As of 2023, 66% of U.S. households own a pet, compared to 56% in 1988. We understand that pets are more than just household companions, they’re cherished family members who are a joy to bring along on life’s adventures. We teamed up with experienced pet parent, Cheyenne Ammons, who camps alongside canine pal, Diesel, to give you tips and tricks for creating the best outdoor experiences for your furry friend.
He is a 3-year-old Fox Red Labrador Retriever.
How long have you been camping and including Diesel?
I’ve always loved the outdoors. I grew up camping, hiking and fishing in Washington State, so I was raised in a very outdoorsy family. From day one having Diesel, he has been going everywhere with me – no matter the trip or the state.
What kind of adventures do you like to take with Diesel?
I love a good road trip with Diesel, and I enjoy taking him to parks with scenic overlooks and a good place to swim.
Pro tip: Grelle Recreation Area has both!
What are the essential items you bring when exploring with your pup?
I have a “doggie diaper bag” for Diesel that I always bring whenever we travel or take adventures. It contains spare food (even if it is just a day trip), lots of water, a cooling harness, booties, food/water dishes, spare leash and collar, and dog treats.
Pro tip: Several pet retailers now sell first aid kits specifically for dogs.
What is the primary thing you look for in a park when camping with your pet?
Dog friendly hikes! Some parks allow dogs within the park boundaries, but not all parks allow dogs on the trails, unfortunately. I’ve visited other park systems that allow dogs to go “only where cars can go.”
Pro tip: Since LCRA Parks is a pet-friendly park system, we allow dogs on trails, and off leash, as long as they are under their owner’s direct control. You can even stay overnight in certain cabins at Black Rock Park and Lake Bastrop South Shore Park.
How do you search for pet-friendly accommodations?
I always check BringFido first; it’s a site that actually specializes in pet travel. Next, I check other online sources like Airbnb and social media. I specifically search “Texas dog-friendly stays” on Instagram and TikTok and have found some really cool places!
What is a common mistake people make when traveling with their pet?
Not bringing enough water, especially here in the Texas heat. It was nice to see water spigots at the Lake Bastrop South Shore Park cabins.
Diesel’s favorite thing about being outdoors is running free and smelling everything. His second favorite is swimming-as long as he is wearing his life vest; he doesn’t know how to swim without it.
How do you navigate changing weather and seasons, ensuring both your safety and Diesel’s?
I am always checking the weather and radar apps on my phone. If severe weather chances increase, such as tornadoes, flash flooding and thunderstorms), we always “play it safe” and reschedule our trip.
If we do get caught in bad weather (which we have), Diesel remains on leash at all times so that we can quickly make it back to our car or shelter. Diesel always has my phone number on his dog identification tags just in case he ever does get away from me while we are traveling.
How do you ensure Diesel stays comfortable during long car rides or flights when traveling?
I make sure he has a comfy bed to lay on and a blanket if it’s supposed to be cooler. I also bring a t-shirt that smells like me and one of his favorite toys (which is a giant Lamb Chop).
For flights, I always make sure he has food and water in his crate, as well as some strapped to the top of his crate-in case of a layover-the flight crew will feed him.
On long road trips, I make sure to stop often for him to release some energy, so he sleeps more while traveling. I’m also conscious of his number of bathroom breaks.
What advice do you have for first-time pet travelers to ensure a smooth experience?
No matter how you are traveling, be sure to get your dog used to or comfortable in their travel crate before your trip!