With the Independence Day holiday less than a week away, summer has officially arrived.  Along with summer, the camping season is in “full swing”…a time to pack up the family (including your “fur babies”) and head out into the great wild yonder.

No one enjoys camping more than our pets…therefore  it is wise to take extra preparations when planning your next camping trip with them. Here are some tips you can use to make your pet’s next camping outing a healthy and safe.

Before You Leave…

There are a number of precautions and preparations which should be taken in the days leading up to your camping trip.

1. Get  a “Pre-Camping Physical”

Dog and Pet Physical Exam from a Veterinarian Certain pets (due to age, ailments, and certain conditions) are simply not fit for camping.   Having a discussion about your pet’s physical/behavioral condition with a veterinarian can offer a great deal of insight regarding whether or not it will be wise to take them camping. While visiting the veterinarian, check to ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.  Whether your camping takes place in secluded wilderness or whether it is at a local camping facility, missing vaccines can pose a danger to your pet and to other people and pets they come in contact with.

2. Bring a Pet First-Aid Kit While it is always calming to escape the “hustle and bustle” of urban life, getting away from populated areas also means being further away from medical services.  In case of emergency, it is always wise to bring along a “Pet First-Aid Kit” which should minimally contain the following… - Antiseptic - Bandages - Tweezers - Eye Drops - Gauze - Tape - Poison Absorbing First Aid Gel for Pets

3. Ensure that Travel Tags Are Up to Date

Cat wearing brand new travel tagsOver time, your pet’s travel tags can get worn out and hard to read…therefore it is a great idea to be sure that they are up-to-date and clearly legible.  These tags should have your pet's name as well as your name, address, and phone number.  Some people prefer to put their mobile phone number on the pet's tag so that they can be reached immediately (as long as they can get reception in their location).


While On the Road…

4. Restrain Your Pet Did you know that an unsecured 25 pound dog in a 40 mile-per-hour crash carries the velocity of a half-ton mass, out of control within the vehicle?  This poses a danger to both the pet (obviously) and the other occupants of the vehicle.  This risk can be eliminated with the use of a seatbelt, travel crate, or pet barrier.  For your pet’s sake, it is also wise to not allow them to put their head outside the window.

5. Don’t Leave Your Pet Alone in your Vehicle Camping season temperatures can approach dangerous levels (over 160 degrees on a 90 degree day) in a hurry.  This can cause your pet heatstroke or perhaps even death.  Do not ever leave a pet alone in your vehicle under any circumstance during months of extreme temperature (including winter).

While Camping…

6. Bring Plenty of Food and Water Water and food are essential to survival…therefore, it is not a bad idea to bring more than you think you’ll need.  It’s also a good idea to serve these items in the bowls and containers that your pet is familiar with...the familiarities of home will make them a bit more comfortable when camping.

7. Allow Your Pet Time to become Comfortable Pets (like most humans) will become anxious when they are in a place that they are not familiar with.  Take the time to introduce your pet to their new surroundings and to become comfortable with them prior to leaving them on their own.  They will adjust much more quickly if you are near. In the case that your pet gets extremely anxious, there are several calming products on the market including PetsPrefer's "Calming Formula for Dogs", or Azmira's "Herbal Calm", "Calm & Relax", "L-Tryptopet", or "Zoomin Catnip".

8. Clean Up after your Pet

You're in Bear Country...throw your trash here.Uneaten food can attract bears...this is not good for you, your pet, or the bears for that matter.  Bears have keen noses and can smell pet food that has been left sitting out from a very long distance.  Therefore it is wise to either secure remaining/leftover pet food or to dispose of it, particularly at night. Poop, another type of waste, will attract a much smaller pest...insects.  Be sure to pick up your pet's droppings and dispose of them properly.  Are you the type of person that thinks taking poop bags with you isn't cool?  Well check out the "Port-A-Poo"...now you can be smart AND fashionable. Bears and insects can both make a camping trip significantly less enjoyable…do your best to eliminate both by disposing of waste properly.



9. Respect the Campers Around You

An increasing number of parks and campgrounds are becoming “pet friendly”…but this doesn’t mean you can let your pet run wild.  Here are a few guidelines to follow that will ensure that your pet and your “neighbors for the weekend” stay happy and safe…

- Maintain complete control of your pet at all times.

- Be sure that your pet is not excessively noisy.

- Supervise your pet if it is within reach of passers-by.

- Always pick up after your pet.