Nothing says “slow down” like camping in the great outdoors. Whether you’re on a lake or deep in the woods there’s something extremely peaceful and relaxing about settling into nature.
That same freedom is alive in your dog. The winding drive builds excitement, their nose scrunched against the window, interest piqued at unfamiliar smells. Wide-eyed and curious, your pup is waiting for you to roll down the window. A fun adventure awaits!
Why are people roaming the great outdoors with their furry friends?
RV travel hit an all-time high in 2020. Rentals increased 1000% and sales climbed 600% during this same time. Isolation and the urge to feel freedom is inspiring an enthusiasm for exploration. As a result, more fur babies are out on the open road. Sixty-eight percent of RV travelers bring a pet on vacation; ninety-two percent are dogs.
When our pets vacation with us they encourage us to travel places we may not normally roam. There are countless dog parks to explore across the country. Building a dog-friendly network does not have to be confined to our immediate neighborhood. Meeting people across the country with similar interests brings connection to the remoteness of RV travel. This enables the entire family to socialize safely. Our pet’s companionship encourages us to stop at more places and journey out a little farther than normal; the physical and mental benefits are immeasurable.
At what age can my puppy go camping?
Every puppy has a slightly different timeline. Most puppies get their vaccination shots at 8, 12 and 16 weeks old. Experts recommend by the age of 5 months all puppies should be fully vaccinated. An unvaccinated puppy would be very susceptible to diseases carried in by racoons, skunks and other dogs while camping. Safeguards should also be in place for heartworms, intestinal parasites, fleas and ticks. Before considering a trip with your puppy it is always a good idea to have your puppy checked out by a veterinarian. At that time they can evaluate your puppy’s strength and overall sturdiness. This means making sure your puppy is emotionally and physically ready to handle a trip away from home; ensuring a successful trip not only for your puppy, but for the entire family.
All your pup’s medical records should accompany you while traveling. This way you can easily present them if needed. Do not be surprised if you’re asked to show proof of ownership, vaccination records or a valid veterinarian health certificate. A microchip or identification tag with your cell phone number is a must. In the event your puppy gets away, this will greatly increase the chance of their return.
Pet etiquette is an enforced fact. Most likely every public or private campground will require your dog to be leashed or in a collapsible fence environment. Be honest and evaluate how well your puppy does around strangers or other dogs. Will your puppy chase wildlife? Does their behavior change around strangers? Your ability to control your puppy’s behavior is critical for a successful trip. Knowledge of basic commands will keep your dog safe and everybody’s life harmonious.
Teaching your pup to be silent and to come when called is a vacation requirement. Does your dog make excessive noise? Many campgrounds have designated quiet times. Check the online site of your campground so you are fully aware of your expectations prior to leaving. The rules vary and are subject to change.
Respect your puppy’s physical limits. Puppies are filled with limitless energy. Quick trips out and about is best. Expect shorter adventure periods and an abundance of one-on-one time.
How to travel safely with a dog.
While you’re driving your puppy will need to have a dedicated secure place to lay within viewing distance. The 2 ways you can keep your puppy safe is either a crate or a safety belt. You want to be able to keep a close eye on their comfort level. Plan to stop every few hours for bathroom breaks and hydration. Reducing the amount of large meals will decrease the chance for car sickness. Ensure they have plenty of fresh air and the ability to see all the beauty around them. Lots of love and attention can go a long way to easing your puppy’s travel anxiety.
4 Often Forgotten Essential Steps
- The Introduction
Walk your pup around the RV so they feel confident about the area. Let them test out your pet proofing skills. This is a great time to familiarize them with durable collapsible food bowls and their new sleeping area. They can be sticklers for routine. Secure them in a seatbelt harness or crate and take them for a quick test drive.
- Dog Grooming
Your puppy will likely get very dirty exploring. The best combat is to groom your dog if needed to remove excess hair prior to leaving. A pedi can reduce the chance for messy floors as well. Bring an outdoor shower nozzle designated solely for your pup. Showering them will be a lifesaver. Beyond cleaning their dirty belly, showering is also an excellent way to reduce unwanted parasites along with medication.
- Emergency Plan
Bring a first aid kit, crate and collapsible fence no matter if they are used regularly or not. There may be unplanned times where your puppy faces an accident. Bigger dilemmas may prompt you to stay in a hotel or a medical facility. You will not be able to have your puppy or dog attached to you throughout your entire vacation. Campgrounds can be busy with lots of kids who love to gravitate toward adorable pups. Have a backup plan for when accidents occur or when your attention may be pulled in another direction.
- Pet Friendly Retailers
Take advantage of the many benefits retailers now offer you and your fur baby. Some large chain truck stops now have dog parks with well-maintained pet waste stations. Many restaurants provide pet friendly seating. Will you have some shopping to do? Many malls will allow your dog to accompany you. There is something special about seeing your pup react to a new environment with you. You don’t want to miss a single one of those googly-eyed looks.
Creating a fun adventure buddy.
The most important thing you want to accomplish on your camping trip is to have fun. This is the perfect time to explore and soak in all the new sights and sounds. Such joy is to be gained when your pup is sitting right next to you while fishing, cooking or gazing at a beautiful lake. You are experiencing life through their unique perspective. New adventures build confidence in their instincts. Don’t forget to laugh, bark and breathe in the great outdoors together. Happy Travels!
Article by Guest Contributor: Sarah Ihrig