Practicing good “petiquette” is essential when traveling with your furry family, especially when RVing. While the outdoors may seem like the perfect place for dogs to be dogs, campsites are intended to be peaceful retreats. So it’s important to keep Fido on his best behavior. Following a few simple guidelines will keep you, your pet, and other campers safe and happy.
The Dos and Don’ts of Camping With Pets
Going on an RV trip with your furry friend? Check out this expert advice from BringFido!
Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended
Before you decide to take Fido camping, find out where pets are permitted throughout the campground. In most cases, dogs are not allowed in restrooms, showerhouses, camp stores, and offices, and sometimes in picnic areas or on certain trails or beaches. If you’re camping without other humans, you’ll need a backup plan for visiting these facilities. Never leave your pooch unattended outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Do Keep Your Pet Leashed
Unless you’re visiting a campground’s off-leash dog park or beach, your canine camper should be on a leash at all times. Not only is it a rule, but keeping your dog on a leash will protect him from coming into contact with wildlife and potential hazards. Avoid retractable leashes and keep your pooch close beside you when out on a walk. Most campgrounds require a leash no longer than six feet, though some may have rules for shorter lengths. If you’re going to be using a tie-out stake or cable system at your campsite, always use a harness, and never let your pup out of sight.
Don’t Assume Everyone is a Fan of Fido
Because camping is generally an easy way to travel with dogs, many families bring them along on the adventure. In fact, at some of the most pet-friendly campgrounds, it can feel like there’s a dog at every campsite. But while those of us with a love for wet noses are typically excited to meet other canines out and about, it’s important to remember that not everyone is a fan of animals. Avoid letting your four-legged social butterfly approach other campers or pets without first asking, and never walk your pet through other campsites.
Do Clean Up After Your Pup
When it’s time for Fido to do his business, make sure you walk him away from other campers and areas where people may congregate. Always carry an abundance of waste bags and never leave anything behind. Even if your pup does his business off the trail, while in the backcountry, or in the campground’s dog park, it’s important to pick up after your pooch to avoid contaminating groundwater, spreading disease, or ruining another camper’s day. Also avoid tossing pet waste in indoor receptacles like in a restroom or bathhouse, or near building entrances.
Don’t Let Fido Bark Unnecessarily
A campground can be a busy place with a lot of commotion. Fido will likely hear noises and see other campers, dogs, or wildlife that might ruffle his fur. Just as he can hear noises from outside, neighboring campers can hear him, even from inside an RV or camper. Before camping with your pet, practice basic obedience training and keep your pooch from causing a raucous.
Do Properly Store Pet Food
Curious critters have learned that campgrounds are the perfect place for a smorgasbord, and they’ll do whatever it takes to enjoy a tasty meal. When Fido’s dinner time rolls around, be sure to supervise him and don’t leave any pet food out in the open. If you’re not camping in an RV or camper where your pet’s food can be safely stored away, use an animal-proof container like a Rat Sack or bear canister to prevent squirrels, raccoons, mice or even bears from ruining your pup’s favorite part of the trip.
Don’t Forget the Essentials
In addition to your pet’s food, leash, and waste bags, be sure to bring along basic necessities like food and water bowls, a bed or blanket, toys to keep him occupied, and medications. You’ll also need to bring plenty of water for both you and your pup if you’re going to be backpacking or primitive camping. Also remember to bring along Fido’s paperwork, or upload it to your BringFido account for easy access. Your pet’s collar or harness should include proper identification and it’s a good idea to have a recent, hard-copy photo of your pet in the event he gets lost or separated
Do Prepare for the Unexpected
Mother nature can be unpredictable and you never know what you’ll encounter in the great outdoors, so before you head out on a camping adventure with Fido, be sure you’re prepared for anything that might dampen your good time. Have an emergency plan in place in case of severe weather, injuries or illness, wildlife encounters, or other unexpected circumstances. Make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations, and flea, tick, and heartworm preventative. Also include a pet first aid kit in your RV or camper.
Don’t Forget to Take Time to Enjoy the Moment
One of the greatest benefits of camping is being able to unplug and focus on the moment. Spending quality time with your pet in the outdoors will strengthen your bond and provide you with life-long memories. Remember to put away your devices and set aside your to-do list, and enjoy your adventure with your furry best friend.