Helpful Tips For Camping With Your Pet

It does not take long for a pet to become part of the family, so it is only right that they would be included on a family camping trip. From hiking in the woods to swimming in a lake, everything can be more fun with a favorite furry friend along. Before going camping with your pet, be sure to consider these tips which will help make the trip fun and safe for everyone.

First, consider the following questions:

–Does your campground allow pets?
–How will your pet react to other campers or animals?
–What will you do if your pet is injured while camping?

Then, evaluate your pet’s personality. Some animals handle the outdoors better than others. Make sure your pet is up to the challenge of spending extended periods of time in the woods. Also, consider your pet’s behavior patterns. Dogs that are aggressive toward strangers or other animals will need to stay on a leash and have limited exposure to other campers. Overly friendly dogs will need to be monitored closely to make sure they don’t wander off or encounter dangerous wildlife.

Also, make sure you get your ID tags in order. Your pet’s age and general health will also determine his camping suitability. Before you go, make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and is healthy enough to handle an increase in activity. An ID tag with a current phone number is also important in case your pet wanders off. For extra safety, attaching a flashing LED light to your pet’s collar can help you keep tabs on him.

And of course do not forget to bring proper camping gear. A fur coat may not be enough to protect your pet if the temperature drops. Bring extra blankets and bedding or padding to help your pet through cold nights. Also bring an extra towel in case your pet gets wet. Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.

Furthermore on your packing list, bring extra food, water and lighting. It’s always a good idea to bring water just in case, even if you expect to have running water at your campsite. Pack enough for both you and your pet. You should also bring extra pet food in case an unforeseen event delays your return.

Make sure your campsite is well lit so you can closely monitor your pet’s location. Having a strong LED lantern available can help you find your pet if he does happen to wander off.

A must not forget tip, assemble an emergency kit. A first-aid kit for your pet should include bandages, swabs, disinfectant, antibiotic ointment and other first aid necessities, as well as any medications your pet may be on. If your animal becomes injured while camping, act immediately to stop any bleeding, calm him down, and safely get him to a veterinarian.

Camping with your pet is fun, but being ill-prepared for the trip can be a disaster. Keeping your pet safe, warm and dry are the top priorities. Having a good time is a close second.

If there are going to be a lot of camping trips in the future, it is a good idea to start bringing the pet along as early as possible. Bring them on car trips and hikes through the woods every chance possible. This will get them used to the environment they will be spending time in so that they do not become stressed or disoriented on the trip.

Another way to make the transition to a campground from home as smooth as possible for the pet is to bring along familiar items. Consider packing a favorite toy or a blanket that your pet loves to sleep on. This will not only give the animal a sense of security and familiarity, but it will occupy them while the family engages in human-only activities.

Although the idea of camping with your pet is for them to run around and enjoy the great outdoors, it is also a good idea to bring along a portable kennel. This gives the pet somewhere safe to spend time while the family engages in activities away from the campsite. The pet may also appreciate having a secure space to spend time if they become tense from being outside of their familiar settings.


Now You Are At The Camp…..Establish These Simple Rules

Most parks will have some form of pet regulations in effect to ensure the campsite and area, fellow campers and your pet are safe and happy.

Most people only bring either dogs or cats, a few bring birds and some may even have an iguana or two but for now we are going to focus on the dogs and cats.


1. Your pet must be on a leash at all times.

Your dog or cat may not respond the same in a camping environment as they would in your home. Just for instance, I had taken my cat camping and had her on a leash beside the tent. The neighbor had a large poodle that was running loose on their campsite. I had reminded them that dogs must be leashed at all times and of course their reply was “my dog is not a threat to anyone or anything”. Maybe 5 minutes later the poodle saw my cat and the chase was on. Somehow the cat managed to get out of the leash and the dog was in hot pursuit. All you could see was 2 black streaks running flat out through the trees. Eventually the cat saw an open tent door (which happened to be the neighbour’s tent) and ran for it. The owner saw the dog chasing it and thankfully got the tent door closed before the dog got there. Needless to say – they kept the dog on a leash after that.

Dogs in particular are quite nosy and like to investigate anything that is new. Sometimes that new something is a porcupine, a raccoon or a rattlesnake which is another good reason to keep your pet on a leash. It is also very important to have a first aid kit available just in case. The park attendants will know where to find a vet if you need one.


2. Your pet is not allowed at any swimming area or on the beach.

A lot of parks that have a beach may also have a pet exercise area with water access. Pets and people sometimes don’t make friends very well, especially if you have a pet that is very protective of their family unit. All those people make them very nervous and apt to strike out at anyone or anything that is passing by. There is also the fact that some people are allergic to pets.


3. Your pet must be kept under control

Some dogs become very vocal when their owners are not around or if they see something they should be letting everyone in sight know about. This is known as excessive noise and can be very disturbing to fellow campers. Listening to a dog cry for hours because their owner has left them on the campsite is not a pleasant experience for anyone, including the dog. If you must leave your pet behind at the campsite, ensure they have shade, water and food available and only leave them for a short time. If you are going somewhere that you can’t take your pet for a longer period, some parks have pet-sitters close by that you could leave them with. It is best to check with the park before you go if you know you are going to be away for an extended period.


4. You must not let your pet disturb wildlife or habitat.

Some dogs and cats like to chase things whether it is a ball, an animal or a bird. Deer, chipmunks, squirrels, and birds are the favourite things for pets to chase while camping. Again you must be able to control them to ensure they don’t chase anything.

The habitat on and around your campsite is very delicate and when it is destroyed or damaged it takes a long time to recover. Your best option is to have a steel stake with a swivel top to attach your pet’s leash to and not the trees or brush around your site. Remember your leash must not extend off the campsite and in most parks it may be limited to 2 metres or 6 feet.


5. Stoop and Scoop

This is one of the joys of being a pet owner – you must clean up after them whether you are at home or in a campground. It is not a pleasant thing to encounter when you are walking barefoot to the beach or setting up a campsite if the pet owner has not done their job properly. You would not want someone to let their dog do his business on your lawn at home so the same thing applies to campsites.


6. Last but not the least, avoid killing yourself, your family, and your pet!

To keep it a great joy, before you set up your campsite and unroll your sleeping bags, become aware of which plants near where you plan to camp are poisonous to people or animals. Some plants harmless to people are lethal to pets and vice versa. Lethality is a survival trait for many plants and those plants need to be taken seriously.As part of smart planning, call the local Poison Control Center where you plan to camp and learn of any local poisonous plants. Local Poison Control Center numbers can be found at The American Association Of Poison Control Centers.

Then Google the poisonous plants in your camping area, learn how they poison (absorption, ingestion or inhalation) and print out pictures for your camping group. CORNELL UNIVERSITY POISONOUS PLANTS INFORMATIONAL DATABASE offers an excellent on-line source for photos and details about poisonous plants.

Poisonous Plants That Could Be Near Your Campsite include: Angels Trumpet, Azalea (aka Rhododendron), Belladonna (aka Deadly Nightshade), Black Laurel, Black Locust, Boxwood, Bracken Fern, Burning Bush, Caley Pea, Carolina Jessamine, Castor Bean, Celandine, Chinaberry, Christmas Rose, Cocklebur, Common Nightshade (aka Black Nightshade, Horse Nettle and Buffalo Bur), Corn Cockle, Cowbane (aka Water Hemlock), Cowhage, Crown Vetch, Daphne, Day or Night Blooming Jasmine, Death Camus, Delphiniums, Dogbane, Eastern Skunk Cabbage, Elderberry, Ergot, Foxglove, Golden Chain (aka Laburnum), Great Lobelia, Hairy Vetch, Henbane, Horse Chestnut (aka Buckeye), Hydrangea, Irises, Jack in the Pulpit, Japanese Pieris, Lantana (aka Red or Yellow Sage), Lambs Quarters, Larkspur, Laurel, Lily of the Valley, Lucerne, Lupines, Manchineel tree, Mandrake (aka Mayapple), Marijuana, Mesquite, Monkshood (aka Aconite or Wolfsbane), Moonseed, Mushrooms (not all mushrooms are poisonous but many are and can kill quickly with no antidote), Oleander, Pangi , Poinsettia, Poison Ivy, Poison Hemlock, Poison Oak, Poison Sumac, Pokeweed, Poppies, Privet, Rengas tree, Rhubarb, Rosemary Pea, Senecio (aka Groundsels and Ragworts), Star of Bethlehem , Stinging Nettle, Strychnine tree, Tree Tobacco , Trumpet Vine, Virginia creeper, White Snakeroot, Wisteria and Yew.

Learn How Poisonous Plants Poison: Knowing how different plants protect themselves with their poison will help you know how to avoid them. Some plant poisons must be ingested (eating) while other plants deploy their poison through absorption (touching) or even inhalation (breathing).

Learn the Potential Symptoms of Poisoning: Changes to heartbeats and breathing, comas, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, hallucinations, itching, skin burning, reddening, swelling, and blistering, stomach cramps, headaches, nausea, unconsciousness and vomiting. Never go camping without knowing how to contact emergency help immediately! If someone in your camping group exhibits these symptoms, call for medical help and be prepared to induce vomiting and dilute remaining poison with large amounts of milk or water until help can arrive.

No Easy Rules: There are no easy rules regarding poisonous plants — so bring what you eat during your camping outing and avoid eating or chewing any part of wild plants (especially mushrooms) and avoid touching plants needlessly. There are no easy rules because some parts of poison plants are poisonous while others may not be, some poisonous plants look similar to common and edible plants and some plants are poisonous during one part of their life-cycle but not others. Never use unknown plants to fuel your campfire because the smoke from burning poisonous plants may be poisonous. And remember — what goes for you goes for your pet — so keep them nearby, safe and happy! Happy Camping!

Following these few simple rules will ensure that you, your pet and your fellow campers will have a pleasant and enjoyable stay in any campground.


To sum it all, it does take some careful planning to be successful, but there is no reason that a pet cannot accompany its family on a camping trip. The owner just need to prepare to keep their beloved pet safe and comfortable on the trip. Bringing a four legged friend along for a camping trip is a great way to enhance everyone’s fun factor.

Browse our Camping List and Tips category for more camping related ideas and information of your interest to guarantee yourself a smooth camping experience!