Camping is a great way for your pet to have a fun time experiencing the great outdoors. Pets are a part of your family, so why not bring them with you on a family camping vacation. When traveling with your pets, you need to pay attention to the rules and regulations at each facility regarding pet behavior and owner responsibility.
Here are a few things to check on before you leave on your vacation:
- Know your pet! – You know your pet better than anyone else. If you think camping might not be the safest activity for your pet, or for other campers, leave your pet at home.
- Find out if the campsite allows pets – Some parks may have restricted areas, like park facilities, lakes, ponds, creeks and streams, and the backcountry. Adventure In Camping has a few pet friendly camping sites, such as Mammoth Lakes, where you can bring your pet with you.
- Ask yourself if your pet is in good health – Is your pet in the physical shape that is required to meet the demands of the trip? If you are planning on doing a lot of hiking or physical activity, is your pet going to be able to keep up with you during those activities? If not, you might want to leave your pet at home. It is not always a safe idea to keep your pet locked up while you are out exploring the wilderness.
- Vaccinations – Be sure your furry friend is up-to-date on all required vaccinations and protected against heartworm, fleas, and ticks. Dogs can come in contact with a variety of wild animals while camping, even if they are leashed. You can even ask your vet about the area you’ll be camping in to be sure your pet is protected.
- Collars and ID – Make sure your pet has a collar and ID tags. Your dog should always be leashed at a campsite, but in case they get lost- make sure they have their best chance at getting back to you. Keep a collar with ID tags securely on your dog at all times. Even well behaved dogs can slip out of a loose collar and chase after a wild animal if they become too excited. Microchipping and registering your dog is an added measure you can take to ensure that you will be contacted if they are found away from your campsite.
- Hiking on Trails – There are parks that do not allow pets on hiking trails, near lakes or boardwalks. It is a good idea to check park regulations ahead of time if you plan on hiking during your stay. You don’t want to get out on a hike and find out that your furry friend is not allowed.
Also read: 5 no-no’s When Camping with your Dog
If you have decided that you are going to bring your pet with you on your camping adventure, make sure to bring the following:
- Food and Water – Yes this might seem obvious, but don’t forget to pack your furry friend’s food, water and bowls. Light or collapsible bowls take up less space and are easier to carry so you can bring them with you on outings. Bring extra food if you’ll be taking your pet with you on any physical activities. Remember, you pet will be hungry and thirsty just like you.
- Tether and Stake – A long leash or tether is a great way to allow your dog to explore the campsite while you relax knowing he’ll stay in the area. Many parks will not allow you to tie your tether to a tree, so bring a stake to put in the ground. Most parks have a 6 ft leash policy, but check your park for specific rules.
- First Aid Kit – Be prepared for minor scrapes. Your pet will most likely be in unfamiliar territory so they will want to explore!
- Poop Bags – Pick up after your pet! Nothing can ruin a camping experience like stepping in someone else’s pets poop! Be courteous and pick up any poop that your pet drops at your campsite, and while out exploring.
- Towels – Towels will come in handy while you camp. They are good for laying down for your pet to lie on, wiping down your pet, or even hanging for some shade. You might want to bring more than one.
If all the above checks out and you have decided to bring your pet with you, make sure to be mindful of other campers at all times. Not all people are pet people, so make an effort to clean up after your pet, keep your pet’s noise level under control, and do not let your pet wander around camp. And remember to have a fun, safe adventure filled with memories to last a lifetime!