Make sure your dog is ready for the RV trip too!

So you want to take your dog RVing? Well, there can’t be that much to it, right? Just load the dog in the truck or RV and head out.

Well, not quite. In fact, thousands of dogs end up lost, dead, or in shelters each year, merely because the owners never dreamed their dog would get hurt or become lost while on a trip. To avoid making a statistic of your dog, you need to ask yourself a few simple questions while preparing for the camping trip.

1. Does my dog have proper identification? Keeping proper ID on your dog will ensure that you will be contacted if he is somehow lost during your travels.

2. Is the correct phone number on his tags? Make sure you provide a proper cell phone number on your dog’s tags. If you are traveling, your home phone number won’t do much good.

3. Do I have his rabies certificate with me?  Some campgrounds and border crossings require a recent rabies certificate. So, don’t get caught empty-handed – bring along your dog’s rabies certificate.

4. Do I have a digital photo of my dog, in case he gets lost? When your dog gets lost, time is of the essence. If you bring a digital photo of your dog, you can rush to the nearest FedEx Office (formerly Kinko’s) to print up some copies.

5. Have I properly researched the environment where we will be camping? In other words, are there rattlesnakes, bears, water hazards, etc.? When you take your dog to a new environment, he will be unaware of the dangers that exist. You need to be aware of these hazards ahead of time.

6. Do I have a way to contain my dog so there is NO chance he can get loose? Either use a strong chain or a pen that your dog can’t get out of – no matter what. Never let your dog loose in a strange environment.

7. Did I bring his medications, toys, food and bed? Don’t forget these basics!

8. Have I researched the name of the nearest emergency veterinarian hospital and created a map with specific directions from the campground? Use the Internet or directory assistance to locate the nearest 24-hour emergency animal hospital nearest to where you will be camping. Once an emergency happens, you will be too scared and excited to do this calmly. If your dog gets hit by a car or bitten by a snake, every minute counts.

9. Have I prepared an information card to include in my car? Make a little card with your name, the name, address and phone number of where you are camping, and a listing of your pets. Put an emergency contact name and number. If you are hurt or unconscious and in the hospital for a while, then this card will allow someone to know where your pets are.

These nine simple preparations can make the difference between a great vacation with your dog and a nightmare. Only you can make sure you keep your dogs safe and sound. And, if the worst happens, you will not have to waste precious moments getting the name of the nearest emergency vet. Instead, you can be calmly driving there, using the map you created before you left for camping!