Camping Etiquette for Pets and Their People

Camping is a fantastic way to spend time with our pets! Sunny days spent exploring nature… and calm, starry nights by the campfire. And if we follow proper camping rules with our pets, we are good camping neighbors and also help ensure that the camping facilities we visit remain pet-friendly.

Camping Etiquette for Pets and Their People

Camping is in our DNA. Who doesn’t like sharing marshmallows while enjoying moments of conviviality! But we also have the responsibility to follow the good rules of camping with our pets.

The irresponsible behavior of a few pet owners can lead campground owners to ban pets altogether. We must therefore be considerate guests, to ensure that we are all being able to go camping with our best friends in the future!

Pet Friendly Camping Etiquette

We all want to be considerate campers, especially when traveling with our pets. But unless you camp a lot, it can be difficult to determine which behaviors to avoid. Traveling full-time in our campervan for 12 years has taught us a lot. Here are our tips for your next camping trip:

1. Follow the rules – This should go without saying, but make sure you read and follow the rules. Campground restrictions vary widely, from acceptable leash length to areas where pets cannot go. In some campgrounds, animals cannot be left unattended, even inside your camper or camper. One campground even told us that animals were not allowed to walk on the park’s roads and trails! It is therefore important to ask about the campsite’s pet policy before making your reservation.

2. On a leash – Pet leashes are required at almost all campgrounds, for everyone’s safety and happiness. Even if your dog is perfectly behaved off-leash, a campground is not a place to show off his skills. Some people and pets at campgrounds may be afraid of dogs, and subjecting them to the sight of a dog without visible restraint is inconsiderate and unfair.

READ MORE ⇒ Beginner’s Guide to Camping with Dogs

Man walking dog on paved path at Canyon of the Ancients National Monument - Delores, CO

3. Always, always, ALWAYS Pick up – Abandoned dog waste is a major consideration when parks, beaches and campgrounds decide whether or not to accept pets. You may think that your dog’s waste has no impact, but multiply that waste by hundreds or thousands of dogs over time, and it’s easy to imagine things adding up!

You can even do everything you can to make things better. When picking up after your dog, if you see any leftover trash, pick that up too. You will help preserve the reputation of all dog owners.

4. Beware of noise – Camping is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. And nothing will disrupt a peaceful experience more quickly than a dog’s prolonged, heartbreaking grievances. So do your best to keep your pets quiet. Having treats on hand will help distract your dog from squirrels, other dogs, or anything that might cause barking.

Brindle dog lying in the sun while camping in Arizona

Leave your dog alone

One of the biggest pet complaints is dogs being disruptive when alone in the campground. So, if possible, take your pets with you when you leave the campsite. Finding pet-friendly activities you can do together is easy GoPetFriendly Website.

If you must leave your pet alone for a while, make sure he or she feels comfortable before you leave. Here’s a quick way to gauge your dog’s reaction before you leave him:

  • Start by providing your puppy with a puzzle or stuffed toy to keep him occupied.
  • Turn on some soothing music and draw all the shades in your camper or camper.
  • Exit as if you were leaving and move your car to the other side of the campground. Then return to your campsite and wait 5 or 10 minutes to see what happens.

If your dog is barking, there is work to be done before you leave him alone. Training your dog to stay calm while increasing the intervals you are away takes a lot of patience. But in the end, you’ll both be happy campers.

Brindle puppy sitting at the top of the stairs in a camper van

Think twice about tethering

Many campsites do not allow you to leave your dog tied up outside – and for good reason! Animals left tethered can become prey for wild predators in the area. Sometimes stray children wander there and surprise them. And getting tangled in the tether and injured is another concern. So whenever you tie up your pet, stay outside with him.

Good pet camping etiquette also means keeping your dog far enough away from walking trails that he can’t approach people and other pets passing by.

Finally, make a zip line for dogs is a better solution than a tether to keep your dog safe and happy.

READ MORE ⇒ Make Camping Fun with a Zipline for Your Dog

Brindle dog on a zip line while camping at a pet-friendly campground overlooking a lake

Give others their space

Camping is an opportunity to relax and escape. This could mean that some people and their pets would prefer not to interact. Always ask before approaching another dog. And be understanding if your social advances are not reciprocated.

Brindle dog with its tongue sticking out, laying on an orange mat at a pet-friendly campground

Train all the time

Each new environment or experience provides a wonderful opportunity to expand your dog’s training. And old dogs can definitely learn new tricks!

Camping provides countless opportunities to practice commands such as come, sit and go. And the time you spend training your dog builds his confidence and strengthens your relationship.

Red brindle colored dog and harness sitting in a field with a lake in the background

Don’t spread bugs

Some campgrounds will ask for your pet’s vaccination record. But even if not, make sure your friend is healthy and up to date on their vaccinations before taking them to an area with a high concentration of pets.

Before your camping trip, research the area you will be visiting and discuss any health concerns with your veterinarian. Specifically, ask if you should consider flea or tick prevention. Also talk to your veterinarian about contagious diseases that might be present, such as dog flu.

Brindle dog sitting in front of a laptop looking at the screen

Watch where you step

Some campgrounds offer a designated “pet walking” area for dogs to do their business. It’s not always possible to get your pet there (especially early in the morning) unless you transport or drive them, but do your best.

Whether or not there is a specific pet walking area, never let your dog explore someone else’s campsite or relieve himself on their tires, chairs, or other personal belongings. Retractable leashes seem to be the most problematic in this situation, so be especially aware of where your dog is if that’s the type of leash you’re using.

Brindle dog in a red harness laying on a blue rug while camping in the desert

Know when to leave

Dogs can have bad days. Or maybe your pup just isn’t ready for his first big camping trip. But you can’t know unless you try! So start by planning short stays. And be prepared to walk away if things don’t work out.

Remember, this is supposed to be fun. So if you and your dog don’t like it, don’t suffer. Try again another day.

Close-up of brindle dog with its mouth wide open

Following camping etiquette with your pets takes a little effort. But you will leave behind an excellent impression of all travelers with pets as considerate and responsible guests. Thank you for doing your part to ensure we all have the opportunity to camp with our pets in the future!

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