It wouldn’t be a family camping trip without the whole family, four-legged members included. While you’re out roving with rover, be sure that everything goes smoothly and everyone is safe and happy by preparing ahead of time.
Whether this is your first time traveling with your dog or you’re an experienced canine camper, these tips will help you have a great trip.
When Visiting a Campground With Your Dog, Call Ahead
Not all campgrounds are dog friendly.
Even campgrounds that allow companion animals often have leash rules or restrictions, so be sure to check ahead of time so that you can comply with their requirements.
Regardless of the leash rules, though, keep your dog with you the entire time you’re at your campsite.
Even a well-trained dog might behave differently in a new place with lots of distractions and strange people. If you’re wise, you’ll take your dog for a quick test trip at a park, local campground, or other similar place that your pet hasn’t visited before.
Dogs that aren’t rock solid with voice commands should be kept on a leash or in a portable crate or pen while you’re camping around other people.
For safety reasons (and out of respect for other campers) your dog should never ever ever be allowed to roam around the campground visiting other campers. Watch your dog as closely as you’d watch your toddler around strangers and open fires.
Keep in mind that not all dogs are campsite dogs.
If your pet’s personality isn’t well suited for camping, or if you’ve still got some work to do in obedience training, it’s best to get a pet sitter while you’re traveling.
Pack Your Pup’s Essentials
In addition to the leash and collapsible travel crate or pen mentioned above, here’s a quick checklist of things you should plan on bringing along.
- Your dog’s food
- Portable food and water bowls
- Treats and toys
- A copy of your dog’s vaccination records
- Waste bags
- Current ID tags
- Any medications your dog needs regularly
Don’t let your dog drink from standing water, as it can contain harmful microbes and parasites – provide fresh water instead.
Before you leave, be sure that your microchip information is correct, your dog’s tags have accurate information, and all vaccines are up to date. If you’re crossing state lines, bringing those vaccination records is especially important.
Make a Doggie First Aid Kit
In addition to the routine stuff you’ll need, put together a first aid kit in case of canine emergency.
A doggie first aid kit is simple to assemble.
- An emergency blanket
- A bandana (that can be used as a temporary muzzle)
- Tweezers and mineral oil (to remove ticks)
- Needle nose pliers (to extract thorns or quills)
- Booties to cover hurt paws
- A booklet with pet first aid instructions
Most of the things on this list are probably already around your house. For the booties, you can use a couple pairs of toddler socks if you’d like.
It’s wise to brush up on your dog’s ‘come here’ and ‘leave it’ commands, and train around tempting distractions to be sure you can trust your pet’s responses. With open fires, potentially dangerous wildlife, and strangers around, these two commands are vital to keep everyone safe.
Be Happy Campers
On the road and at your campsites, practice good dog owner etiquette.
Always pick up after your dog, and keep your four-legged friends with you at all times.
If your dog barks frequently, either correct the problem that’s causing him to bark or leave him at home with a pet sitter. Nobody likes a noisy animal when they’re trying to catch some sleep or enjoy quiet time away from everyday stressors.
Determining campsite canine etiquette is pretty simple – just do unto others as you would have done unto you, and remember that not everybody enjoys dogs.
RVing with your dog is a responsibility, but also a rewarding experience.
Go out there and make some memories.