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Animals | Outdoors

Campsite Pet Etiquette

May 26, 2023

We all love our pets. Understandably, that means taking them with us everywhere – even camping. The problem is, not everyone loves your dog the way you do. With a little refresher in your campsite pet etiquette, your tent neighbors won’t have anything to complain about, and you’ll enjoy some quality time with your pet.

Legal vs. Logical

Let’s start with the big one: leashes. Does every dog need to remain on a leash everywhere you go? According to the U.S. Forest Service, no. The rule is really pretty simple, and breaks down into two parts.

Leashes are not required when you’re tent camping outside a campground. However, there is a catch. Your dog must be “under control at all times.” Under control means your dog will come when called.

Outside of campgrounds, every trail and national park has its own set of rules depending on the time of year. Yes, dog lease rules change with the season, so the more versed you are on rules, the less likely you will be to get a fine. Just check in with a ranger or visit the park’s rules online before you let Fido off the chain.

Pooper Scooper

This one should go without saying, but always pick up after your pet. That doesn’t mean just kicking the pile off the trail and into the brush. Park officials require dog owners use plastic bags to pick up pet waste and drop it into proper receptacles. In other words, pack it out.

Class Act

Your dog doesn’t need to be a star pupil, but some basics such as “sit” and “stay” are a must when camping. Also, teaching your dog proper socialization skills will help deter fears when meeting other dogs, small children, or wary camping companions.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Howling and barking can be a problem for dog owners when camping. Not only is it embarrassing when your dog goes nuts at 3:00 AM, but it will likely cause friction with other campers too. Using specialized shock or sound collars can help curb Sparky’s tendency toward howling at the wrong moment.

Leaving Your Dog at Camp

Most campgrounds clearly state that dogs cannot be left alone in tents, cars, RVs or campers. Sure, your dog is perfect and would never bark when you’re not there. But once you are outside ear range, your sweet little pooch could become a whining menace. Just take him with you and you’ll never need to wonder if he’s good when you’re gone.

Keep a Lid on it

Bears and raccoons love dog food. Instead of inviting predators into your campground, keep your dog’s food in an airtight container until they’re ready to eat. Then lock it back up when they’re done. It’s a pain. But, explaining why a bear broke a cooler or two at your neighbor’s site can be even more painful.

You’ll Find Just What the Country Needs

Looking for all the gear you need to make your next outing with your pet pure fun? Coastal has collars and leashes, crates and more. Stop by your Coastal and go home with all the gear you need for your country lifestyle.