Camping with Dogs: Dog-friendly Bush Camping

Camping with Dogs

A different environment, paths to explore, trees to piddle on and my gosh, all these new smells! Camping is a great adventure for your furry family member. Here’s our recommendations to ensure that that your buddy is a happy camper.

Keeping your dog safe and healthy

New surroundings to explore is very exciting for your dog, however your dog’s injury and safety risk is increased when they’re in an unfamiliar environment. Here’s what you need to be aware of:

  • Ticks – Your dog will be exposed to more ticks in the bushland and long grassy areas. Make sure your buddy is up to date with tick treatments, as a tick bite will make your dog ill. You’ll need to be extra cautious of paralysis ticks, as their saliva is toxic and can cause blood poisoning. If your dog starts vomiting, has a change in their bark, or experiences lethargy or muscular paralysis this could be blood poisoning. If you suspect that your dog has blood poisoning immediately take them to the nearest vet. It’s also recommended to seek veterinary assistance if you find a tick on your dog.
  • Injuries & illnesses – If your dog gets injured or becomes ill they may need urgent assistance. If your dog gets burnt, cool the area with water and apply a cool pack. If your dog is bleeding, apply pressure with your hands or a bandage. If your dog is having difficulties breathing, make sure there’s no foreign objects in their mouth. If in doubt, seek veterinary assistance.
  • Hazards – Be cautious of camp fire flames and smoke, fishing equipment such as hooks, cold weather particularly chilly nights, debris, stagnant water and toxic plants.

Just like us, you should pack a first a first aid kit for your furry family member too. A substantial first aid kit should include: water bottle to prevent dehydration, a towel that can be used for a sling or stretcher, bandages, dressings for wounds, antiseptic cream (iodine based), gloves, dog sunscreen, dog shampoo, scissors and tweezers.

To be prepared for the increased risks that your dog will be exposed to on a camping trip, pet parents are encouraged to have pet insurance. Not only will an unplanned vet visit be disruptive to your camping trip, it will also be expensive.

Keeping your dog secure while camping

Your dog doesn’t have the security of fences to prevent him wandering away on your camping trip, so it’s important to consider how you’ll keep him restrained. Keeping your dog on a leash and by your side is obviously the best way to know they’re safe and secure, but this is not always possible, especially when camping in the bush. For small breed dogs, a playpen is a great option; or a tethering cable is usually suitable for dogs under 38 kilos, for the moments you can’t have your buddy with you.

Don't forget how to keep your dog secure while driving to your camp site, as well.

Before you leave for the trip, make sure your dog has a current ID tag and is microchipped, just in case they do wander off and become lost. It’s important that your mobile phone details are registered correctly, to make the identification process easier if your buddy does become lost.

Keeping your dog entertained on holidays

Just like at home, ensure your dog is stimulated while on holidays. You may be enjoying relaxing, lazy days away, but your buddy will still want to walk and play, and will demand your attention! Keep your pooch busy with long-lasting treats, like Watch and Grow’s naturally-shed deer antlers, and toys to avoid any inappropriate behaviors brought on by boredom. Keeping your pet engaged and busy will also reduce the chances of them wandering if they happen to get loose!

Dog-friendly camping sites in Australia

A number of camp sites and holiday parks across Australia are pet-friendly – you just have to find them. Try the following sites to find the right camping destination.

Victoria’s Top Five Spots for Camping with your Buddy

Many camping grounds across Victoria allow dogs, so long as they’re on a lead. Ensure you call ahead to get an understanding of any further restrictions. Here are some great places you can take your dog across the state:

  1. Johanna Beach is three hours out of Melbourne and part of the Great Otway National Park on the great Ocean Road. It’s a large, open, grassy camping area nestled among the sand dunes and adjacent to the surf beach. What pup doesn’t love a beach holiday?
  2. Lock Valley (The Poplars) 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 while you both take in the tall trees and ferns.
  3. Jerusalem Creek is part of Lake Eildon National Park, and is located 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 your buddy with a dog flotation vest before you head out on the boat.
  4. Lake Hindmarsh Reserve is close to 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. Your fur baby’s going to love napping under a shady old gum tree.
  5. Howqua Hills Historia Area is about 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. Any old dog is going to love the serenity here!

Check out this great resource for campsites that accept pets: http://traveldogsaustralia.com/australia-travel-map/

New South Wales Top Five Spots for Camping with your Buddy

Many camping grounds across NSW allow dogs, so long as they’re on a lead. Ensure you call ahead to get an understanding of any further restrictions. Here are some great places you can take your dog across the state:

  1. Mystery Bay Camp Ground is on the South Coast of NSW, just over five hours from Sydney. Right on the ocean, this bush camping site is surrounded by turquoise beaches, rocky coves and spectacular views over cliff headlands. What pup doesn’t love a beach holiday?
  2. Coachwood Camping Area is located on 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, your buddy will love the serenity here.
  3. Riverwood Downs is located on the banks of the Karuah River, in the foothills of the Barrington Tops National Park, around 2.5 north of Sydney. You and your fur baby can enjoy shady walking trails, tall mountains and cool, fresh mountain pools.
  4. Turon Gates campsite is situated in a valley in the Blue Mountains on the Turon River, only 2.5 hours from Sydney. Pets are allowed off-lead, so long as they are kept under control. Your buddy will love joining you for a mountain bike, bird watching, panning for gold and a river swim.
  5. Wollondilly River Station is situated in the Southern Highlands of NSW, around three hours south west of Sydney. Pets are allowed off-lead, as long as they are kept under control at all times. Fishing and attending camp oven cooking demonstrations are perfect for humans, while pets can swim, bushwalk and enjoy evenings under the stars.

Check out this great resource for campsites that accept pets: http://traveldogsaustralia.com/australia-travel-map/

Click here to download our Camping with Dogs Checklist

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