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Attention, Happy Campers! Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Camping With Dogs and Other Pets

Nothing beats an evening sitting around a campfire followed by sleeping under the stars. That is, unless, you improve on the experience by bringing your pet on your next camping adventure. Just picture it: You and your furry friend exploring nature trails by day and warming your hands and paws by the fire by night, snacking on s’mores (for you) and yummy treats (for them). Camping with dogs, cats and other pets can elevate your experience of nature as you learn to see the wilderness through their eyes—and if your pet is the outdoorsy type, they’ll thrive among the tall trees and fresh air.

But before you set out for your nearest pet-friendly campground, it’s important to remember the scouts’ motto: Be prepared. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-timer, read on to learn about the gear you’ll need to camp with your dog or cat, as well as safety tips for both you and your favorite furry camping buddy.

Should My Pet Go Camping?

Before packing up your car or RV, first consider your pet’s personality and comfort level. Not all pets will enjoy camping—and if they aren’t having fun, you won’t be either. When you’re camping with pets, you’re taking them to a new, unfamiliar environment—which anxious, nervous or territorial pets might find stressful, says Anita Hurley, CTC, CBCC-KA, supervisor of animal training and behavior at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Boulder, Colorado.

If you have access to a backyard, Hurley suggests doing a trial camping session. That’s right—spend the night under the stars with your pet in your own backyard before taking the show on the road. If your pet shows signs of stress in that environment, they likely won’t respond well in an environment that’s even less familiar, Hurley says. Other factors to consider include if your dog is sound sensitive to things like thunderstorms or sudden loud noises or is generally anxious or a flight risk, she adds.

Additionally, your pet will need to be well-behaved and obedient on leash and happy around other campers—human and animal alike. “If your dog is a little nervous, keep them with you at all times and manage their access to others on a hand-held leash,” Hurley says.

If you determine that your pet isn’t quite up for the adventure, that’s OK too. Hurley, who has planned many dog-centric outdoor adventures, says you need to be willing to adjust your plans to fit your dog’s capabilities. “In some cases, it may be safer and less stressful for the dog and humans to have plans for pet sitting options at home or at a familiar boarding facility,” she says.

Find more information about taking your pets camping here.


October 29, 2023

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Be Chewy

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