Connecticut offers residents and visitors beautiful pet-friendly camping throughout the state. From beaches to secluded woods, camping is a great way to spend a weekend this time of year. It’s essential, however, to consider some helpful tips and hints when tent camping with pets.
While many people have tent-camped as kids, it’s important to refresh your memory when planning your first camping trip, especially if you are bringing pets and/or kids along. While pets and kids add an extra layer of fun and adventure, they tend to have a lower threshold for discomfort. For this reason, planning for their needs and having backup accommodations, if needed, will save the whole family from a nightmare camping experience.
Lots of websites help you find pet-friendly campgrounds and more. Hipcamp.com is a great place to start your search. Here in Old Saybrook, you can camp at The Hay House Farm, the last working farm in Old Saybrook where campsites are on the edge of a large field, just a couple of minutes from the organic flower gardens and the main house.
Always keep in mind that ‘pet-friendly’ usually means ‘on-leash’ therefore we encourage you to observe all rules when visiting pet-friendly campgrounds to keep them as such.
Check the Weather
While camping can be done in any climate, it’s important to consider the weather and your family’s safety. Dogs and cats tend to do well with mild temperatures but it’s important to know your particular pet’s tolerance to heat and cold. Puppies and low-hair breeds will have a lower tolerance for cold than a German Shepherd or a Swiss Cattle Dog, for example.
It’s best to avoid tent camping when temperatures hit extreme levels and when inclement weather threatens the area. It’s not worth hauling all your stuff out to a campground only to be rained out, flooded, or worse. Chaotic camping experiences can lead to injuries, pet losses, and even fatalities therefore it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Invest in Gear
Camping gear can get expensive and can be a lot to transport, but it’s often worth taking the time to invest in practical and longstanding equipment to ensure that your tent camping experience is a good one, no matter what Mother Nature sends your way. Thankfully, many camping experts share their tips and tricks on YouTube, in blogs, and on social media.
Wilderdog makes outdoor, camping, and exploring essentials for dogs. They have waterproof blankets, doggie backpacks, and more. Large retailers like REI also stock lots of fantastic pet camping products including cots, sleeping bags, folding bowls, and LED safety collars.
While we all get the outdoor bug this time of year, it’s smart to acclimate our pets to adventuring before planning a whole weekend away. If your pet has never been outdoors before, start slow.
For cat adventuring basics, check out Emily Hall’s interview on Covered in Pet Hair, where she and host, Isabel Alvarez Arata, discuss harness training, water play, and all things cat adventures. Emily is the Founder of KittyCatGO™ Adventures where she teaches cat lovers to get their cats out into the real world safely.
For dogs that are accustomed to leash walking and short hikes, start by extending hikes and adding backpacks or gear to their outings. Then, acclimate your dog(s) to their camping equipment like cots and sleeping bags. The more you expose them to before you head out, the quicker they will adjust to their new surroundings.
Don’t forget to freshen up on building a tent, consider where you’ll keep your pet while setting up camp, and settle other details before you go. The more you do on the front end, the better the experience will be for everyone!
Hesitant to start your pet adventures alone? Let us take your pets on our adventure hikes as practice. We have limited spots available this time of year but we will do our best to get your wild one on the schedule. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-964-0464 to learn more.