Have you been thinking of taking your dog with you when you camp? You would think that it’s a no brainer, pack up your pup and some food, and BAM!
First things first, VACCINATIONS: I cannot be the only one that sometimes puts off the shots because I am just so busy, then all of a sudden 6 months go by…? *shrug* Sometimes I’m a bad mom. Anyway, you will want to make sure they are all up to date, you have no idea what you will run into away from home. Keep your pets, and others, safe and healthy. Be sure to keep a copy of those records with you on your travels, just in case.
MICROCHIP YOUR PUP:…or cat…or rat…I’m not judging. Gods forbid they run off chasing a squirrel and get lost, but it’s always a good idea to make sure all your information is correct. If you haven’t microchipped your pet yet, it’s fairly cheap, costing around $40-50. That usually includes the first year of registration as well. You can find more information about microchipping here.
FOOD & WATER: I know, you are probably rolling your eyes at this one, but it’s just a reminder! You will also want to think about how much food to bring. Will your pet be lounging most the day? Or will they be walking and hiking a lot? The amount of activity can change how many calories they need. Also, be mindful of their schedule, if they have one. You may want to have a relaxed vacay and sleep in, but Fido wants his breakfast NOW.
TIE OUTS, LEASHES, AND COLLARS: Most campsites and parks will have a rule about always having your animal or small child leashed or on a tie out while there…..ok ok, probably not your small child, but it’s a good thought, you don’t want them running off either…
BEDS, BLANKETS, AND COMFORTS: Even if your dogs will sleep with you, they will most likely be lounging during the day/night while you cook or sit around the campfire. I’ve never really tried it, but I am sure the ground isn’t the most comfortable places to spend some time, especially campgrounds. Rocks, sticks, garbage from the last camper who didn’t know how to pick up… I can’t remember where they found the elevated canopy bed, but Amazon has some nice ones here, or if you like the thought of your pup in it’s own little tent, check this one out. They give pets a shaded, cooler area all to themselves.
Another comfort: Medications. Don’t forget anything your animal takes on a regular basis. You might want to make sure the animal is good in the car. Do they get sort of anxious, maybe car sick? Do they have patches for that?
Comforts in dogs can vary. Manolo’s comforts are jerky treats and a nice padded bed. Maybe yours would be their favorite toy or bone, you want them to be as happy as possible. Seriously, Manolo is petty, and when she is not happy, something gets peed on….
PROTECTION: No, this isn’t what you think it is…or maybe it really is and I am the one with a dirty mind. *shrug* You want to protect pets from pests (say that ten times fast); fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. Make sure they are up to date on their prevention medication. No need for bug spray, most flea/tick products are formulated to repel mosquitos.
One form of protection you don’t normally think of is sunscreen. I know what you are thinking, that you can just use your own. NO! No, bad owner. No cookie. Human sunscreen contains Zinc Oxide, which is toxic to dogs. So get doggy friendly sunscreen and protect their widdle nose and ears. We don’t want to forget about paws that can burn on hot concrete or get cuts and scrapes on trails! You can get wax, or get them little socks so they can jump around. That’s always good for a giggle.
WATER FUN: Do you plan on doing water activities? Some people skip this completely, but I think they are just too cute to pass up! Life Vests! Most dogs are excellent swimmers…some just like to lay in the water like Izzy. And if you have a water pup, be sure to bring extra towels. Maybe even their shampoo and brush so you can get the lake smell out of their fur before cuddle time.
WASTE BAGS: Please pick up after your pets.
And finally, PET FRIENDLY: Make sure where you are going will accept your 4 legged kid. Most campsites and National Parks are, but it’s always good to check beforehand. The National Park Foundation gives you a list of which parks your pet can explore with you. There can be some restrictions, though, so do your homework.
Did I miss anything? Probably, but it’s a good start. I am sure little Fido beside you will appreciate this list sometime in the future. You’re welcome. Now pat that good boy on the head and give him extra treats for me!
If you can think of anything else I should add to the list, let me know!