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Camping with Pets

Your pets are part of the family, so it’s only natural to want to take them along on your camping trips. Before you do, though, here are a few things to consider to make sure that Fido or Fluffy enjoys the experience as much as you do!   

Dog leaning out window

1.     Do a Reality Check. You know your pet better than anyone else, so make sure that their personality is suited for camping. Are they easily excitable? Do they bark a lot? Do they get stressed in unfamiliar situations?  If so, you may want to acclimate them to new outdoor experiences by taking them for a series of short hikes before bringing them along on an actual camping trip. On the other hand, if they’re highly adaptable and play well with others, you’re good to go! 

2.     Check with Your Campground. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your campground is pet friendly, but you’ll also need to learn what their rules are regarding leashing and tethering so you can pack the appropriate equipment. Keep in mind that many campgrounds do not allow you to leave pets unattended, so decide how that rule will factor in to your plans before you decide to bring your pet along. Some campgrounds also place limits on the number or weight of pets.

3.     Be Prepared. Make sure your pet is healthy, up to date on vaccinations and has protection from fleas, ticks and heartworm. Bring along their regular food (and favorite treats!) so their diet doesn’t change, as well as any medications they may be taking. It’s also a good idea to bring their vet records along in case of an emergency. 

Puppy

4.     Tag Your Pet. If your pet’s tag only has your home phone number on it, you’ll want to get a new one with your cell phone number. Another idea is to write your campsite number on a sticker and apply it to your pet’s tag or collar. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, you might want to have this done before you leave home so you’ll be even better prepared should your pet wander off.

5.     Pack Something Familiar from Home. If your pet has a favorite toy or bedding, bring it along. You may also want to pack a small tarp to put under the bed.

6.     Be Ready to do Clean-up Duty. You’ll need to pick up after your pet out of respect for your campground and fellow campers, so be sure to pack those poop bags.

7.     Stay Vigilant. Check frequently to make sure your pet has plenty of shade and water. Also, since pets are naturally curious, be on guard against unwanted encounters with skunks and other wild critters, and check your pet’s paws and fur for burrs, thorns and other natural matter they may pick up outdoors. 

Above all, have fun with your pet and take plenty of photos to document the experience!