Camping and RV trips might seem like great opportunities to bring along the family dog, but these types of vacations should still incorporate planning around your dog’s specific needs. Trips with the family dog can be a fun way to make memories if these are geared around what works for your pet.
Whether a camping trip will be you and your dog or with your entire family, make sure you dog has a place in your vacation and isn’t just along for the ride. Here are ten tips when it comes to planning the perfect road trip with your dog.
1. Do Your Homework Ahead of Time
Camping trips can involve a lot of preparation, especially if you will be hitting the road in an RV. If you are bringing along the family pet on your next trip, this can add another layer of planning that shouldn’t be minimized. Be sure to research pet-friendly RV parks and campgrounds ahead of your trip. If you will be doing lots of driving, be sure to mark along the way pit stops for your dog so that they can get in some fresh air and bathroom breaks on longer stretches of your road trip.
2. Take the Time for Targeted Training
While your dog might be great at home and around the neighborhood, traveling might require a different level of training. Be sure you feel completely confident with your dog off-leash if you will be letting them wander your campsite. Kennel training is a must if you will be leaving your dog inside the RV while your family partakes in activities that your dog cannot. Make sure they are comfortable with sleeping in their crate at home before your trip to alleviate stress.
3. Bring Backup Supplies
While you might be packing along food and general supplies for your dog, make sure to bring along a little more than you think you will need in case you run into emergencies. Especially if your dog is on any specific medications or diet restrictions, these items might be harder to source out-of-town. It is better not to risk running out of items that your dog needs.
4. Have Your Vet on Speed Dial
Accidents and emergencies happen, so it is important you are prepared when it comes to your dog. Let your vet know ahead of time you are going on a trip, and have their contact information handy in case you need this. They can refer you to other vets or give advice over the phone if something comes up. Make sure your dog is microchipped and bring this information along with you on your trip as well, in case they get lost.
5. Make Time for Your Dog to be a Dog
While you might be exhausted from a long day of driving and setting up camp, chances are your dog might still have a little energy to run off from the day. It is worth it to find a little time and energy to take your dog out for a walk, run, or play fetch to tire them out. This will make your dog and family happier as your dog can get out energy and be ready to relax with the family around the campfire or inside the RV.
6. Know Your Dog’s Limits
While your dog may be a joiner and the life of the party, some activities while camping and enjoying the outdoors might stretch beyond your dog’s comfort level. Introducing your dog to hiking, swimming, and sleeping outdoors can be a great experience, but go slow and be sure to look for any cues that your dog may be stressed. Stick to a routine as much as you can when it comes to mealtimes to limit the anxiety your dog might have throughout the trip.
7. Incorporate Rest and Relaxation
Depending on the age and energy level of your dog, they might be running circles around you. On the other hand, you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a hike with a dehydrated and overworked dog. Take new activities slow, and be sure to incorporate times to rest as a family in between plans.
8. Be a Good Citizen
While you might love camping and RVing with your dog, other campers might not be as excited about this prospect. Bringing along easy-to-setup fencing or a long leash your dog can be tied to will eliminate your dog’s chances of wandering too much. Always pick up after your dog, and keep your dog quiet during after hours. Be friendly and upfront with fellow campers so they can see your dog isn’t aggressive and won’t be a bother.
9. Dogs Can Have Their Own Gear
A fun part about camping and outdoor activities with your dog is there are plenty of cool dog-oriented products on the market that can make their trip more fun. Make sure to source items your dog might need on your next camping trip, such as a life jacket or small packs they can wear to carry in supplies as well. Be sure to fit these to your dog and have them wear them around the house before you hit the road.
10. Picking Activities that are Fun for Everyone
While you might think your dog can just follow along with your family, if you can pick activities geared towards their activity level and interests, this will be better for your dog. Dog-friendly campgrounds and beaches is a good start. Bring your dog’s favorite toys, and incorporate activities they enjoy such as walking, visiting the beach, fetch, or frisbee so that they feel included and engaged throughout your vacation.