Camping with your dog
Ask for some company on your next camping trip, and we doubt you’ll find a taker as keen as Fido. To a dog, camping is like the longest, bestest walk in the world. And they seriously ‘dig’ that.
tips for camping with dogs
Camping with your dog has to be one of the very best experiences to share with your four-legged friend. All that beautiful space outdoors to explore, sniff, run around in, mark out some territory. And the dog is sure to have fun too! Solo campers get some great company and a night watchman to keep things safe, while families will have an almost inexhaustible playmate for the kids. A dog’s joy at being let loose to play in a field is unparalleled, with exciting, fresh stimuli and a chance to run themselves ragged.
If you're about to go camping with your dog for the first time, it's good to be properly prepared. It goes without saying that your dog needs to be healthy (vaccinated), socialised (good with other people and other pooches) and very obedient, and must be cleaned up after. The majority of campsites that do allow dogs ask that they be kept on leads at all times, especially those on farms with livestock. It’s important to keep to any such rules, as one misbehaving pup could bring an end to camping with dogs at that particular campsite. It’s also a good idea to gen up on any dog restrictions in the area; many beaches ban dogs on certain sections at the height of summer, for example, so you’ll want to be clued up on exactly where you can go together.
Another challenge is the sleeping arrangement, particularly if your dog has enjoyed a wonderful walk but now has a muddy-brown coat instead of the usual Snowy-white. So, along with a stash of poop-bags, remember to bring plenty of towels and water to give your dog a clean up before they’re allowed anywhere near the tent.
Ideally, you’ll have a tent with a large porch or a separate compartment to sleep Fido (along with an adequate means of keeping him or her securely in the tent at night), but if you only have a small tent, it’s a good idea to invest in a dog tent to take to the campsite. This will keep the inner sanctum of your tent fur- and mud-free without leaving your dog out in the cold.
Some campsites are so dog friendly that they even offer dog-walking areas or dog runs so you can exercise your pet away from the other campers. But the best present you can give your four-legged companion is a wonderful long walk in the beautiful surroundings that any Cool Campsite has to offer.
So, without further ado, see below for a list of what to take with you to keep man’s best friend happy, plus a handy list of dog-friendly campsites in England, Scotland and Wales only too happy to welcome dogs.
Camping with dogs - the essentials:
- Collar (with your contact number) and leads (extendable ones are advisable, particularly if you’re at a campsite where dogs must be kept on a lead)
- Food (and water if your campsite is without a standpipe)
- Dog bowls
- Poop bags (please dispose of these where designated by campsite owners)
- A dog tent/portable cage if he/she is small, or his/her favourite rug or basket
- Rope/sturdy anchor to tether your dog at night/while you’re cooking or eating.
- Energy for plenty of walks!
dog-friendly uk campsites
Each Cool Camping guide comes with a list of dog-friendly sites, or you can click to view our full list of dog-friendly uk campsites.
In the meantime, here are a few of our favourites:
Dog-friendly campsites in England:
High Sand Creek, Norfolk: This East Anglian gem is a pooch paradise, with access to the marshes and coastal path. There’s even a hosepipe so you can give your pet a rinse if they’ve enjoyed the sea or marshland mud a little too much…
Riversidelakes, Dorset: Space? Check. Campfires? Check. You and your dog can enjoy the 12 acres of dreamy natural meadow and woodland dotted by lakes. The camping area is car-free (you leave your car at reception), too.
Forgewood, Kent: This campfire-encouraging site even provides you with poop bags when you arrive. Choose a pitch on the grassy field or among the cool woodland before exploring the Kentish countryside on walks aplenty.
Dog-friendly campsites in Wales:
Priory Mill, Brecon Beacons: A lovingly maintained riverside site just 10 minute’s stroll from Brecon town makes a top place to pitch among the epic scenery of the Beacons.
Celtic Camping, Pembrokeshire: This rambling site covering a coveted area of Pembrokeshire’s coast has direct access to the coastal path (186 miles long – so plenty of walking opportunities, as dogs are most welcome). Pembrokeshire National Park has even been busy replacing stiles with dog gates wherever possible.
Dog-friendly campsites in Scotland:
Muasdale, Mull of Kintyre: Sitting above the purest white shore and calm coastal waters of the Mull of Kintyre, Muasdale offers direct beach access so you can make footprints (and paw prints) in the sand.
Blinkbonny Wood, East Lothian: A blissfully quiet spot with just four pitches and direct access to one of the Lammermuir Hills walks. After a day’s tramping across the Scottish countryside, you can relax beside the glowing embers of your own campfire.