Bringing your pets on a camping trip is all fun and games, right? Wrong. While having a furry companion can make your family trip even more special, there are some guidelines you should follow to ensure you (and those around you) have a good experience. In honor of National Dog Day, here are some Dos and Don’ts of Camping with Pets:

Do: Bring at least two leashes per pet – Most pet-friendly campgrounds require pets to be on a leash at all time, so it’s a good idea to bring a back-up leash in case one breaks or gets misplaced.

Don’t: Let your pet run wild – While it’s important for dogs to get their exercise, most campgrounds (and fellow campers) will not appreciate your pet roaming around the campgrounds unsupervised. This kind of behavior can be dangerous for the pet, children, and it can get you kicked off the campsite.

Do: Make frequent stops on the road – Most dogs aren’t used to being on long road trips, so keep them comfortable and happy by letting them get some fresh air and use the bathroom several times during your journey. Just make sure you keep them on a tight leash (literally) when you’re at a rest stop to keep them out of harm’s way.

Don’t: Forget to bring cleaning supplies – You may think you know your dogs bladder better than they do, but having proper cleaning supplies, carpet cleaner, and pee pads stored in your RV will come in handy if you are unable to stop or mistime your dogs’ bathroom needs.

Owner walking with Golden Retriever dog together in park

Do: Research your campsites ahead of time – There’s nothing worse than showing up to a campground to find that they’re not pet-friendly. Most campgrounds post their pet policies online, but if you can’t find it, just give them a call.

Don’t: Be Neglectful – Just because a campground is pet-friendly, doesn’t mean your dog can go or do whatever they want. As an owner, it is your responsibility to clean up after your dog (that

Yellow Labrador Retriever sniffing around a fire hydrant.

means bring poop bags) and make sure they don’t go in any pet-restricted areas.

Do: Enjoy Your Dog’s Company – It’s perfectly acceptable to play with your dog in the open parks or walk them along the trails of the campsite. After all, what’s the point of bringing your pup if you can’t spend time with them?

Don’t: Leave your dog in the RV – We hear a lot of complaints from RVers and campers who have to listen to other people’s dogs barking in RVs all day long. Be respectful of others and make sure your dog isn’t left in the RV for any long periods of time.

Do: Bring bug spray, medical records, and ID – We hope you don’t have to deal with ticks or a lost dog during your camping trip, but it’s better to be prepared ahead of time.

Don’t: Rely on the camp store – Camp stores often have a great supply of food, drinks, camping supplies, etc., but they’re usually catered toward humans. Make sure you bring your own dog food, water, and toys so you don’t have to make an emergency trip to the closest town.

Now that you know your Dos and Don’ts, start researching some pet-friendly campgrounds near you! With the weather finally cooling down, now is a perfect time to bring your pets on the road.

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