FAQ 13: Is It Safe To Take Your Pets Camping?
My cat would be very upset if I left him behind!
Camping with your pets is a great way to enrich their everyday experiences. Animals aren't meant to stare at concrete and carpets all day. They deserve beaches, forests, lakes, and deserts, even if they never want to go outside.
However, there are some risks. Wild animals also hang out in these areas and can pose a threat to your pets. If you are the unfortunate owner of an escape artist, that's also something you need to consider.
So, is it safe to take your pets camping? Absolutely. But there are risks and you should know what they are.
Wild animals are your most significant risk.
It's important to remember that wild animals belong in the wild. You and your pet are just visiting, so act accordingly. Say, for instance, you encounter a venomous snake. Leave the poor little guy alone if he's not an immediate threat to you.
Coyotes and foxes are crafty and tend to prey on cats and small dogs, but all pets are fair game. I have heard stories from RVers whose full-sized dogs have been lured away from camp by coyotes, so be careful. Outside cats face the greatest risks in coyote country.
Bears are the most dangerous of all three. I generally don't bring my cat into bear country without the camper because the scent of kitty litter can attract them. However, many people go camping in bear country with their cats and dogs and have no issues.
Know the risks and plan accordingly.
Plants are second in line.
Cats are brilliant but do ridiculous things out of curiosity. My cat will eat any plant I bring into the RV until it dies. I recently bought a pineapple, and before I peeled it, he loved to try to find it and chew on the leaves!
Some plants and fruits are dangerous and even lethal to your pet. There are also cases where cats and dogs come in contact with plants that might not affect them but will almost certainly affect you.
Case in point? Poison ivy. The oils can sit on the fur and pass to you, causing the rash.
Watch out for the escapees.
Even the most well-behaved pets might suddenly want to run wild when in the great outdoors. Birds sing like sirens to the cats, and dogs have never seen so many squirrels in their lives! Consequently, even if your pet is not an escape artist, you'd be surprised by how quickly they can take off.
Sadly, some pets have a terrible sense of direction. Once the adrenalin wears off, and the hunt is over, they might not know how to find their way back home.
Can you find them?
Will they come when called?
Are they wearing a tracker?
Those are just some of the many things you should consider.
Here's how to camp safely with your pets.
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Alexis Chateau | Free Ramen is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.