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Tent camping with dogs

Tent camping with dogs

Hammock? Under the stars? Tent? All the options are equally pleasant and each has its own charm. But if the dog is not used to going on overnight trips outdoors, it is often the easiest to sleep in a tent. Then you have walls around you when you go to sleep, the dog doesn't have as many things to keep up with as when you sleep under the open sky, and it may be easier for your dog to settle down.

The first tent camping with your dog

The first tent trips can be best experienced when good weather is forecast. Later you will be able to appreciate all types of weather, but the first tent trips are about building good experiences and not least the joy and desire to sleep outside. Then it's okay to realize that you're not pure breed expeditionist on your first trip, but rather plan to make it comfortable and a bit luxurious for both two- and four-legged people.

Test the equipment

A lot of unforeseen things can happen if you are going on a long trip. It's not a good experience to be far in the mountains without phone coverage and realize that you don't actually know how to pitch the tent or fire up a primus for the first time. For the first camping trips, it is often best to go in the local area. Pack the equipment you need for a longer trip, practice and you will have good experiences! Maybe you brought something completely useless on your trip? Or maybe you were missing something absolutely essential!

Equipment that can withstand dog claws

If you are going to take the dog with you into the tent, it may be a good idea not to cut the nails immediately before the trip. Then the claws become extra sharp. It may also be a good idea to buy a robust version of equipment (not the lightest) for a little more resistance against, for example, holes in an inflatable sleeping pad or sleeping bag in view of dog claws. If you have a calm and obedient dog, this is not a problem. Just ask the dog to lie down in the designated place. But if you have a wild and more unpredictable dog, you should take precautions, possibly cover things that can get holes in the tent.

Temperature differences

It is often significantly colder in the mountains than in the lowlands. In the lowlands, mosquito netting and mosquito spray for the dog may be the most important thing you take with you, but in the mountains, a short-haired dog may actually need a blanket even if it is summer. What you need to pack for your dog (and yourself) depends entirely on where you will be camping, the robustness/fur quality of your dog and of course the season. If a lot of wind is reported, there are not as many mosquitoes, for example.

Makes the dog happy

If the dog is tired, full and satisfied, it is often easier to get him to calm down at the tent site. If it's hot, give the dog a cooling bath, if it's cool, feel free to give it a blanket and something to lie on to find peace.

Food and liquid

A tent camp that is close to a water source makes camping life much easier. Then you and the dog can take a cooling bath, it will be easier to cook, do the dishes and the dog can drink when it needs it. If you are going on a trip in the summer heat over several days, it may be easiest to bring dry food or freeze-dried dog food. This weighs little, takes up little space and is durable regardless of temperature. If you are going to walk very far and the dog has to pull or carry hooves, he should get a little extra fat in his food. Dried dog food, dried meat or natural chews such as pig's ear or beef muscle contain a lot of protein and can be good supplements to give as a snack or when the dog needs to be calm at camp.

Teach the dog to relax while you set up camp

- Regardless of your hiking ambitions, it will be very practical to teach your dog to relax in it's place. On longer trips, the dog will recover better when it gets a good rest and it can be practical not to get "help" from the dog when the tent canvas is pitched or the fire needs to be lit.

Most of the time, the dog can participate in most of what we do, but sometimes it is practical to have a dog that relaxes even if they are not involved in everything we do outdoors. It is easiest to start this training if your dog is tired after a long walk. The procedure is a bit like training a puppy at home alone:

It's about letting the dog be tied for a short time at a time so that it doesn't start to protest or panic about not being with you. Then gradually increase the time. At the start, you can also give the dog a chew bone when you tie it up. Find a place where the dog can see you and where it can lie down comfortably. If there are several other dogs with you, it may be a good idea to let them get some distance from each other the first few times so they don't try to play with each other, then it is difficult to calm down. You can also ask the dog to "lay down", and give it a treat every now and then to keep him calm.

You can benefit from practicing this in your everyday life as well. Tie your dog within easy reach while you do other things outdoors. It is very pleasant with a dog that relaxes rather than complaining or giving up because it is not allowed to join. If you have a dog that gnaws on the leash, you can go for the purchase of a light chain or wire so that it does not gnaw on its leash. 

Enjoy the trip

The most important thing about tent trips is to enjoy yourself! It requires no equipment or knowledge! Enjoy the chirping of birds and the sound of the water from the stream. Sit down with your dog and look out over the water and feel the warmth of the sun on your cheeks. Enjoy the silence and the moments. This is what makes trips and sleeping outdoors something very special.

Packing list for the trip

  • Collapsible bowl
  • The blanket or sleeping mat
  • Mosquito spray for dogs (Centura)
  • Long Rope/Chain/wires to fasten the dog to the tent site
  • Energy boost for dogs for longer walks
  • Freeze-dried food
  • Chewing bone or nature gnaws
  • Harness for safety on steep hikes
  • Paw socks (If injuries occur or as a preventive measure in demanding terrain)
  • First aid equipment for you and the dog
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