this article from PuppyFoodie on low maintenance dogs.

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More Content From The Van Clan Team 

  • Check out this article to find out what van life with a dog is really like?
  • Even better than staying at a campground, try boondocking with your dog for more freedom.