I’m always amazed at the variety and number of pets I see at campgrounds around the country. It’s not at all unusual to see 2, 3, or more dogs pile out of any size rig these days. It’s obvious that today’s camping vacations are not complete without Fido, Fluffy or Tweety. I’ve even seen ferrets, geckos, and yes, snakes!! Let’s face it, your pet – four legged or a belly crawler - is a member of the family and likely loves to camp as much as you do. Most private RV parks and campgrounds welcome your pet; however, some parks may restrict certain breeds and/or sizes of dogs or set a maximum number of pets allowed per campsite. Many state and national parks do not allow pets. It’s always a good idea to call ahead to make sure your non-human family member (however human they may seem) will be a welcome guest.
A recent campground amenity you’ll find in many private RV parks is a pet run. Sometimes this is a fenced area, other times it’s a big open space. The idea behind the pet run is to allow your animal to run leash-free (if fenced) and play with you or other pets in the run. Again, check the campground’s website or inquire via telephone or email if this is of interest to you.
It’s crucial that you follow the pet rules set by the campground. I hate it when 1 or 2 careless people spoil it for everyone else. Walk you pet in the designated pet area only, pick up after them, don’t leave them barking their little heads off inside the rig while you enjoy a day out, and be courteous to your fellow campers.
In order to make your trip pleasant for everyone, consider these easy, useful ideas and tips. Print this checklist out and keep it with your camping and RVing gear so you never miss a beat.
_____ Before leaving make sure your pet’s medical needs (shots, medication, etc.) are up to date
_____ Carry your pet’s health certificate with you just in case it’s needed
_____ Make sure your pet has up to date ID tags – consider temporary tags indicating the name and phone number of where you’re camping
_____ Bring baggies for scooping (a must!!) and use the designated pet walk if provided
_____ Bring tick/flea collars or other repellants to combat unwanted “hitchhikers”
_____ Pack your pet’s bag with his/her old familiars - blanket, favorite toy(s), food and water bowls and favorite snacks
_____ Bring along a pet carrier, pet tent or other type of outdoor pet shelter
_____ Take frequent breaks while traveling to stretch, exercise, and walk your pet
_____ Don’t forget the leash (usually required) for getting out and about
_____ Never leave your pet in a hot, non-ventilated vehicle – a car or RV – it takes only minutes for the heat to overcome your pet
_____ Once you’ve arrived please be courteous to your human neighbors (and away from pesky and dangerous critters such as skunks, porcupines, etc.) - keep your pet leashed and well behaved
_____ Be aware of your pet’s fitness level and avoid pushing them beyond their abilities
_____ Don’t leave pet food outside or chances are you’ll have some uninvited “pets”
_____ Never let your pet spend the night outside - one never knows what hungry predators lurk
_____ Physically check your pet daily for anything unusual – limping, excessive scratching, biting of any body part, loss of appetite, excessive water consumption, etc.
With a bit of planning, a well deserved camping vacation can make memories that last a lifetime - a great time had by all!!