Camping is a summer tradition for many people, although it can be cumbersome to plan – especially when pets are to be included. Some people opt to send their pets to a kennel while they’re gone because they believe it’s easier than taking the pet along.
For some, that might be the case, but it’s really not that difficult to bring Rex or Rusty along on your next camping outing. We’ve outlined a few things to remember when packing and preparing your pets to visit the great outdoors with you.
1. Campgrounds generally have rules about bringing pets onto their property, so it’s a good idea to call ahead and ask about their pet policy. Some common rules include dogs must be on a leash or a lead at all times, smaller animals should remain in cages to help prevent escape and the exclusion of some exotic pets.
2. Let’s say you head to the campsite, but a torrential rain storm forces you to evacuate the area. If you don’t want to go home, knowing beforehand which nearby hotels are pet friendly is a blessing. You might be tempted to let Fido or Fluffy stick it out in the car overnight, but many people are not aware that in some states it’s illegal to leave a pet in a car unattended for an extended period of time, regardless of the temperature or circumstances.
3. Most animals adapt to new environments, but some are fearful about new surroundings. To help increase the comfort factor, bring along their favorite toys, rewards or distractions. For example, a dog who has some of the comforts of home with him is less likely to bark all night and annoy other campers.
4. A vet visit will ensure your pet is healthy enough to take along with you; this is also a good time to ensure your pet’s shots are up to date and that you have plenty of any needed medications. A vet can also provide supplies to help in case your pet becomes anxious on the trip. And if your pet isn’t already microchipped, now is a good time to take care of that, too.
5. At first, your pet might seem nervous about the camping environment, but after a while, it’ll be time to explore. Always check your pet’s fur for ticks and remove them immediately if you find any. Regular brushing can remove burrs, thorns and other items that might be stuck in your pet’s fur, too.
6. Make sure you pack enough food and water to last through the entire camping trip. If possible, camp near a lake or stream so your dog always has a fresh water source. Bring along collapsible food and water dishes to take with you when you go hiking.
7. Although you might not sleep with your dogs at home, it might be a good idea to keep them close when camping. First, your dogs can alert you to someone or something entering the campsite. Second, leaving your pets to sleep outside the tent or camper could make them vulnerable to encountering skunks, coyotes and other animals. Another option would be to bring a carrier for your pets.
Taking your pets camping can add a fun element to your trip. Dogs love new sights and smells and always prefer to be with their family. You’ll have an added set of senses to help keep the campsite safe and you’ll always have a hiking partner.
So, skip the boarding fees or paying a pet sitter and take your furry family members with you. They’ll appreciate the outing and you won’t have to worry about how they’re faring in your absence.