I’ve found that camping with pets usually goes one of two ways. It’s either really awesome or really terrible. Lucky for you, I’ve put together some tips and tricks over the years based on my time camping with my animals. Use these to make every camping trip with your pets turn out really awesome.
The first thing you need to know about camping with pets are the campground rules. Hopefully, you checked these out before you made the reservations. The quickest way to lose your overnight location is by bringing an animal to a no-pets campground.
Typically, public campgrounds allow you to bring your furry friends. They usually just have a few rules for you to follow. Here are the most common I’ve found in my travels:
National Park and private campgrounds may be more restrictive. National lands tend not to allow domestic animals due to the wild animals. Private campgrounds may simply not like dogs or cats. BLM land does not usually specify, and 9 times out of 10 pets can be off the leash as long as they are not bothering other campers.
The best way to stay at your campsite and keep your neighbors happy is to be courteous. Keep your dog near you at all times and clear of anyone else’s campsite. Even though I like animals and have my own, I don’t appreciate other people allowing theirs in my rented space.
Your pet could get injured at any time on the road, at the campsite, or on the trail. If you are camping off the grid, it might take you too long to reach a vet’s office. That’s why preparing a first aid kit for your pet, just like yourself, is important.
The Humane Society has a comprehensive list of everything you should have in your pet’s first aid kit.
Before letting your animal out of the vehicle, check out the area first. Make sure there is nothing around the site that could injure your 4-legged friend. Any leftover foods, trash, or potentially harmful liquids should be disposed of before you let your pet out.
There are a few things you should always pack for your animal. Here is my list:
Prime camping time is also the hottest time of the year. Make sure you give your animal enough water throughout the day. There should also be a place where they can go lie down to stay cool. If you have a choice of campsites, opt for ones with shade. If the temperature gets too hot for reasonable humans, do not take your pet out!
Chances are the time you are camping with pets is the time when insects are at their worst. Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, no see ums, and other parasitic bugs are out there and waiting to jump on your pet! So how do you protect them?
If you want to make your time in the car and at the campsite easier, carrier train your animals. This is a great skill to have regardless of whether or not you go camping. It makes transporting your animal much safer. I have a special, soft-sided carrier I use to keep my pet secure at the campsite. Crates also help the pet feel more secure if they are already trained.
Before you set out on your first camping adventure, do a run-through. Set your stuff up in the backyard or apartment and let your pet get used to the new sights and smells. To get your pet to play nice, use treats. Put them inside the tent and anywhere else you want your pet to get used to!
It’s a good idea to run through the night just like you would on your trip. This includes going on evening walks with headlamps. The light can scare some animals.
The best thing to do when you are camping with animals is to stay in tune with them. This goes double the first few times out. It may take your animal some time before it gets comfortable, so know your pet. If your furry friend doesn’t like to spend nights outdoors, then don’t push the issue.