Can you really face those sorrowful eyes and that slightly tilted quizzical look as you leave your dog in a kennel for a fortnight while you enjoy life under canvas? Of course not. Could you cope with that little mournful whine as you turn your back and walk away? Of course not. Would the nights around the campfire really be the same without your best friend? Of course not.
Taking a dog camping is not a problem but there are some sensible guidelines to follow.
1. What if you find he doesn’t actually like camping? A trial run in your back garden for a night or two will soon determine whether he can handle life in a tent.
2. Check his contact details are up to date and bring plenty of poo bags. One good idea is to pack all his stuff into one bag.
3. Break up the journey to the campsite so you can both stretch your legs.
4. Where will he sleep? Probably in your tent. Dogs make great hot water bottles. Or outside, if he wants, and it’s not too cold.
5. Location, location, location. This is probably the most important aspect to consider. First, is it a dog-friendly site? Second, try to pitch your tent in a quiet corner away from neighbours who may have a point of view about barking dogs and away from things like the shower block where there may be a lot of activity. If he is an aggressive type and won’t stop barking at the slightest movement, perhaps the kennel is the only answer.
6. Find a phone number for a local vet, in case of emergencies.
7. Depending on how well trained your dog is, you may decide to put him on a long lead so he can roam freely - but not too freely - while on site. Attach it to a strong stake hammered into the ground. But out in the wilds, he must behave. Worrying sheep or other animals is not acceptable. If he can’t behave, put him on a lead.
8. How about his own space? Perhaps a shady spot covered by a sheet? A place he can call his own - with a favourite blanket, a toy and a bowl of water. A place he can escape to when the sun gets too hot and things get on top of him. Let those pesky kids fetch their own stick!
9. Brush your dog regularly. It’s easy to let this chore slip when away from home. But he may pick up all sorts of unwelcome visitors while rolling around in virgin countryside. And don’t forget plenty of towels. They do love a swim and getting muddy.
10. Feeding your dog titbits from the barbecue is not a good idea. Once it has worked through their system, you may regret it.
Pictures used with kind permission from Ruffwear