Pets have always been a big part of my life since I was little. If you look through my old family photos, you will see our family dog on all of our camping trips. It takes some planning and some patience to take your pets on a camping trip so I came up with some advice.
We don't use cables for the dogs, not because we think cables are bad. We don't use them because we have 2 dogs which would mean 2 cables.That means 2 cables that they would get tangled up in and 2 cables you have to untangle from each other once the the dogs are so tangled, they can't move. This year we found these cool fences. In these pictures there are 2 fences together. It's perfect for both dogs to hang out in together. They are a little awkward to store for the drive but my husband has figured out a way to hang them on the back of the motorhome. My dogs love them because they don't get tangled up in a cable and it is similar to their home routine of going to the fenced yard for potty breaks. Our lab, Kaos, can be trusted off of a leash and out of the fence if she's supervised. If she is out of the fence (both camping and at home) she will go into the fence to do her business and then come back out to continue what she was doing. Kaos also knows she can jump the fence with little effort, but she won't because she knows she's supposed to stay in the fence.
The fences work great while we are fishing and have the dogs at the fishing spot. If it is a small area we are fishing at, we can use just 1 fence. On this trip we had enough room for 2 fences. It was warm in the sun so we set up an umbrella and a blanket. When your pets are outside with you, you have to think about what they need. If you are hot sitting in the sun, they are too except they have a fur coat they can't take off. Make sure they have a place to stay cool and have plenty of water. We added a blanket to the shade so they could get comfy. They were happy to sit and enjoy being outside with us.
To make meal time easier, I portion out their food in baggies at home. When it is time to eat, we don't have to measure out food and we also don't have to worry about if we have enough dog food with us. My dogs are 10 and 8 1/2 so they are on medicines for their joints, allergies and arthritis. Right now I put their medicine in a baggie and put it in a larger Zip-loc baggie with their portioned baggies of food.I also make sure to pack plenty of chewies and treats. Try to keep with their normal feeding routine while you're camping. If they eat dinner at 5:00 p.m. every day, then try to give them their dinner at the same time while you're camping. If they get Dentastix after dinner, bring some Dentastix for after dinner.
Water is very important to both you and your pets. If you're drinking a lot of water during a warm day, your dog should be, too. We have a red plastic water dish that stays in the motorhome but can be placed outside in the fence area if we are outside. We always make sure the water dish stays full. In the motorhome we put the water dish under the table so the dogs can get to it easily and so we don't keep tripping over it and spilling it. When we are out on the ATVs we have cloth dishes made for dogs and traveling. They store easy on the ATVs with a canteen of water for them.
You have to have patience with your dogs whether they are new to camping or have been with you on trips for years. You have to remember even though you try to keep their normal home routine, the routine is still different so they are going to have their moments of craziness. You also have to work with your dog when they are new to camping. Kaos' first trip went.....well, chaotic. If she was left alone for 2 seconds she had this annoying whine that could break windows a mile away. She also wouldn't eat much, got distracted very easily and was a crazy lab. Even after all her chaotic craziness during that trip, we knew she was going to be a good camping dog when the first night she started woofing queitly to wake us up. It sounded like a baby bear going through our stuff outside our tent. My husband put Kaos on the bed with me and he went out to discover someone's golden retriever was the one outside our tent. When she first heard the noises, she didn't start barking which could have made things bad, she woke us up quietly. To prove what a good camping dog she is, here is a picture of her at the table in the motorhome with a bunch of raw sausage right in front of her and she is pretending to ignore it. How many dogs do you know that you would trust to do that?
Kaos is our good girl and Sasha is our princess. She can't be trusted to be free and if she's tired of walking, she will sit and not move so you have to carry her. Sasha isn't as trustworthy as Kaos, but she is still good at camping. We used to leave her at home with family while we took Kaos with us because we thought she didn't like camping. If you let her sit in your chair and make sure she is inside the motorhome when the fire starts popping, she does great. She likes laying in the durt in the shade and going on rides (especially on an ATV).
Another tip I have is to help make bedtime easier. My girls are pretty spoiled so we fold out the table bed and put their beds and blankets on. We bring their beds from home to help them sleep better. If Princess Sasha isn't comfy or gets cold, she gets in our bed and then we aren't comfy anymore. It is a little bit of a pain to bring Kaos' big bed, but it is worth it for her to be comfortable at night so she sleeps good.
After a camping trip, my dogs are always exhausted. If we go on an ATV camping trip, it takes the dogs 2 or 3 days to fully recover. Keep a close eye on your pets when you get back home. If they act more than tired, a trip to the vet should be scheduled. We have to keep a close eye on Sasha with her back problems and Kaos with her allergies and ear issues. If they have any issues with any of those after a camping trip, they go see our favorite vet. Since we keep a close eye on their medical issues during a trip, we hardly ever have to go to the vet after a trip now which makes us and the dogs very happy.
I hope some of my tips will help you and your pets enjoy a fun camping trip together. I love taking my girls with us and miss them a lot if they don't go with us.