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Ten Commandments For Camping With Dogs
 by: Julee Meltzer

In the U.S. alone, more than 30 million people each year take their pets with them while camping. Yet, when we first started RVing with our dogs, we were unable to find much written on the subject. Sure, there were the occasional articles in magazines that reminded us to use pet ID tags, bring plenty of water, and take their favorite toy. But in terms of providing genuine support or bottom–line information, there was nothing out there. Since it was something that we felt was badly needed, we decided to write this article.

While there are numerous issues to consider while camping with dogs, these are some of the most important.

1. Make Sure that Your Dog Can’t Get Lost

It’s one thing if your dog gets free in your neighborhood. It’s another when you’re at a rest stop, nine hundred miles from home. Either train your dog to come when called or make absolutely sure that they’re on a leash at all times.

2. Get All of their Vaccinations Up to Date

If your dog gets into an altercation with another animal (or a person), the central issue will become their rabies shots. If you stay at a campground that has a demanding pet policy, you’ll need to verify your dog’s vaccination records. If you cross into Canada, you’ll have to confirm that your dogs have had their shots. You get the idea.

3. Make Your Dogs Easy to Identify

If your dog does get lost (unfortunately, it happens all the time), the ability to easily identify them will become critical. For permanent identification purposes, consider tattoos or microchips. At a minimum, make sure they wear tags that show their name, your current phone number, and the date of their last rabies vaccination.

4. Clean Up After Your Dog

The biggest complaint about dogs has nothing to do with their bark, their bite, or their behavior. If you pick up after your dog, you’ll be helping dog owners everywhere.

5. Learn How to Provide First Aid to Your Dog

If a medical crisis occurs while at home, you drive to your local veterinarian. But if you’re heading down a dark highway in a strange town, it will seem like a bad dream. Although there are ways to get help while on the road, it always takes more time. In the meantime, your ability to provide competent first aid could save your dog’s life.

6. Involve Your Dog in Everything You Do

If you really want your dogs to have a good time, include them in your activities. Take them with you on long walks. Buy a cheap plastic wading pool and let them play in the water. Throw a ball. Cook them up a hamburger. If you do stuff like that, they’ll do cartwheels the next time you decide to take them camping.

7. Call the Campgrounds Before You Go

Even if a park claims they’re pet–friendly, always call ahead to confirm their policy regarding your dogs. We’ve arrived at parks (with our two German Shepard dogs) after a long day on the road only to discover that “pet–friendly” meant dogs weighing under 20 pounds.

8. Plan Ahead for the Unexpected

Have a plan (for your dogs) in case of a flat tire, a serious accident, or a fire in your RV. Start with a few extra leashes, a pet carrier, and an extra fire extinguisher. Then have a fire drill to identify potential problems.

9. Learn About Your Camping Environment

The U.S. is a huge country with a vast assortment of dangerous wildlife, treacherous plants, unpredictable weather conditions, and demanding environmental challenges. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might inadvertently be putting yourself and your dog in danger.

10. Recognize and Respect the Views of Others

While some of us can’t imagine traveling without dogs, others can’t image traveling with them. If you keep your dog under control and clean up after them, you won’t give others much to grumble about.

Happy Camping with Rover!

About The Author: Julee Meltzer
The authors of Camping & RVing with your pets are avid pet lovers and campers. They are full-time RVers, who RV in a Class A with 2 large dogs and 3 cats, at last count! Jack and Julee Meltzer have traveled over 100,000 miles with 5 cats and 2 dogs in a Class B and Class A RV. They have stayed in campgrounds, public lands, state and Federal Parks, and the occasional Walmart parking lot.

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The information presented herein, while deemed to be correct, is not guaranteed. All information including directions, costs, distances, amenities, measurements, dates, etc. are gathered from many different sources and are deemed to be as accurate as possible but not guaranteed. The Webmaster / Free Guide To Northwest Camping / Site Owners are not liable for any errors or omissions in this info sheet. The reader of this material is expected to verify the accuracy of this content.

Page last updated 05/17/2015

The Free Guide To Northwest Camping is a free guide to both privately owned and publicly owned (state, county and federal government) campgrounds.  The editors of the Free Guide To Northwest Camping do not specifically endorse any of the campgrounds listed in this site.  Not every available campground is covered in this free camping guide.  Many of the privately owned and operated campgrounds do not allow tent camping.  If in doubt, call the campground first.

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