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Camping with a dog: pros and cons

author Lucy Byrne | Sport and travel

If you go camping for the first time, it is good to prepare for all various reactions of your furry friend. Do you travel with it by car and by public transport with no problems? Is your dog okay when not sleeping at home, e.g. in a mountain cabin? It can be different in a tent. Some dogs might not like the confined space and they might prefer sleeping outside in front of the tent. It is better to be prepared for such situation and for example have a blanket with an insulating layer and a leash which is long enough.

As well as for other situations your dog experiences for the first time, it is great if you can try it in advance. In an environment your dog considers to be safe and where are no disturbing noises, etc. You will see how the dog reacts to your weekend shelter and if it gets inside automatically or if it will avoid it from large distance. Be careful, the size of your dog doesn’t matter in this case at all. Our otherwise fearless briard refused to get inside the tent and we had to make her a bed in front of the entrance. It was because we underestimated her shepherd nature as she didn’t like the fact she didn’t know what’s happening outside when she was in the tent.

But most dogs usually handle being in a tent with no problems. They usually want to be close to their masters. What if he/she has a treat, you know :). And it will save you from squealing and scratching of your love at night when it would get the idea to visit you inside to be close to you. We always make space for our dogs at our feet where they keep us warm at night. But you can also use your dog as a “pillow”, particularly if it is used to a more intense contact, for example from kids. Another advantage is the fact that if you go camping in wild nature and you are afraid of uninvited guests, e.g. feral pigs or bears, your dog will always alert you in advance. This also holds true for burglars who will rethink twice if they will move around your tent.

And you will definitely not oversleep with your furry friend. Licking instead of an alarm clock is probably a well-known thing for all dog keepers. An advantage compared to being at home is the fact that you can let your dog go out and relax for a while (if you checked the place properly the day before and you are for example not in a camp). On the other hand, if you need to “use bathroom”, you will have to practice your ninja skills to be able to get from your dog’s clutches and from the tent :). I’m not even mentioning getting back to your sleeping bag. But you can be sure everything is worth it and your dog companions will shower you with endless love.

One more tip for the end: if you have a choice, take a tent with a reinforced layer which is not easily damaged. Or an old blanket might also serve as a protective layer. And also, inflatable camping mattresses are not a good choice, they are too easy to be scratched by dogs’ paws. It’s my own personal experience :).

And what is your experience with camping with a dog?