Going on an RV trip often includes your four-legged family members
Many people enjoy taking their dogs with them on camping trips. You won’t have the expense of boarding them or paying a pet sitter, nor will you experience the guilt of leaving Fido behind. However, there are things to consider when it comes to dogs and camping. RV Advisor put together these tips for camping with dogs so you and your furry friends can have an enjoyable vacation.
1. Pick the right campground
This is perhaps the most important consideration when choosing where you want to go. Some campgrounds are more “pet-friendly” than others. Many don’t allow dogs at all, so you definitely want to plan ahead and research destinations. Our previous blog has a listing of pet-friendly campgrounds.
2. Know the campground rules
Aside from finding out if a campground allows pets, you also need to be aware of the campground’s pet rules. Some places require you to restrain a dog on a leash at all times, others have restrictions on where you can take pets. Every destination is different so be sure to check out the campground’s website before you go.
3. Know your dog’s personality
You really need to consider if your dog has the temperament to travel with you in an RV, not to mention being in close quarters to other campers (and possibly other dogs and animals).
Here are some questions to ask:
- How will your dog deal with being cooped up in an RV all day?
- Does your dog require a lot of exercise?
- How does your dog act with strangers, children, dogs or other animals?
- How does your dog react to noises?
- Is your dog rambunctious, excitable or liable to jump up on someone?
- Does your dog bark a lot?
- Will your dog be okay if it’s left alone in the RV for long periods while you’re off doing an activity?
4. Be a responsible dog owner
By responsible, we mean be considerate and practice proper dog owner etiquette. Always clean up after your dog and never leave messes behind for others to “discover” when they step in it.
Be courteous of other campers and do not allow your dog to bark incessantly at night or even during the day. If your dog does not play well with other dogs, be careful not to let them get into skirmishes with the pooch in the RV next door.
Also, brush up on your doggy training so Fido will follow spoken commands. This can be important for the safety of other campers, but also your dog. You will be out in nature, and it’s easy for your dog to eat the wrong thing or encounter wildlife. You don’t want your pet getting into a dangerous situation or eating something that could make him sick.
5. Go on a few practice runs
Before heading out on a long RV trip, try a few short camping sessions or go on several long hikes to see how your dog reacts. Some dogs love long walks, while others can be quite lazy. A dog that’s always indoors, or one with a nervous temperament, might find the outdoors scary so it’s good to know that ahead of time.
6. Packing for your dog
You’ll need to bring everything your dog will need with you. However, pack sensibly and don’t bring so much that there’s no room for anyone else, let alone the dog. Here are some suggestions:
- Water and food bowls (a travel water container/bowl will also be needed on hiking trails)
- Dog food and dog bones/treats
- Dog toys (ball, Frisbee, chew toys, etc.)
- Dog backpack if you take Fido on long hikes
- Sleeping pad, blanket or dog bed
- Reflective leash/collar and clip-on flashlight for night walks
- Dog first aid kit (see next item below)
Remember everything you bring has to be stored somewhere and you will have limited space, so pack accordingly.
7. Prepare for emergencies
Just like people can get hurt while camping, your dog might experience an injury on your trip. Be sure to bring a doggy first aid kit in case of emergency.
Here are some dog-specific first aid suggestions from Rover.com:
- A bandana for a makeshift muzzle
- Flat-blade tweezers and a small container of mineral oil for tick removal
- An emergency fold-up blanket for treating shock or cold
- A folding tool with needle-nose pliers for extracting a large thorn or porcupine quills
- Booties for protecting injured paws (toddler socks work great!)
- A small first aid book with instructions for treating pets
- The name, phone number, and directions of a nearby veterinarian or pet emergency clinic
- Dog tag with your contact information (name, cell phone, email) in case your dog gets lost
Camping with your dog can be a fantastic experience, but it takes careful planning and consideration. Be sure to use this guide from RV Advisor to help in planning your next Fido-approved RV vacation.