Camping is an increasingly popular activity for families and their pets. Many dogs and some cats enjoy traveling with their families. Here are a few tips to help make your pet's adventure into the great outdoors a success.
Research the campground or area that you are planning on visiting. Not all campgrounds accept pets and many wilderness areas have leash laws for dogs. It would be better to find out ahead of time if your destination has any restrictions on visiting pets.
Make sure that your pet's vaccines are up to date. Most of your pet's vaccines are to protect him from diseases but a current rabies vaccine is a legal requirement for your pet's safety and yours. Check with your veterinarian for any other vaccines that may be recommended based on the area that you are planning on visiting. For example, Leptospirosis and Lyme vaccines are not given routinely by all veterinarians to all dogs, but protection for these diseases may be a good idea when visiting certain areas. You should carry proof of your pet's vaccinations.
If your pet is on any medications, be sure to bring enough for your trip and maybe a few extra in case some become damaged or lost. If your pet has any chronic medical conditions you might want to bring copies of his medical records. This will help any veterinarian make quicker and more appropriate decisions regarding your pet's medical care.
Plan to bring enough food and water for your pet's entire trip. Changes in diet can cause some pets to have gastrointestinal symptoms. This way you will know that any diarrhea or stomach upset that occurs will not be from a new kind of diet. Don't assume that river, lake or standing water is safe for your pet to drink. There are certain intestinal parasites, for instance, giardia and cryptosporidium, that your pet can get from drinking water in the wilderness.
Make sure that you are using year round flea and tick control on your pets. There are many diseases that are carried by these blood sucking parasites and your pet may encounter more of them out in the great outdoors.
Though not as common as dogs, cats are also joining their families camping. Remember to bring a litter box with your cat's favorite type of litter. Some cats are very particular about their litter and a tent or RV would be unpleasant if your cat decided to find an alternative place for his bathroom. Keep your cat in a carrier when traveling and then always have him on a harness and leash when taking him outside. A frightened cat would be impossible to catch in the wilderness.
With some precautions, your pets can enjoy the outdoors as much as you do!