So you want to hit the great outdoors with your pets. Great Idea! Don't worry that they will look at you like you're out of your supposedly superior mind. After all, why should they give up a comfy sofa to swelter in a tent with two kids and a belligerent horse fly? In the end, though, it'll be worth it. There's a powerful bonding experience that takes place when you both suffer together, so take'em along!
When camping with your pet, there are some basic rules you should follow:
- ALWAYS call in advance before going. Requirements change all the time.
- Almost all campgrounds--private or public--that accept pets, require them to be on a 6-foot leash. Many will not permit the animal to sleep outdoors, but require a crate, or for it to be in the tent.
- Always clean up after your animal. Even though you're outside, somebody's going to be walking where you did so treat it like your own property.
- Even if leashed, your pet should never be unattended. There's always the possibility of an unpleasant encounter with other animals and/or travelers.
- Find out about the hazardous plant life in the area, including poisonous plants and those, like cactus and poison ivy, that can physically hurt your pet.
- Vigilantly check your pet for ticks, foot injuries, or dehydration. Give them fresh drinking water, and don't let them drink from questionable sources found in the wilderness.
- Bring them to the veterinarian when you get home to make sure they're as healthy as when you left.