Most pet owners will agree with the idea that the best things in life can only be improved when shared with their best furry friends. Camping is just one of those experiences, but it’s not something that comes naturally to everyone. If you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast, you’ve probably already gone camping with your pet.
If you are just getting started in this age-old pastime, no worries! Your Schertz Animal Hospital team has got your back(pack) covered so you and your best friend can have your cake and eat it, too. Just don’t drop any crumbs out in the woods!
Assembling the Gear
Perhaps the most important component to camping with your pet is acquiring all the right gear. Away from home you have to be prepared to meet all the elements with aplomb. It is imperative to have a checklist for the following items:
- Waterproof tent, with rain fly and ground cover
- Blanket or bedding just for your pet
- Stake and lead so that they can comfortably be tethered to you or the campsite
- Water (loads of extra bottles, too)
- A pet life jacket (if you’re going anywhere near a river, lake, or coastline) and lots of extra towels
- All of their creature comforts (like their bowls, crate, toys, balls, extra waste bags, frisbees, treats, food, an extra collar and leash just in case, and more)
- Rain gear
- Light-up collar
- Temporary shelter or sunshade in case your campsite is super sunny
- Extra flashlights or headlamps
- A pet first aid kit
- Pet-safe bug spray and sunscreen
We recommend testing out the gear beforehand and encouraging your pet to smell and see everything. If your pet has never seen or been inside a tent before, it’s worthwhile to introduce it to them before they have to sleep in one or be near it. Similarly, some dogs just can’t get it right with flashlights or headlamps. Slowly train them not to chase the beam or feel scared of it.
The camp fire may also be a new experience for your pet. Try to get them used to it before you need one in the great outdoors. Be sure they never get too close to open flames.
Make the Leap
Traveling together can be delightful, but because pets are used to their routine, stay calm if they start to act a bit unlike themselves. Again, encouragement is key as well as giving them positive first encounters with anything new. If you can, stick to their usual meal times and provide lots of exercise for them. A tired pet is a happy pet.
Other Tips for Camping With Your Pet
While summer is the most popular time for camping with your pet, this activity can be enjoyed well into the fall. Either way, be sure they stay hydrated, well-rested, and watch out for any signs of stress or discomfort.
- Do not let them eat or roll around on unfamiliar plants. Poison ivy, oak, and sumac can all abruptly end a campout. Foxtails, burrs, thorns, and more can become disastrous if not handled right away.
- Be sure they are up to date on all their vaccinations and parasite prevention medication before you leave.
- Check that their microchip information is up to date in the national database.
- Stay close at all times and be sure your dog is always leashed.
- Discourage your dog from digging or sticking their nose into the possible den of wildlife, such as skunks, snakes, bears, and more.
- Always stay on trails.
Enjoy Nature Together
If everything is well prepared for, you and your pet should have a blast camping. After all, their ancestors lived in the wild!
Please let us know if you have additional questions or concerns about camping with your pet. Have fun!