Camping with a dog: How to make your outdoor holiday a success

Especially in the summer months, many people are drawn to go on holiday. Camping holidays have been a popular way of travelling for decades. Dog owners in particular enjoy the advantages, such as flexible changes of location, outdoor activities and species-appropriate closeness to nature for their furry noses. We explain how to best prepare for your camping holiday, how to travel in a relaxed manner and how to avoid potential conflicts.

Find a dog friendly campsite

If you want to go camping with your four-legged friend, it is best to think about the campsite's "must-haves" for the holiday early on.

Also consider what you would like to do with your furry friend on your camping holiday and what you would like to experience in the area. The following points could play a role in your choice of a suitable location:

  • Dog park/meadow: Dogs like to romp around in the grass with other dogs or their favourite toys.
  • Dog beach: For four-legged friends who love to swim, this is an absolute must. Splashing and playing on the shore also offers pleasant cooling on hot summer days.
  • Hiking routes: If you like to explore the campsite's surroundings on foot, the extensive hiking trails are just the thing. In addition, your furry friend can extensively sniff out tracks during your long walks.
  • Dog showers: Here you can clean your four-legged friend from salt residues and sand after swimming and playing on the dog beach.
  • Drinking stations: Your dog can drink at these stations and stay active even in the heat. This way, nothing stands in the way of long hiking tours and long hours of play at the dog park.
  • Car at the campsite: If you are planning to camp and are travelling by car, it is practical to leave the car at the campsite. Especially if it's your first time camping with a dog, you might appreciate the car in the event of a heavy downpour or even a thunderstorm: If your pet is restless, you can retreat into the car and wait there until it is calmer again.
Dog in a camper

Dog camping: How to prepare properly

As a dog owner, you are not only looking out for your own well-being. Your four-legged friend should also travel stress-free and have fun on a camping holiday. We have 6 preparation tips for dog campers:

  1. Plan your journey: Whether you are travelling by tent, car, van, caravan or motorhome, your dog must be adequately secured when travelling by car, ideally in a fixed transport box. During longer journeys, you should find rest areas suitable for dogs and plan sufficient food breaks.
  2. Finding a suitable pitch: Good camping options for dog owners are often located on the outskirts of campsites. This has the advantage that it is often quieter there. Ideally, your pitch should have enough shade (tents and cars in particular can heat up quickly). It is also desirable not to have large rubbish bins near your pitch. Rubbish bins can attract unwelcome guests, such as wasps or even foraging animals, such as the nocturnal raccoon. For you as a dog owner, this could potentially be a stress factor. Also because your pet would like to rummage here, but chocolate residues, sharp-edged packaging and co. can pose a health risk.
  3. Choose your resting place: You sleep in the tent on a comfortable air mattress or sunbathe in your deck chair. If you don't want your dog to rest on the hard ground, but don't want to take his entire dog bed with you, prepare him for his travel bed early on. Lightly lined dog blankets, for example, are suitable for this.
  4. Determine sleeping arrangements: If your motorhome has standing air conditioning, you don't need to worry about accommodation on hot days and nights. In a tent, on the other hand, it can get very warm both during the day and at night. Good air circulation can help here. In addition, some campsites allow you to stay overnight with your dog in the camper, but prohibit you from letting your dog sleep in the tent overnight. It is therefore best to find out in advance where your dog is allowed to sleep.
  5. Check the condition of the ground: At some campsites, subsoils consist of gravel and stones. The small stones are not only uncomfortable, but can also cause pressure points. In strong sunlight, stones can heat up strongly and, in the worst case, lead to burns on the paws. Ideal are campsites with green areas, at best in wooded areas with soft ground.
  6. Identify extra costs: Especially dog-friendly campsites offer the "all-inclusive package" for your four-legged friend free of charge. However, there may be additional costs for excrement disposal, dog showers, drinking water or the use of the dog meadow. Find out about the offers and cost models in good time.

Packing list for camping with a dog: what you really need

You have already packed your suitcase? Great! Our checklist for camping with a dog will help you fill your backpack for your furry friend. These utensils should not be missing:

  • Pet passport: This is a must, as you may need proof of vaccination or your dog may fall ill on holiday.
  • First aid bag: This should contain, among other things, tick forceps, bandages, disinfectant, wound ointment and necessary medication (e.g. for arthritis or chronic illnesses).
  • Two dog leashes: a normal lead for walks and a tracking leash. This way, your dog has enough room to move around the campsite, even though it is compulsory to keep him on a lead.
  • Mooring spiral: Leashes are compulsory on most campsites. You can securely fasten the dog with a mooring spiral or a tethering peg. This way you can stay relaxed by the tent or camper and your pet has some space. If you have a very large and strong dog, it is better to tie him directly to the camper or a nearby tree, as he may pull the peg out of the ground.
  • Replacement collar or harness: If the seams on the harness tear or the buckle breaks, you should ideally have a replacement with you.
  • Brushes and care products: If necessary, the sand can be brushed out of the fur and the tent or camper stays clean.
  • Feeding bowl: Silicone bowls or foldable travel bowls are particularly space-saving.
  • Drinking bowl: Travel drinking bowls often have an overflow protection. This means you can offer your dog water during the journey or even in the tent.
  • Drinking water: Always have a bottle of tap water ready. Sufficient drinking water is especially necessary in hot weather.
  • Dog blanket: A soft and comfortable place to lie is important for your dog's well-being.
  • Sleeping bag (optional): recommended in colder regions or when nights are still cool.
  • Toys: For lots of fun, use fetch toys and small balls. Your dog may also have a favourite cuddly toy that he can' t relax without.
  • Food: Campsites and local shops often only offer a small range of dog food. Therefore, pack your usual food - especially if your furry friend is particularly fussy or relies on a certain food.
  • Droppings bags: to collect the droppings of your pet

Our tip: In case your furry friend escapes, attach a GPS tracker or an address sleeve with important contact details to the collar or harness. This way you can quickly find your dog again, even in unfamiliar areas. Also note that a wet dog in a tent or caravan could well cause a strong smell. If you are not blessed with good weather, a dog coat will help. When holidaying with a dog by the sea, river or lake, it's best to pack a life jacket for your four-legged friend, whether he's a non-swimmer or a "seal".

Packing List Camping with Dog

Camping with a dog: 3 popular destinations

Do you long for more sea? Or do you feel more at home in the mountains? No matter whether you want to let the salty wind blow through your hair or prefer to breathe fresh alpine air - camping is possible almost everywhere! We inform you about the most popular destinations.

1. North Sea and Baltic Sea:
Long sandy beaches and crashing waves attract not only water rats to the coast. Many campsites are not only located in the immediate vicinity of dog beaches that invite you to romp and play, but also to go hiking and cycling. Whether in Denmark, the Netherlands or the region on the German mainland with its neighbouring islands: Here dogs are welcome almost everywhere!

2. Alpine regions:
Clear lakes, lush green flower meadows and an unforgettable view from the mountain top into the deep valleys can be found in the Alpine regions of Austria, South Tyrol and Switzerland. Germany also offers beautiful hiking trails and untouched nature along the Zugspitze, for example. Especially active, sporty outdoor fans with agile and persistent dogs are often drawn to these idyllic mountain regions. You and your four-legged friend can enjoy swimming at numerous dog-friendly campsites, for example at Lake Constance, Forggensee in Bavaria or Wolfgangsee in Austria.

3. Southern Europe
Not only those who like it particularly warm and want to enjoy the Mediterranean flair are in good hands in the camping areas of Croatia, Italy or France. Some campsites in Italy offer you and your four-legged friend an all-inclusive package, e.g. with exercise areas, courses and dog trainers, as well as dog sitters and dog ambulances should your furry friend fall ill or injure himself while romping around.

"Dog camping netiquette": 7 tips for dog owners

It is generally advisable to find out about the house rules of the individual campsites before you go on holiday. You can find them on the respective website or ask for them by phone or e-mail. However, there are also some unwritten rules that you should follow when camping with your four-legged friend so that you can enjoy your holiday without hassle and conflicts:

  1. Courtesy: Behave in an exemplary and polite manner, especially towards campers without dogs.
  2. Walking outside: It's best to walk your furry friend outside the campsite on the dog run or at the dog beach before the play sessions (don't forget to bring a poop bag!).
  3. Obedience: Your dog should always be recallable and know his limits. Never let him run around unsupervised and forbid him to enter the "properties" of other holidaymakers.
  4. Avoid crowds: Don't stay with your four-legged friend in the middle of a crowd. Instead, choose a cosy spot on the edge of the campsite, beach or restaurant. This way, other holidaymakers can stay out of your dog's way.
  5. Other people's property is taboo! This also applies to your four-legged friend. Therefore, call him back immediately if, for example, he chases after a ball played by children. Also, avoid letting it run over other people's towels and air mattresses.
  6. Use dog bathing areas: Only let your dog in the water where it is expressly permitted. Prevent him from shaking himself dry between the beach chairs of other holidaymakers or, in the worst case, rolling himself dry on their bath towels.
  7. "Netiquette: Basically, all the rules of etiquette that apply at home also apply on holiday: If your dog cannot be called off, likes to run away to explore the environment or greets every person in its vicinity impetuously, it should be kept on a leash.

Conclusion: A camping trip with your four-legged friend requires a lot of planning. Don't let this discourage you. If you prepare well and show consideration for other holidaymakers, nothing will stand in the way of your travel adventure. What is your favourite way to spend a camping holiday with your dog? Tell us your dog camping story!

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