Camping With Pets

Brandi M. Seals

Traveling with pets may seem like a daunting task, but it really is not if a few simple precautions are taken along the way.

The first step in having a happy camping experience for both you and Fido is to make sure the animal is in good health. Is your pet up on all of his shots and vaccinations? Does he have any wounds that would heal better if they didn't get dirty on a camping trip? Starting with a healthy animal is a huge step towards having a great experience.

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The next thing you will want to do is prepare just in case your pet gets away from you. In addition to wearing his regular identification tags, any traveling animal should be wearing a temporary ID tag which gives the address you will be at while away from home. You may also wish to carry a current picture of your pet in case he is lost so that you can show it around or make flyers.

When packing for the camping trip you will need to anticipate your pet's needs. That means packing plenty of food and water for the car ride as well as the time spent camping. Water may not be suitable for drinking at campgrounds or at rest areas along the way, so be sure to bring along a jug of water for your pet. Food is also vital for your pet. Dry food travels better, but if your pet simply refuses to eat anything but wet food, by all means bring it along. Any open wet food that doesn't get eaten will need to be tossed if it cannot be refrigerated. Also, don't forget the can opener.

While in the car be sure your pet is safely restrained in a crate or a safety harness. This will prevent unnecessary distractions for the driver. It will also keep their heads from hanging out the window which can be dangerous due to flying debris. Never leave your pet alone in a parked vehicle. Even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside can reach staggering numbers. The same goes for trailers.

While at the campground, why not set up a tent just for your pet. They can work better than a cage. Pack the tent with toys and blankets so the animal can be comfortable then rig his leash near the door so that he can come and go as he pleases and avoid any visitors he wishes.

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Always be sure to clean up after your pets. Skip the pooper scooper and carry along plastic baggies for picking up. You can toss them after each use.

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