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Camping with your pet

If you’re like most dog owners, you want to take your four-legged child with you, and that includes camping trips. Although many of us would love to bring our pet along on every trip, circumstances don’t always permit it. Some reasons might include the park’s strict no-pet policy and your lack of experience travelling with your pet.

For many it is tough to leave your pet behind. However, there are resorts and caravan parks in South Africa that understand pets are part of the family. Taking your pet to a campsite that allows pets are not the only thing to keep in mind when planning a t rip. You also need to consider how you are going to handle your pet in the park as well as on the journey there.

You should also think about whether your dog barks excessively, is difficult to restrain, gets stressed easily, dislikes being on a leash, or is prone to wandering off when left alone. Bringing your pets on vacation with you may not be fun for either you or your pets if any of the above are a concern.

Your dog may be overwhelmed or scared by the unfamiliar environment of a campsite if he or she normally spends most of its time indoors. Staying in a caravan or tent for a few days may be a new experience for any dog, even one who is used to camping trips.

Even while difficulties are to be anticipated, you shouldn’t rule out taking your dog camping just because of that. During your excursion, your dog will be exposed to many new experiences, such as the drive in the car, other animals, huge groups of people, and natural settings. Taking the time to plan for any eventuality can provide a more pleasant and stress-free trip for you and your dog.

Planning your trip

First of all, plan your trip according to the resorts and caravan parks that allow pets and ensure you are aware of all the rules regarding your pet. It is also a good idea to take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up. Find out before hand, if any vaccinations are needed for the area you are planning to go to.

Make sure there are plenty opportunities for your dog to use the bathroom when travelling and often stop to give it water.

Your dog also need to be trained to interact with other people and it is a good idea to invest in a good harness and collar.

An option to consider is to make sure that your pet is microchipped as an extra measure of protection in case it becomes lost.

Take a picture of your pet

If your dog ever gets lost, you’ll be glad you have a photo of him to show others. If possible, shoot the photo outside where the lighting is natural and straight. Take pictures of anything that stands out, such as unusual marks or spots. Make a photocopy and bring it with you on your camping trip.

What to pack for your pet?

Probably the most important item is a well-fitting collar or harness, and a leash. It is also a good idea to have an identification tag on the collar that includes its name and your cell-phone number.

Pack enough food that your pet is used to as well as some treats for the entire trip. Don’t forget the food and water bowl.

Bedding is also important as well as some of its toys, if it does have toys or bedding. You will also need a carrier or some other means to confine your pet should this be necessary. Some camp sites also require you to pick up its waste, a first-aid kit, and any medication that your pet might need or take.

Behaviour at the camp site

Not all people are pet lovers or owner and although you may love your pet, other campers or caravanners might not like it sniffing around their campsite. However, if people are not pet lovers it is highly unlikely that they will go camping at a pet friendly camp site.

Always ensure that your pet stays around your campsite, or with you, at all times. Be sure to keep it away from dangerous situation like campfires and cooking utensils that can cause injuries.

When walking your dog around in the camping area or surrounding area, always have it on its leash. You should be made aware where you are allowed to let it run free.

Don’t leave it alone or locked in your tent or caravan and you should not tie it up to a stationary object. This defies the whole purpose of taking your pet with on your adventure. Plan a holiday or break away with adventurous walks and other activities that you and your pet can do together.

It is also important while camping to check your pet for fleas and ticks. Be sure plant material is removed from its fur and it did not step into thorns. This is extremely important after walks in the forest, on the beach, or in long grass.


Not everybody adores domestic animals. Therefore, if you are going on a trip with your best buddy, you should make an effort to adhere to the fundamental manners that will keep you and it out of trouble. Make sure you are familiar with the pet policies of the camp before you go there, since some may only accept dogs if they are kept on a leash at all times, which is something that not all canines are accustomed to doing.

Always make sure there is someone to keep an eye on your dog. Take control of the volume of the sounds. Barking dogs can be just as annoying to other people as loud music, especially if there are other people camping nearby. You could try to distract it with some treats till it calms down.

When it comes down to it, the most important thing to keep in mind when going camping with your pet is to have a good time.

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