Camping with Pets

For many people their pet is a treasured part of the family without whom a vacation just wouldn’t be the same. But camping offers a very unique set of circumstances that could prove dangerous to a pet, especially indoor animals unaccustomed to a wild setting.

The most important rule in camping with your pet is KNOWING your pet. How does the animal behave in unfamiliar surroundings? Can the animal be restrained should other people or animals appear? Is the animal well trained? Does the animal get defensive or odd under specific circumstances? Knowing all these things will help you choose the best possible camping area considering your animals disposition.

There are some precautions you can take to prepare your animal and yourself for this adventure. First things first. If your pet has never been away from home on a camping trip start small. Take that creature out for a few hours a day to some place new. Observe them in that environment and let them adapt. You may even want to set up a tent so they get used to being inside one.

Make sure that the area where you’re planning to camp is pet friendly. Many are, but others may have restrictions on where you can set up your camp if you have an animal with you. Also call your vet. Your animal may love being outside but won’t like the fleas and ticks that come in a forested setting. Your bet can give you pre-treatment and even heartworm medication if they feel it’s warranted. If any vaccinations aren’t up to date they should be administered before travel.

Next, pack for your pet. Bring the animal’s license, enough food, a leash and/or crate, and a first aid kit suited to whatever animal you have. I strongly advocate having a good collar with identification just in case the animal wanders off. And don’t forget a scooper to clean up any feces as you go. If you’re planning this trip during hunting season it’s a good idea to have a bright collar for your pet that identifies them to hunters easily.
Finally, remember that ultimately a pet is your responsibility. If you know you have an aggressive dog, or a dog that wanders off, seriously consider leaving the animal at home with a sitter. You’re not doing the creature any favors by putting it at risk for your enjoyment.

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