Camping with Pets

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We left home on February 11th with our two dogs, MJ and Annie.  Both of the dogs weigh about 35 pounds and are roughly the same size and stature.  We were worried about traveling with them, how they would do, and the abrubt change in their routine.  In fact MJ experienced an injury regarding a compressed disc in his spine a week before we left.  He was having difficulty walking, and wouldn’t get up to eat or go outside.  We were worried that we were going to have to cancel or reschedule our trip.  After consultation with the emergency vet hospital and the regular vet, they assured us that the trip would be good for MJ, because he needed to be confined to a crate except for walking to go to the bathroom.  MJ was also provided with muscle relaxers and pain medication, and we learned a great trick for giving medicine to dogs — hide the pills in marshmellows.  Dogs love it!

The dogs have done so well on the trip, except for a couple of minor mishaps, whch is to be expected.  MJ seems to be completely healed, but we are keeping a close eye on him.  A couple of the camp grounds we have stayed in have had dog parks, so that has allowed us to let the dogs off leash to run around and get some much needed exercise.  However, one of our dogs isn’t dog friendly, so when other dogs come to the park, we put the leashes on and head back to the camp site.

The trick for our success is having the dog crates.  When we leave to run errands, we put them in their crates and they seem to do fine.  We haven’t had any complaints about them barking when we aren’t at the campsite.  When traveling from place to place, we put the dogs into their crates in the back seat of the truck.

Most of the campgrounds are very pet friendly, and we’ve even met folks who have brought their cats along.  We have a couple of leads that we have outside of the camper so the dogs can enjoy being outside with us.  The only problem is the dogs are continually getting tangled up around the picnic table.  I have to look into finding another solution so that geting tangled up isn’t an issue.

The only down side to bringing the dogs has been we can’t go off for long periods of time, or take day trips because we need to get back to let them out.

We went to Key West the other day, hoping to find a place to drop the dogs off to be groomed, but unfortunately we were unable to find a groomer that could take them on such short notice.

We brought along their vet records just in case we wanted to board the dogs, have them groomed, or in case they needed veterinary care while we were away.

Tips for successfully camping with your dogs:

Keep their diet as close to normal as possible.  (Feed them the same food in the same quantities as you would at home).

Keep your dog confined to a crate when traveling and when you are not in your camper.  If you are camping in a tent, it is never okay to leave your dog unattended at your camp site.

Provide a place for them to be with you outside on a lead, so they are confined to your camp site and can’t interact with other dogs.   Not all dogs are as friendly as yours.

If there is a dog park at the campground, make sure your dog isn’t dog aggressive before letting him or her off leash around other dogs.

Bring poop bags with you AT ALL TIMES, AND PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG.  There is nothing worse than dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs.  It gives all dog owners a bad name, and can even lead to dogs being banned from campgrounds and other public venues.

Don’t let your dog go to the bathroom in someone else’s camp site.  Try your best to get your dog to the designated pet area to relieve himself/herself.

Bring vet records in case of an emergency, or if you want to have your dog boarded or groomed while you are away.

Don’t take your dog to a crowded outdoor event or to an outdoor event on a hot day.  It isn’t fair to your dog.

That’s all, and happy camping with your dog.

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