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Tips for Camping With Your Pet

Planning on a camping trip and bringing the family pet?    Well it is just as important to plan what you take for you pet on a camping trip as it is to plan for yourself.  Here are a few tips to help keep your pet safe and comfortable on the camping trip.
Essential Items
Food and Water

Remember that the change in environment, travel and excitement can over-stimulate your animal so you must counter these changes by trying to keep everything else as stable as possible.
  • Dog Food: Keep feeding your dog their regular food while traveling.  The last thing that you need is a sick animal while on vacation.
  • Bottled Water: Water quality varies in different parts of the country so in order to prevent illness give your animals bottled water at all times.
  • Treats: Be sure to include your pets treats.  Again do not change the variety -- keep to what you know works.
  • Bowl or Dish:  Be sure you have something to put you pet's water/food in.  They do sell travel bowls in pet stores if you want to save space.


  • Dog Bed:  Be sure to bring a bed for your animal it will help them to feel secure in the strange environment.
  • Crate:  If you use a crate for your dog then fold it up and take it along.  This is part of your dog's routine and you want to keep change at a minimum.
  • Toys:  Purchase some new toys for the trip just as you would do with your child.  This will  help to keep your animal occupied during the trip.  If they have a favorite old toy make sure you take that along as well.  Also, consider you will be outside so maybe include a Frisbee or ball so that you can play fetch.
  • Medication: If your animal takes any kind of medication always take it with you on the trip and make sure that you have extra.  You should never assume that you will be able to get it on the road.  Since you will be spending a great deal of time outdoors make sure you your animals are up-to date with shots and with their flee and tick treatment.
  • Coat or Sweater:  Depending on the season you may need to bring you dog's coat or sweater especially if you own a small dog.   Remember at night it could get cold.
  • Bags/Litter Box:  Remember to bring along you cat's litter box and extra bags to clean up after your dog.


  • Leashes: Always have your dog on a leash while traveling.  Put the leash on the dog before you even open the car door.  You do not want the dog to get excited or spooked and run out, this could result in injury, death or a lost dog.  Make sure you have you normal leash for walks and a extra long one as well so that the dog can be secure outdoors but still have room to investigate surroundings.  Never leave you dog unsupervised outdoors, you never know what kind of wild animals could be lurking in the bushes.
  • Name Tags:  Be sure that your animal has an identification tag with contact information.  You should have one made special for the trip that has your CELL phone number or trip contact number.  Remember if you animal gets lost you do not want them calling your house when you are on the road.  These can be purchased at Petco or Pet Smart.
  • Photo of Animal:  Remember that failing to plan is planning to fail.  Have a recent color photo with you so that if you animal gets lost you can quickly go to a photo copy center and make flyers to post.
  • Phone Numbers:  Be sure to carry the phone number of your Vetenarian so that you can quickly reach them if necessary.

Getting to the Campsite

While traveling in the car with your pet it is a good idea to use a seat belt.  It simply attaches to the harness or the kennel.  If your dog gets car sick talk to your veterinarian there are drugs available that will help.    Remember never leave you animal in the car in the warm weather even if you open the windows.  Always have water available in the car.  Remember bags to pick up after you dog.
Be sure to check that once you arrive at you destination your furry friend will be able to enjoy the visit.  Beaches and parks are a top spot for excursions with dogs however most do not allow free reign.  In fact, many resort towns have ordinances against dogs on the beach.  You can find some in North Carolina that allow animals on the beach.  Many national parks have designated areas for pets in the parking lot or at campgrounds.  So be sure to do your homework before going on your adventure.  You can purchase a directory called Traveling with your Pet, created by AAA, that will give a detailed list of pet friendly hotels and campgrounds.  In addition, it will include the policies for each.