Tips For Camping With Pets

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, camping during the springtime can be a perfect weekend getaway.

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

However, if you don’t want to leave your four-legged friends behind while setting out on your adventure, try bringing them along.

“Many campgrounds allow pets, with certain rules and regulations,” said Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, in a public service announcement.

Often, the rules regarding pets can be seen posted on their website, and if not, questions can be easily answered over the phone. However, it is not advised that you show up with your pet without prior research and consent. Always call the campground ahead to verify they allow your dog type or breed.

“Most rules will include things such as having your pet on a leash, making sure they are supervised at all times, and requiring proof of vaccinations,” Stickney said.

“Even if they don’t require health records or vaccination certificates, it’s a good idea to bring them along just in case.”

Just as you need to pack food and other essentials for yourself, don’t forget to pack necessities for your pets as well.

Some items you’ll need to bring are plenty of food, a pet first-aid kit, a harness, and a leash. Even if the campsite has natural water resources, such as streams or lakes, you must still bring plenty of water for your pet to drink throughout your stay.

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Your pets will want to drink out of any pond and lake in sight, but there are many different diseases they can catch by doing that,” Stickney said.

“So you don’t want that to be their primary source of water.”

Coming into contact with wild animals is a definite risk when you are out in a national forest or grassland. Although most of the wildlife you run into wants to keep away from you as well, you should have a way of containing your pet just in case.

“If your pet does get into a tussle with a wild animal, you do not want to get into the middle of it,” Stickney said.

“There is a very good chance you will be bitten or harmed.”

Your best method of action is calling off your pet or to try scaring away the wild animal.

In order to prevent such situations in the first place, it is a good idea to keep your pets close to you throughout your camping expedition and to have a leash or harness available at all times.

Before setting off on your camping adventure, make sure your pets are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations, especially rabies.

Depending on the campsite’s location, you may consult with your veterinarian about any other vaccinations that your pet may need, as well as discuss appropriate flea and tick control.

To make camping with your pet an exciting experience for the both of you, be sure to research the campsite ahead of time, take note of any restrictions or regulations, and bring the essentials along with you.

Expect the unexpected is a motto that campers and pet owners both understand well. Taking the time to pack extra leashes and collars, for instance, means that you don’t have to take time away from your camping adventure to purchase new ones.

Put an updated picture of your dog with your vet/rabies shot records. What would you do if your dog went missing?

Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tips For Camping With Pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since you’ve chosen to take your dog camping, you’ll want to plan your outdoors activities to include them. At home you might be able to leave your dog in the backyard or in the house, but that’s not as easy when you’re camping.

Search for dog friendly adventures around your campground, so you can take Fido with you.

Following these guidelines and suggestions will guarantee a good time for everyone.

Worth Pondering…

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.
―Robert Benchley

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RV Travel Tips for Pet Owners

Attention pet lovers: recreational vehicles and pets are a perfect match.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traveling in an RV gives you the ability to bring your family pet along for the fun. With the company of your animal companion and without the anxiety of boarding your pet or asking a neighbor or friend to pet-sit, you can enjoy your camping trip with the entire family.

More and more RVers are traveling with their pets and finding it makes RVing even more enjoyable. Recreational vehicles and pets are, in most cases, a good mix. If your pets enjoy riding with you in the car, they’ll also enjoy traveling in the RV.

According the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), more than 50 percent of RV travelers bring pets on their travels. Among these pet owners, 78 percent bring dogs, 15 percent travel with cats, and the remaining pet owners travel with birds or other small pets.

The RV industry’s suppliers and manufacturers have made an effort to accommodate mobile pets, from collapsible pet window cages to special tie-downs for dogs built into RVs.
More and more campgrounds and RV parks now welcome pets and an increasing number are becoming pet friendly.

Plan your trip with pet-friendly destinations in mind. Contact the campground ahead of time to determine their policies on pets and then plan accordingly. If your lifestyle or your pet’s lifestyle cannot adapt, find a different campground or change your destination. Only as a last resort, reconsider taking your pet.

Bring copies of vaccination records with you, as you never know when you might need them.

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ensure your pet is properly identified. Also, obtain identification with the address of your destination.

Carry a photo of your pet. You’ll be glad you did if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of making, photocopying, and posting “lost pet” notices.

Bring along your pet’s bed and favorite toys so it will feel comfortable and at home on the road. If traveling with a feline friend, think through the cat-box arrangement. Having extra litter, a covered litter box, plastic bags for disposal, scoop, and baking soda to cover the bottom of the box will keep mess and odor to a minimum.

Your dog feels as cramped as you do after hours of traveling. It’s important that you walk your canine pet when you take rest stops. If your pet is a cat, walks aren’t an issue, but plenty of stretching room is.

Upon registration request a site away from other campers, shady if it’s hot, sunny if it’s cool. Check about leash rules, dog-walk areas, “poop-scooping” policies, and local dog parks.

Once you make camp, abide by the camp’s pet policies. No-spill food and water bowls make the experience even easier. Keep water within reach and keep any possible entanglements out of the way.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never let your pet wander. Portable enclosed pens will enable your pets to enjoy the outside with you. Always clean up after your pet. Be a quiet and considerate neighbor—nothing ruins a camping experience for others like a constantly barking dog.

In selecting its list of Top Pet-Friendly RV Parks for 2014, Good Sam chose RV parks and campgrounds that feature amenities, special services, and events tailored to owners of pets.  These parks offer facilities ranging from dog runs to pet washing areas, and some hand out free treats and toys to canines upon check-in.

A number RV parks feature fenced-in dog runs on their property—a boon to travelers seeking a place to give their furry passengers a place to run after idle travel time. Also offered in some parks are trails for pet walking.

Among the most luxurious pet amenities are fenced-in dog wash stations, with stainless-steel sinks, soap, and warm water available to wash pets.

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A favorite with Winter Texans, Bentsen Palm Village has 5.5 miles of onsite hiking and biking trails as well as numerous organized activities and workshops, from couples dancing to gourd painting, and Swedish blanket making to water color painting.

Pet friendly amenities include dog agility course and pet parade. The dog park became so popular that the owners recently added a second park so that guests could have separate running and play areas for big dogs and small dogs.

Happy camping to you and your four-footed friends. Most of all, have fun with your pet! After all, it’s a ruff life being a dog!

Worth Pondering…

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.

—M. Facklam

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New England Campgrounds That Love Dogs

Campgrounds in New England that love dogs provide amenities that go above and beyond to ensure you and your four-legged friends are comfortable throughout your camping experience.

Dog park in Normandy Farms Campground, Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Source: USA Today)
Dog park in Normandy Farms Campground, Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Source: USA Today)

Campgrounds that offer leash-free areas larger than a postage stamp, tools that help make cleaning up after your pet a breeze, and an inclusive policy that rejects banning dogs based on breed type demonstrate truly dog-loving campgrounds along the East Coast, according to a USA Today report.

Campers need to do their part as well by following campsite rules with regard to leash policies, cleanup, and supervision.

USA Today recommends that dog owners use the following four steps when camping with their pets.

Step 1

Look for campgrounds that provide leash-free, fenced zones as well as areas to explore with your leashed pet.

Bay View Campgrounds on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, provides a leash-free, fenced dog park away from most of the campsites to prevent disturbing other campers.

Some campgrounds offer doggy day camp, too, such as KOA Chocorua in Tamworth, New Hampshire, which offers a 15,000-square-foot dog park equipped with AKC agility equipment and kennels to board your dog should you need doggy daycare. If your destination provides this service, be sure to check the rules regarding supervised play and vaccinations.

Step 2

Camping with pets (Source: redwoodgoodsam.org)
Camping with pets (Source: redwoodgoodsam.org)

Use your own pet waste pickup bags unless the campground offers pet waste bag stations equipped with eco-friendly bags and trashcans for easy cleanup. Truly dog-loving campsites ensure that designated “potty areas” for dogs are set away from campsites and are well-maintained.

Many campsites in New England have clean up stations and designated dog areas, but Scenic View Campground in Warren, New Hampshire, provides free cleanup bags if you run out.

Step 3

Record the campground contact information ahead of your visit to have on hand should a problem arise with another camper’s dog, suggests USA Today. Pet-friendly campgrounds will provide contact information should you need to report dog aggression or another incident that violates campsite rules.

In addition, a reputable campground will require pet owners to provide current vaccination records. At Ross Hill Park in Lisbon, Connecticut, for example, a rabies certificate must be presented at the time of check-in, and the campsite forbids visitors from bringing in their dog. A policy like this helps prevents canine disease from spreading by ensuring that the dogs that are allowed into the park are properly vaccinated.

Step 4

Camping with pets (Source: camping-essentials.org)
Camping with pets (Source: camping-essentials.org)

Check the campground policy regarding breed restrictions. If certain breeds are restricted from visiting the campsite, consider choosing a different location to stake your tent or park your recreational vehicle.

Breed discrimination policies often exclude well behaved, socialized dogs while overlooking more comprehensive language that helps ensure the safety of you and your pets. Often a campground in New England that loves dogs include specific behavior that is not acceptable, such as excessive barking, jumping on other guests, or any outwardly aggressive behavior toward other people and pets.

Worth Pondering…

I am part of all that I have met

Yet all experience is an arch wherethro

Gleams that untravell’d world, whose margin fades

Forever and forever when I move.

—Alfred Lord Tennyson

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