Perhaps you’ve seen my German Shepherd, Wyatt, at your favorite campground. He’s the handsome, pointy-eared fella who greets everyone with high pitched, enthusiastic barks. As a result, whenever we pull into a campground we pay careful attention to his behavior (and ours) in order to reduce people’s anxiety about big, loud dogs. We are especially mindful of the impression we leave because all around the country, RV park owners are banning dogs as a result of irresponsible pet parents.
Pet etiquette is key to keeping our companions welcome where we travel. If you’re a pet parent who loves RVing with an animal companion, you can help ensure campgrounds continue welcoming dogs, cats and other critters by practicing a few simple pet etiquette habits. Because whether you have a big, active dog or a laid-back feline fluff ball, nearly every RVing animal leaves an impression. Let’s work together to ensure it’s a good one.
Take Fido With You
If you have a vocally expressive dog like mine, try to remember that even the best RV has thin walls. When you’re away and Rover is home alone, your neighbors can probably hear the cries in their rig. Dogs bark when they’re lonely, so if at all possible, why not just take your dog with you? On the rare occasion when your animal is better off alone in the RV, you’ll find that interactive games and puzzles made just for pets can help alleviate boredom and anxiousness. But before you leave Fido at home alone, take a minute to consider the current weather conditions; if it’s hot and you’re leaving the air conditioning on, remember that power failures in RV parks are common. For safety and peace of mind, consider asking a pet-friendly neighbor to check on your animal while you’re away.
Enjoy the Outdoors Together
Many times RV sites are separated by a thin strip of grass, which is where many pet parents like to set out exercise pens and tie-outs for their dogs or cats. Unfortunately, dogs who are left unattended in a “yard” often create nuisance noise by barking at everything that moves near their domain, while cats left on a tie-out are an instant snack for off-leash dogs. Even worse, dogs who relieve themselves on the park’s grassy areas will leave urine markings that can irritate park owners. Instead of leaving your dog or cat unsupervised on a tie-out, why not pull up a chair and enjoy the fresh air together?
Practice Poop Patrol
Speaking of elimination, it goes without saying that good pet parents picks up their animal’s excrement in public places, but unfortunately, some irresponsible pet parents still don’t do it. When heading out on a walk, remember to carry two poop bags – one for your dog’s poop and a second one to scoop up after the person who left their dog or cat’s excrement behind. The less stray poop around the RV park, the happier management will be when we show up with our pets.
Don’t Assume All Dogs Are Friendly
If your playful dog wants to romp with other camping canines, first check with the dog’s human to ensure that it’s OK to approach. Since some dogs can be aggressive when meeting new canines, you’ll ensure everyone’s safety if you know a little about the potential playmate before walking into their space. If you get the go-ahead to approach, walk up cautiously but confidently. Pay attention to the dog’s body language and retreat if the dog seems nervous. Practicing good pet etiquette tends to leave a great impression about dogs on campground residents.
Pet Etiquette Extends to Feline Fun
More RVers are traveling with cats and since felines need to enjoy fresh air too, many RV’ers are creating innovative contraptions that allow their cats to safely enjoy the outdoors. For example, some people are turning their basement storage areas into a screened play area that gives their cat a bird’s eye view of their surroundings – as well as a great place to keep the litter box. The great outdoors are a natural place to have fun with our animal companions. By practicing good pet etiquette and working together to leave good impressions about our furry family members, we can ensure that the welcome mat stays out for all critters at campgrounds and parks across the globe. Certainly pet etiquette is something that affects many of us, regardless of if you travel with pets or not. Please share this with your friends and family to help make everyone’s next campground or RV park visit that much more enjoyable!