Camping with a Dog
We’ve set our date to leave for our big Aussie adventure – now do we take our dog or not?
Leaving Rusty at home wasn’t an option for us! I got her when she was a puppy and she has been my best mate since – so it was a no brainer for us. Yes, sure I could have easily left her at my parents’ house, where she had grown up her whole life but she was ‘my dog’ and I couldn’t bare the thought of leaving her. After traveling on the road now, for close to 4 months I still don’t regret the decision to bring her one bit! People say it’s such a hassle traveling with a dog and I strongly disagree. For the many disadvantages pointed out, there is equally as many advantages of traveling with a dog.
- not allowed in National Parks
- extra mouth to feed
- picking up poop
- some accommodation places don’t allow dogs
- needs daily exercise so means we get exercise
- constant dog cuddles (rusty is a major sook!)
- conversation starter – she is pretty cute
- good guard dog / bug catcher / entertainer
Number one disadvantage here in Australia, is dogs aren’t allowed in National Parks. We know there are some spectacular things to see in most National Parks, so our easy solution is to camp just outside the NP. We generally can day trip into the NPs and see what we want to see in roughly a 1-4hour window, meanwhile Rusty is catching up on some sleep in our caravan, which is parked outside the NP. We leave our caravan all secure and locked up – with the top canvas windows open for air. She makes herself at home on our bed and literally just sleeps the time away! She has water, food and sometimes if it’s a little hot we leave our cordless Milwaukee fan on for her, plus she can move around and stretch her legs. She is not a big barker or yappy dog – so we are lucky in that respect, she doesn’t make a noise, unless someone is breaking in. We always ensure we take her for a big walk, before and after, if we do leave her for a period of time. Some people might argue that’s its cruel but with Rusty it’s not – like I said, she just sleeps! It’s like a child – after having her for 8 years, I know what she does and doesn’t like. In saying that, not all dogs will like being left so you need to decide whether your dog can cope and of course have a comfortable enough setup for your dog (shade, water, ventilation etc). We definitely don’t condone animal cruelty, and never leave her if it’s a hot day!
Travelling and camping with a Dog
I believe you can make travelling with a dog as easy or as hard as you want. It’s all about perspective and if you love your dog enough to make a few slight changes. They are many other options for those people who don’t want to /or prefer to leave there dog alone.
- These days most towns have someone who is happy to mind your pet for the day / night – there are apps, Facebook groups and it’s even worth trying the local vet!
- A kennel – again most towns / councils have kennels you can book your dog in for a night or two (usually all vaccinations must be up to date)
- Other travellers; with and without dogs – we have had people offer to look after rusty as they simply miss their dog or want some company for their own travelling dog
- Pet friendly campsites and caravan parks – some have rules where you aren’t allowed to leave your dog attended, others actually offer to check on your pet whilst you are out. Talk to the staff when you make your booking to find out what they offer.
All in all – I believe Rusty is loving being on the road. I mean how many dogs are this lucky to be travelling Australia with their owners. She is part of the family and we are so glad we get to experience Australia with her.
FAQ About travelling with a dog
OUR DOG -
Name: Rusty (female)
Breed: cattle & kelpie cross
Age: 9 (still acts like a puppy tho)
Time on the road: 11months
Quick facts: super loyal | loves kissing fish | major sook | she is not a 'dog-friendly' dog
Q: What do you do with her while in National Parks?
A: We camp outside/nearby National Parks, where we feel comfortable leaving the van and then we tend to leave her in our van all safe & secure. We have found we can see most stuff within 1-5hours depending on the National Park and Rusty is happy to sleep the time away. We never leave her in the middle of the day, super hot day etc. She always has a massive walk before and after our outings. Rusty is not much of a barker, plus in the van she has food, water and can stretch her legs by moving about the van. She has never gone to the 'toilet' in our van which we are very fortunate for, if she did, i wouldn't be mad as i know it would of been an emergency.
Q: Where does she sit while in transit?
A: We have completely removed the backseat of our dual cab navara and installed a dog cage behind the passenger seat. On the window we have also installed a piece of security grill so we can leave the window completely down for her. She is very comfortable in the cage which has a cosy dog bed, plus food and water bowls. [You can see her car setup in the below video link]
Q: How does she go traveling in general?
A: She loves it! Its quite funny, she tends to know when we are moving camp sites and goes and sits by her door, waiting to get in. At the start she was a little hesitant on corrugated / bumpy roads, but over our 11 months on the road she has gotten use to them. We find she sits down in her cage and is completely comfortable on long trips.
Q: Have you felt restricted traveling with her?
A: Not at all. We have seen everything that we have wanted to so far. It's all about planning a little better and being smart about it. Having the caravan has definitely helped us be able to do small day trips into places that aren't dog friendly. In regards to accommodation, you can generally find somewhere that would suit: free/low cost camps and caravan parks, to set up camp.
Q: Do you wish you left her behind?
A: Absolutely not!Overall:She is part of our family and to be honest we know she wont live forever. So any of those 'big restriction' places we want to go to, can wait.
We are still young and have plenty of time up our sleeve for those adventures.
For now we are cherishing our time together and sharing some great memories with Rusty by our side.
Amz & Kurt