Pet Hiking and Camping Safety - Women hiking with dog


Camping can be such a fun activity for families and their beloved pets. Many dogs and some cats enjoy traveling and exploring the outdoors with their families, especially in the summer months. Here are ten helpful tips to help make your next adventure into the great outdoors with your pet a success.


1. Know before you go

Before you depart, research the campground or area that you 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 affecting your pet’s visit.


2. Check your pet’s vaccination records

Make sure your pet’s vaccines are up to date. Most of your pet’s vaccines are to protect them from diseases however a current rabies vaccine is a legal requirement for your pet’s safety and yours. Check with your family veterinarian for any other vaccines that may be recommended based on the area that you’re planning to visit. For example, Leptospirosis (a bacterial disease spread through the urine of infected animals) and Lyme (a tick-borne illness) vaccines are not given routinely by all veterinarians to all dogs, although protection for these diseases may be a good idea when visiting certain areas such as forests or campgrounds.


3. Bring medicines, and medical records, and proof of vaccinations

If your pet is taking any medications, be sure to bring enough for your trip and maybe a few extras in case some become damaged or lost. If your pet has any chronic medical conditions, you may also 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 in the event your pet requires emergency care. Proof of vaccinations may also be required by the campground or area you’re visiting.


4. Follow their mealtime routine

Changes in diet can cause some pets to have gastrointestinal symptoms. For this reason, it’s best to feed them the food they’re accustomed to. This will help you know any diarrhea or stomach upset is not from a new kind of diet. Plan to bring enough food and water for your pet’s entire trip and don’t forget to pack bowls.


5. Watch what your pet drinks

Don’t assume the river, lake, or standing water is safe for your pet to drink. There are certain intestinal parasites, for instance, giardia (an intestinal infection caused by a parasite) and cryptosporidium (a microscopic parasite that causes a diarrheal disease), that your pet can get from drinking water in the wilderness.


Pet Hiking and Camping Safety - Dog drinking clean water


6. Keep your pet protected from fleas and ticks

Make sure you are using year-round flea and tick control on your pets. There are many diseases carried by these blood-sucking parasites and your pet may encounter more of them out in the great outdoors.


7. Pack your first-aid kit

Don’t forget to bring your pet’s first-aid kit. Make sure this first-aid kit includes betadine solution to clean and disinfect wounds, hydrogen peroxide, topical antibiotic ointment, basic bandaging materials like gauze squares, medical tape, gauze rolls, and sterile eye wash.


8. Bring your cat’s litter box and extra litter

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.


9. Keep your pet under control

Make sure your dog stays on a leash. Your dog could encounter some unpleasant wildlife or disturb another camper.  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 extremely difficult, if not impossible, to catch in the wilderness.


10. Enjoy the adventure

Don’t forget to take lots of fun photos with your pet and enjoy the quality time together out in nature.


With these simple precautions, your pets can enjoy the outdoors as much as you!

Read more about how to make a first aid kit for your pet and additional tips to keep your pet safe all year round.


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