Camping with dogs and other pets is the joy of so many travelers. Have you ever wondered what would make traveling with your pup even better? We have some ideas!
We visited with Misty from Williamson County Animal Shelter, the Community Outreach Coordinator. While she works with us weekly on adoption videos each week, she had some great ideas on how to keep dogs happy and healthy on the road, and in the wilderness! For the entire conversation, check out RV Small Talk Podcast at https://rvsmalltalk.com/ep-19-travel-and-camping-with-dogs/
Is your dog nervous in the car?
If so, you’re not alone! Some dogs only ride in the car to go to the vet, while others are simply anxious about riding in a moving vehicle. Whatever the reason, here are some tips for changing the way your dog thinks about riding in the car with you!
- Create a safe place, like a crate, some treats, a blanket so they are comfortable! Anything that they are familiar with in the house or yard will comfort them in the car!
- Try getting them adjusted to the car without going anywhere! Throw treats in the car and have the dog run in to the car and run back out again!
- Take short car rides with you in a nearby seat, and someone else driving. Praise the dog continuously, with treats along the way for rewards! Start by going around the block, then extend the travel time until the dog is comfortable.
If your dog has anxiety and just can’t get used to the car, talk to your vet… there’s medication!
Has you dog had a recent check-up?
If your going on a long trip, get a check up at the vet! Be sure they have:
- All the medication they need
- Up to date on their shots
- Protected from ticks, fleas and mosquitos
- In good health and ready for travel!
Worried that your dog might get lost?
One of the most important things to do for your dog is to be sure they have identification. A collar with an ID tag on it is a first step. The best way to provide identification for your dog, especially when you’re traveling, is with a microchip.
It’s very simple to microchip your dog. Here the check-list!
- Ask your veterinarian to check for a microchip. If you don’t find one, they can probably take care of it during that visit. It’s a simple procedure that can keep your dog safe!
- Next, you have to register the microchip. Online you will find different companies you can register with, some free, some with a small fee. The best recommendation is to register with the manufacturer of the chip (there are several brands), but free is better than nothing if that is what you choose. Check out the link below to learn more about choosing a company to register with.
- Have your vet scan the chip every year at your dog’s check up to be sure it is working.
- Keep the information on your registry up to date! If you move, change phone numbers, etc, let the registry know!
Want to learn more about microchips for your dog? You’ll probably find the answer here!
They are great for dogs and a break from the collar and leash, and they are impossible to escape from! You can easily associate the harness with fun by using it for a walk near your home, when you are hiking, or anytime you’re out having fun! Most dogs then get excited about the harness and ready to get on with the adventure whenever you bring it out!
What about other dogs?
When you’re camping, you can only control your dog, so what do you do when you get around other dogs?
Dog etiquette? Yep, it’s a thing. Even if you are great with animals, your dog is friendly and you are wanting to connect with other dog lovers… it’s important to respect their space!
When you are near another dog, remember the ABCs. Don’t just walk up to another friendly camper and assume you can pet their dog! ABC? It’s easy!
- A – Ask for permission! Remember to ask the owner AND ask the dog for permission to pet them! No matter how happy and friendly people or the dog seem, it’s best to ask. If you look at the dog, lean his way and speak to him (or her) the dog will most likely let you know if he has any interest in visiting with you.
- B – Back of your hand – present the back of your hand to the dog which allows them to back away if they do not want to be touched.
- C – Chin! Yep, the chin is the best place to pet a dog! If you put your hand over their head, your hand will disappear so they can’t see it! If the dog is anxious, they can see you hand at all times if you are petting their chin.
Does your dog have a first aid kit? Check out the ASPCA for a checklist of first aid items for your pet!
ASPCA has an app for poison control for your pets, since you never know what they might get into! It’s a great app to have anytime, anywhere!
I worry about the sun, heat and terrain making my dog uncomfortable…
Some dogs have such sensitive skin, like a pit bull, so sun screen is not out of the question! You can pick up sunscreen especially made for your pet at pet stores, some Walmarts, or order it online! Be sure to get one made for a dog! Sunscreen for dogs, an outfit to shade them from the sun, booties for hiking? Experiment with items that might keep your dog more comfortable, and allow them to have a great camping trip with you!
If you’re on pavement on a hot day, put your hand down, and if you can hold it there for 5 seconds, then it will not be too hot for your dog. Stickers and burrs need to be removed, and can become embedded in their skin if not taken care of, so check out paws and any long hair after a hike.
I want to find a good traveling companion. What should I look for in a dog?
That depends on your activities. If you are active, then an active dog will be a great companion. If your more interested in relaxing, reading a book, and enjoying the sunshine, a quiet dog that doesn’t need to have a daily run, then a quiet dog or older dog might be a good fit! Find a dog who will be a companion in your daily activities. Visit with the folks at your local shelter, and let them know your interests. They have spent time with the dogs and can help you locate a dog that matches your lifestyle… then just find one that you love!
I love dogs and want to help them find good homes!
Fostering is a big part of animal shelters. Fostering means taking an animal in, treating them as your own, then giving them back. Every dog that is fostered helps two dogs… the one that is fostered, and another one that now has a kennel to keep them safe while they are finding their new home. If you are over 18 yrs old, have a valid drivers license, you can talk to your local animal shelter staff about opportunities. Staff at shelters try to think about what a dog needs, and sometimes, that’s simply a few weeks away from the shelter. If you have been thinking about how you can help animals find their forever home, fostering a dog can make a huge difference! You can foster a dog for a few weeks, extend that time if you would like, and give a dog time to calm down, relax, and become more adoptable.
Some people are not sure about getting a dog, maybe they are not sure how the kids will do, or how much the kids will participate, By fostering a dog, they may find that they love this dog and can’t possibly return him. Foster families also might be able to identify traits they would love in a dog, which will help them to eventually find a dog to love forever. Shelters make it super easy to adopt your foster dog, or to return him whenever it is time for you to do that. And if you’re a camper, fostering a dog, taking them on a nearby camping trip might be great! Check with the shelter!
Whatever your camping style is, taking a furry companion with you can add so much fun and adventure to your life. Keep them safe, enjoy the outdoors, and keep on camping!