Here are some tips about traveling with pets, primarily dogs, in the desert according to rangers at Death Valley National Park. The advice is good, even in other places where you camp. For years, and perhaps even still today, the rangers in Death Valley kept a tally of how many pets were victims of coyotes, often when left alone outside RVs on a leash.
#1: Tip: Be careful where they sniff!
Venomous snakes, spiders, and scorpions use bushes and rocks for shelter and habitat. Fido’s nose is a big target if stuck down a hole in the ground or in the shade by a big rock.
#2: Tip: Do not leave your pet unattended
Refrain from leaving pets unattended or leashed out of view in your campsite. Coyotes have snatched resting pets from under RVs and inside fenced areas!
#3: Be careful with parked cars
Leaving pets in a parked vehicle is very dangerous. Heat builds up quickly. Even in 70 degree outside air temperature, a car can quickly reach heat high enough to cause brain damage, heat illness, and even death. In the desert heat, a car or RV can reach 90 or 100 degrees very fast.
#4: Water and food bowls should be secured
Don’t leave food or water unattended. This attracts coyotes and other critters, some of which could harm your pets. Place food bowls in your vehicle or camper during overnight hours.
#5: Don’t leave food out
And, we’ll add this piece of advice: No matter whether you’re in the desert or a mountain forest, keep all your food and food waste stored away to avoid attracting animals that might cause trouble—for pets and humans alike!