Camping Travel Tips for Pet Owners

Whether you’ll be camping with your pet for the first time or just need a reminder, this article may provide some helpful hints for you

Planning to take your pet camping with you this summer?

Then you are in good company.

Traveling with your pet © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More and more campers and RVers are traveling with their pets and finding it makes camping even more enjoyable. Camping and pets are, in most cases, a good mix.

According to 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.

Pet parade in an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

And in the travel industry at large, more and more families are traveling with their pets and experts say pet travel is fast becoming a multi-billion dollar industry due to the popular trend.

Traveling with your pet can be rewarding for you and your family’s pet but the key to a successful camping trip or any mode of vacation travel is advanced planning and preparation, common sense, and sometimes a dose of creativity. Only friendly, non-aggressive dogs should be brought to campgrounds.

A cat on a mission in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The most important thing to remember before making plans is to make sure your pet is healthy enough to travel. A pre-vacation check-up with your veterinarian is just what the doctor ordered to make sure Fido or Fluffy is up to snuff and ready to hit the road. Make sure your pet is up to date on all shots and bring copies of vaccination records with you, as you never know when you might need them.

Some RV parks offer dog-washing stations © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When packing for pets, it’s important to remember food and water dishes, an extra collar and leash, licenses, medicines or supplements, brushes, tie-outs, shampoo, and something familiar from home like a toy or blanket. If a dog is comfortable sleeping in a crate at home, that should be brought along too. Consider giving your pet bottled water for continued consistency.

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.

Pet parade in an RV park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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, a 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. You must 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.

Pet-washing station at Tucson/Lazydays KOA © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

When registering at a campground or RV park check the location of the nearest veterinary doctor or clinic and how to get there. After settling into a camp or RV site with pets, it is important to be a responsible camper and pet owner. This includes cleaning up after pets, keeping them leashed, and making sure they stay out of prohibited areas.

Looking for your pet cat? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The most important thing to remember is they are your pets and you must make some changes to your RVing lifestyle to ensure their comfort. They may have an accident in the RV and you need to accept that. They may require medical attention that could extend a stay when you are traveling. You need to be flexible in your plans to accommodate pets when you decide to bring them along on your travels and camping trips.

If you plan and are prepared, camping can be a rewarding, memorable experience for both owners and pets.

Worth Pondering…

A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.

―Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes