Camping is good fun, but camping with a dog is even better. We give Aussie Pet Owners our top best tips for when you “go bush” with your best mate.
- Make sure your dog has an ID tag, & has been microchipped
Camping or hiking in new areas means your dog’s senses will be extra alert with unfamiliar smells and sounds and may try to break free to chase something moving in the bushes. If their microchip and ID tag is up to date with your mobile phone number, then the chance of you being reunited with your dog will be higher if the run off.
- Locate a 24 Hour Vet and take out pet insurance
Before you go camping with a dog, it's important to know where the closest 24 hour Vet is near the camp site where you’ll be staying or the trail you’ll be hiking. Though you never expect a medical emergency - a snake bite, or a bee sting for example, needs immediate attention. Knowing this information on hand will allow you to quickly spring into action should the need arise.
The right Pet insurance will also help cover the cost should emergency care be needed.
- Do regular body checks all over your dog for Ticks
The chance of a tick landing on your dog is relatively high. Be sure to buy tick control medication before taking a dog camping to protect against the pests you can't control. Some flea control products do not protect pets against ticks so make sure you select the right one for your dog that does; You can check with your vet about this before heading out. It's also important you know how to remove a tick in case one does latch on.
- Pack the Necessities
Don't forget to bring a leash, collar, a bottle of water, silicon travel bowl, food and treats. Consider a special cooling neck scarf for your dog for hot weather or consider a waterproof dog coat to keep them warm if the weather is cold. Also, bring a bed, towel or pillow for your dog to sleep on.
- Do Your Hike & Weather Research
Before you take a dog camping, plan the location where you will be allowed to take them. Remember, many state parks do not allow dogs on walking tracks. Don't have your plans ruined by running into unexpected "No Dogs Allowed" signs, so be sure to check all of the rules before you leave home the day before. Also check the weather the day before and don’t hike in the heat of the day.
- Prepare Your Dog's fitness.
If your dog is active on a regular basis, don’t assume they are prepared for a 6 kilometre hike, or longer. Don't risk taking your dog on a hike if you are uncertain of this. Instead, take a few practice hikes beforehand. Try to find tracks that are similar in terrain and required effort. If your dog has thick fur, get them clipped and groomed a week before you go to try and reduce the chance of them overheating.
Ask other dog owners for their suggestions to ensure your family and your doggo have the best experience!
10 of the best dog-friendly campsites in NSW and Victoria
Mystery Bay Camp Ground
This spot is on the South Coast of NSW, just over five hours from Sydney, and right on the ocean. It also boasts turquoise beaches, rocky coves and spectacular views over cliff headlands.
Coachwood Camping Area
This camping area is in Chinchester State Forest, three-and-a-half hours north west of Sydney. This small clearing on the Telegherry River offers a cool, quiet rainforest setting with a lagoon to swim in.
Riverwood Downs is on the banks of the Karuah River, in the foothills of the Barrington Tops National Park, around two and a half hours north of Sydney. Enjoy shady walking trails, tall mountains and cool, fresh mountain pools.
Turon Gates campsite
This spot is in a valley in the Blue Mountains on the Turon River, only two and a half hours from Sydney. Pets are allowed off-lead, so long as they are kept under control. You and your pet can go for a mountain bike ride, go bird watching, panning for gold and swimming in the river.
Wollondilly River Station
In the Southern Highlands of NSW, around three hours south west of Sydney, this spot is great for pets, which are allowed off-lead as long as they are kept under control at all times. It offers fishing, oven cooking demonstrations, swimming and bushwalking.
Loch Valley (The Poplars)
This camping area is around two hours out of Melbourne, close to Mount Baw Baw National Park, and you can camp beside the Loch River. Take your buddy for a long walk along the river among the tall trees and ferns.
Part of Lake Eildon National Park, this spot is 150km north east of Melbourne. It’s situated on the shores of Lake Eildon, with bushwalking, boating and fishing popular activities. Be sure to fit a dog flotation vest on your dog before you head out on the boat.
Lake Hindmarsh Reserve
This spot is about five hours out of Melbourne, near the Grampians. When filled, Lake Hindmarsh is the perfect location for water skiing, fishing, yabbying and boating, with red river
gums and birdlife natural highlights.
Howqua Hills Historical Area
Three and a half hours out of Melbourne, near Mansfield, this old gold mining area is set on the beautiful Howqua River and is popular for picnics, horse riding, bushwalking and four-wheel-driving.
Three hours out of Melbourne and part of the Great Otway National Park on the
Great Ocean Road, this is a large, open, grassy camping area nestled among the sand dunes and
adjacent to the surf beach.