Camping season is upon us. The nights are cool, the air is fresh. What better way to unplug and unwind than by spending time with your best friend in the Great Outdoors underneath a canopy of stars? It's important to make sure that you and your furry friend have the best and safest camping experience, so we've included some things to keep in mind before your expedition.

Assess your pet's camp-readiness. Lounge hounds might be better suited to a relaxed family campsite, while daring, athletic pups would do well on backpacking ventures. Be advised that Pugs, Frenchies, and other short-nosed breeds would not fare well outdoors. Cats can be campers as well, just make sure they won't roam away from your site and get lost.

Know campground regulations before you go. Rules regarding pets vary from campsite to campsite - know before you go to save yourself some trouble. Check county, state, and national park websites or the U.S. Forestry Service for pet-specific regulations.

Start with a vet check. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all their vaccines, as well as heartworm, flea, and tick prevention. Keep a copy of your pet's vaccine records in your car, along with their identification info, health history, vet contact, and your contact information as well. Make sure their ID tags and microchip information are current.

Pack a pet suitcase. Include food, bowls, leashes, blankets, toys, combs, waste bags, and any medications your pet might need. Be sure to pack plenty of water - you don't want your pet drinking salt water or standing water as they can become ill.

Pack a pet first aid kit. Some of these items may be in your own first aid kit. Gauze, self-clinging bandages, flat-bladed tweezers, pet-safe sunscreen and insect repellent, dog booties, and tongue suppressors are all useful items.

Make your space cozy. Make sure your pet has a comfortable, warm, dry place to sleep. Bring items that smell like home to ease their anxiety. If they are crate trained, bring their crate as well; this doubles as a safe way of securing your pet. Before your trip, familiarize your pet with flashlights, tools, tents, sleeping bags, and other items you'll use to keep them from being alarmed.

Uphold campsite etiquette. Not everyone loves cats and dogs the way you do. Be respectful of your neighbors. Keep your pet leashed and pick up after them. Consider bringing a stake and cable to safely restrain your dog. Do not leave your pet unsupervised at the campsite, in a vehicle, or on the trail.

Protect the paws. If you'll be walking on uneven, rocky, or hot terrain consider getting your dog some booties to protect them from scrapes, sores, or cuts.

Perform a daily tick check. Run your hands over your pet's body, including their face, neck, and ears, and remove any ticks immediately. Give yourself the tick check, as well.

Camping with your furbaby is an excellent way to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature while bonding with your best friend.  As long as you're prepared, you and your furry friend can have a pleasant and safe wilderness experience.