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For those who enjoy the great outdoors, camping during the springtime can be a perfect weekend getaway.  However, if you don’t want to leave your four-legged friends behind while setting out on your adventure, try bringing them along. 

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, camping during the springtime can be a perfect weekend getaway.  However, if you don’t want to leave your four-legged friends behind while setting out on your adventure, try bringing them along. 

“Many campgrounds allow pets, with certain rules and regulations,” says Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Often, the rules regarding pets can be seen posted on their website, and if not, questions can be easily answered over the phone. However, it is not advised that you show up with your pet without prior research and consent. 

“Most rules will include things such as having your pet on a leash, making sure they are supervised at all times, and requiring proof of vaccinations,” Stickney says. “Even if they don’t require health records or vaccination certificates, it’s a good idea to bring them along just in case.”

Just as you need to pack food and other essentials for yourself, don’t forget to pack necessities for your pets as well. Some items you’ll need to bring are plenty of food, a pet first-aid kit, a harness, and a leash. Even if the campsite has natural water resources, such as streams or lakes, you must still bring plenty of water for your pet to drink throughout your stay.

“Your pets will want to drink out of any pond and lake in sight, but there are many different diseases they can catch by doing that,” Stickney says. “So you don’t want that to be their primary source of water.”

Coming into contact with wild animals is a definite risk when you are out in a national forest or grassland. Although most of the wildlife you run into wants to keep away from you as well, you should have a way of containing your pet just in case.

“If your pet does get into a tussle with a wild animal, you do not want to get into the middle of it,” Stickney says. “There is a very good chance you will be bitten or harmed.” Your best method of action is calling off your pet or to try scaring away the wild animal. 

In order to prevent such situations in the first place, it is a good idea to keep your pets close to you throughout your camping expedition and to have a leash or harness available at all times.

Before setting off on your camping adventure, make sure your pets are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations, especially rabies. Depending on the campsite’s location, you may consult with your veterinarian about any other vaccinations that your pet may need, as well as discuss appropriate flea and tick control.

To make camping with your pet an exciting experience for the both of you, be sure to research the campsite ahead of time, take note of any restrictions or regulations, and bring the essentials along with you. Following these guidelines will guarantee a good time for everyone.

Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. For more information, visit vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk.