Pet Camping Preparation

Woof, woof, woof, meow, meow, meow, Don’t forget to take us with you on the camping trip. What, we are taking them with us on our camping trip? Yep, mom we love them and want them to go. Does this conversation sound familiar? I know it all too well but many pet owners who camp do not take their furry friends with them. If you do decide to take them, there are a several items that are a must bring and a few tips that would benefit any pet owner.

If you do not own your own property or camp spot it will be necessary to call ahead to ensure that where you are camping pets are allowed. Many state campgrounds do not allow pets. Many others allow pets only on leashes and in designated areas.

Food is the number one item that must be brought. If your pet is on a special diet, then one good tip to make sure you bring enough food, is to pre-measure the food out into individual Ziplock bags and then put all the pre-measured bags into a larger Ziplock bag. One hint that I have found helpful is to pack two extra meals just in case of an issue or my pet works super hard while we are camping and requires more food for energy.

Treats are another important aspect of the food that needs to be brought. If you are hiking with your pet then a full meal is just not what they need, a small protein snack does wonder for a pet’s moral. Just like the food I also put the snacks in a Ziplock bag to protect it from the weather and if any other mishaps happen. What goes in must come out, so don’t forget to bring your bags to pick up your pet’s waste.

Good Ole H2O is a must to take camping. I use a Nalgene see through water bottle, because it is made out of thick plastic therefore very hard to break. It can also be filled up the night before the camping trip and froze to keep it cold longer. Besides. I can take the first drink and feed the rest to my furry friend. I never take water bottles and leave them in the car or in a heated area, because the plastic leaks into the water being drank and can cause cancer. Don’t forget the portable water and food bowls to keep the pet from wasting any H2O.

Taking a leash is important. There are many different types to consider bringing along. A long line, for training purposes or so you can tie your pet up temporarily. A retractable leash for short walks and a standard leash for longer walks. It really doesn’t matter what type of material it is made out of just so that it is strong enough to keep your pet safe. There are standard leashes that have a reflective coating on the outside that glow in the dark, great for keeping you and your pet safe while walking at night.

A collar is another item that should not be left behind. Most pets wear some type of collar, but you may want to consider a harness for a dog that tends to pull while on a walk. A training spike collar, is another option, especially for larger breeds of dogs. Never leave the training spike collar on your pet for an extended amount of time or when the pet is left alone. Your pet can get his front foot stuck in the collar and/or get stuck to an object resulting in an injury. Never leave your pet tied up with a spike collar. A gentle leader is another positive option to use as a collar especially when walking your pet. An identification tag needs to be securely attached to your pet’s collar. Your name and phone number should be clearly etched into the tag, just in case your pet gets separated from you. A microchip is also an important tool to have imbedded into them, in order to identify your pet and contact you to claim them. Choke chains should be left at home.

Hmm, don’t forget the crate. You need some way to transport your pet from home to the camp spot. Lots of owners prefer crates. It keeps your pet safe from other wild animals that might be in the area. It also provides a safe place for your pet to sleep at night. If you happen to be camping in a spot that does not allow you to keep watch on your boat you can put your pet in the crate while you are having fun on the water. The best plan would be to take your pet with you on the boat, sharing in the fun. Make sure you have some sort of bedding to put in the bottom of the crate to keep your pet comfortable and not sleeping on hard cold plastic. A dog bed would be a good idea to put into the crate, or just take it for your pet to sleep on if you are for certain there won’t be any wild animals wondering around at night.

Here are a few more items that I sometimes bring when we take our dog, Oakey the one year old Saint Bernard camping. I take his grooming supplies to brush out any burrs he might get in his hair. His shampoo, Oakey loves the water and when he swims I like to give him a bath, it is so much easier and cleaner to bathe him in the lake. I also bring extra towels to use on Oakey after his bath, for his drooling mouth, and any other dog mishaps he happens to have.

Don’t forget your pet’s toys or else they will find their own in the woods and you wouldn’t approve of or might not be safe. I also bring any medication or vitamins my pet might be taking. I do not want to disrupt the routine or break the cycle of the prescription. It is a must if you are traveling any type of distance with your pet to stop for them to exercise, potty, and get a drink.

Traveling with your pet can be difficult if your pet is not acclimated to car rides, but if they are it can be pleasurable. Everyone is excited to get to the camp spot, soak up the wilderness, and have fun with all who came camping including your furry friend. We had the most fun when we took six dogs camping on a lake and the dogs took turns riding on three-man tube behind the boat. I hope you have as much fun with your pet as we did.