5 Tips for Camping with Pets

5 Tips for Camping with Pets #KOACamping
March 30, 2015

If you enjoy camping, and you love your pets, odds are that sooner or later you’ll combine the two (if you haven’t already). KOA welcomes a variety of four-legged friends to our campgrounds; in fact, many have added Kamp K-9 pet parks just for them.

Whether you’re going to be camping with your pet for the first time or just need a reminder as camping season gets closer, this article may provide some helpful hints for you. And best of all, most of them come from other KOA campers.

1) The Essentials

The number one thing that campers recommend is bringing water from home or using bottled water rather than tap water at the campground. Even if it is perfectly potable, a change in the animal’s water —just as with some human campers—can cause acute stomach upset.

If you can’t carry enough water with you for your entire camping getaway, look for other options like camper Linnea Ekman. “I use the water from the ice chest,” she says. “It’s been processed and [is] less likely to cause upset.” Sharon Kettler, who camps with three dogs, says that they always bring along a small animal emergency kit and electrolyte water. She cautions, “If you are camping near the ocean it is important not to let them drink the salt water it makes them very sick.”

In addition to food and water, one of the big essentials is to keep a current copy of your pets’ health records with you. That way, if an unexpected trip to the vet is necessary while you’re on the road, you’ll have all the information you need with you.

If your pet already suffers from health concerns, make sure to prepare for their special needs as part of your essentials planning like Tammy Couch Kasserman. “Since my dog has a sensitive stomach we take along 10 milligrams of Pepcid AC and mix it with stage one baby food, cottage cheese or cheese,” she says. “We have avoided many trips to the vet on the road.”

Also, as many of our camping contributors mentioned, there are some realities of taking pets camping that fall into the essential category. “Don’t forget the Poo Bags!” says Lace Bopp. “Kamp K9 isn’t always really close if it’s a big kampground so your pet will have to make do when making doo! So be responsible and pick up after them.”
5 Tips for Camping with Pets #KOACamping
2) Creature Comforts

When traveling, pets need a dose of the familiar in the form of their favorite foods, toys and bedding. Or, as Debbie Roark wrote, “Your kids bring their pillow and stuffed animal, why can’t the dog as well?”

“We travel with two goldens and they are very good RV’ers,” says Janis Piccarreto. “We bring along their beds to set up under the awning so they have their familiar space.”

Virginia Birsner Griffin always carries a mat for her dog to lay on in her camping gear. “Some sites are mainly dirt or gravel,” she says. “We recently had that happen, so now we travel with an old piece of carpet for when we are sitting outside.”

“We don’t go any where without the camper dog toy box,” Kathy Rohwedder says. “Same toys that are at home. A must is the Kong and the peanut butter. We also know where the nearest Petsmart is so they can have a spa day while on vacation.”

3) Just In Case

“Expect the unexpected” is a motto that campers and pet owners both understand well. Taking the time to pack extra leashes and collars, for instance, means that you don’t have to take time away from your camping adventure to purchase new ones.

According to camper Michelle Doyle-Hussey, “We have our cat travel in the truck and roam free but we also bring the kennel cab in case something happens on the road and we need to secure him somewhere. We would not be able to put him in the hot closed up trailer for too long if stuck on the side of the road.”

Cathy Olivier, like other campers, also does a little pre-planning before she hits the road with her pet. “Do some research online for e-vets as well as dog daycares in the area you will be camping,” she recommends. “Call day cares ahead of time to discuss their policies, costs, drop-in hours and records you’ll need.”

“I always find the emergency vets in the area we are traveling,” says Jennifer Moser Brooks. “[And we] always have liquid Benadryl on hand.” She also encouraged other campers to take bug repellent for their pets, makings sure ahead of time that it is safe for animals.

Bringing an extra leash for her four-legged friend is just one precaution Samantha Schneierlochner takes. “We bring his life vest if he wants to swim,” she says, “and usually a warm blanket for the cold nights with no heat.”

5 Tips for Camping with Pets #KOACamping

4) And Don’t Forget…

If your pets have never camped before, it’s important to properly prepare them prior to taking them to the campground. Close quarters, new surroundings and lots of new people can be difficult for pets to process.

“Try to have your dog socialized before you take them camping,” suggests Jackie Scott. “Ours have camped since they were 6 weeks old. They don’t really even pay attention to other dogs that stop to visit on our campsite.”

Make sure that your pet is comfortable being on a leash or otherwise restrained, and that they obey your commands, such as coming when called and staying close to you. If your pet has behavior problems, barks in your absence or is aggressive around other people or animals, it may dampen the fun of your camping experience as well as that of others around you.

5) Other recommendations made by KOA campers included the following:

  • “Make sure you do not leave the dog’s food dish out if you are around seagulls. While coming back from walking the dog as we approached the trailer I noticed seagulls everywhere they got in to the food dish, and left behind a seagull waste covered campsite.” –Pete Williams
  • “Take an exercise pen (available at most pet stores). [It’s] foldable and keeps the dog within reach. The dog stake that [you] attach a leash to is usually too long and can cause problems for other campers.” –Lory Atchley Calabrese
  • “Never leave your dog unattended and always on a leash unless in a dog pen.” –Barbara Sauer Scott Hood
  • “[A] brush is handy if you have dogs like ours who like the water and are long-haired (although we do often shave them before summer outings). And your camera–pet pics on vacation are great!” –Tia Harmon
  • “Cats camp too! Our cats love camping, love being outside and do not do leashes! We have a screen house (which is attached to our RV so they can come out/go in) to keep them contained while we are running around. During the late evenings and early mornings they have supervised outings. They love it!” –Christi Baker
  • “[We] always walk our pet with a flashlight… not to see where we are going to to wear his little behind out before bed! He is a bit obsessive thanks to a laser light. We run the light up and down the path, he chases it and it wears him out like nothing else. He tends to sleep better and longer when he is tired out and he pays less attention to outside noises that could make him an unwanted neighbor in the campground (i.e. barking).” –Janet Thompson
  • “I always carry extra food just in case, aspirin for aches and pains, the ASPCA has stickers available to let people know your dog is in the trailer in case of emergency and either use a crate in the vehicle or a seatbelt made just for dogs.” –Robin Deibert
  • “Put a tag on dogs with your cellphone number.” –Jesse Reeve
  • “Put an updated picture of your dog with your vet/rabies shot records. What would you do if your dog went missing?” –Judy Schnebly
  • “Always call the campground ahead to verify their insurance allows your dog type (We have a lab/pit bull mix).” –Brian Loomis
  • “One thing to remember is to keep dogs treated for flea/tick and heartworm year-round. A quick trip for a weekend can take us from winter to summer temps.” Dennis B. Miller

5 Tips for Camping with Pets #KOACamping

Do you have any pet camping tips you’d like to tell us about? Share them in the comments below.

  • rklepper

    Leave pets at home. They are safer and others do not need to put up with your pets.

    • Ed

      I would much rather be with a pet when camping than meet an angry, unfriendly person like you.

      • Marie

        rklepper sounds like a narrow minded individual who probably never steps outside his rv once he sets up, and I wouldn’t trust him around my pet.

      • Jesse

        Good for you Ed

    • Charlene Stam

      I am a 69 year old women, and I love to travel. My constant companion and best friend is a 80 pound black lab. I keep track of her and clean up after her anyplace we go. She is no more disruptive than other campers children. I dont complain about the kids being noisy or playing around my camper. After all it is the out of doors. Quiet time and campground rules should be obeyed by all campers. Dont punish one group because of a few bad apples. I would be very loney without my canine companion Charlene Stam

    • Melissa

      I think they should leave you at home.

    • Terry

      I think YOU are the one who needs to stay home. You sound like a miserable, unfriendly person.
      And I would much rather have my dogs safely WITH me than in some kennel by themselves.
      As long as people can bring unruly, ill-mannered kids to campgrounds, then my well-behaved QUIET dogs should be welcome too. They are MUCH better behaved (and alot smarter than most kids I’ve met too).

  • Tom Thumb

    keep your pets at home, they don’t belong at a campground, bad owners ruined it for all

    • Terry

      My dogs belong at a campground as much as you do! Maybe even more so, since they are FRIENDLY and well-mannered unlike some people!!

    • Richard Lum

      Maybe you should stay home, then you wouldn’t be bothered with pets. I know I have seen worse childern in campgrounds. Maybe you want them to stay home also.

  • Wayne

    I think a well trained owner is the best. Like a parent that let’s their kid get spoiled rotten and become a pain in the rear to everyone around.

  • Karen Harbert

    We travel with purebred show dogs and usually combine a vacation with a dog show in the area. We keep a looseleaf notebook with many camping tips including our setup/departure checklists and the check-in maps from our favorite campgrounds. Also in the notebook is a sheet for each dog that I’ve printed with a good quality photo of the dog, the complete health record, my home vet’s address and phone, the dog’s microchip number. Everything we could possibly need in case of emergency. Our dogs always travel in sturdy crates for their safety and ours.

    Oh yes, and a large supply of pick-up bags.

  • Bonnie Giacovelli

    A couple of must haves for traveling with your pets is to make sure they are microchipped. Collars can get tangled and come off if your dog got loose and panics. This will make sure that your dog still has some type of identification. Also, bringing baby wipes and waterless shampoo with you are a quick and easy way to deal with any unplanned messes that may occur.

  • E. Paulette Fulmer

    When we travel, we have purchased bottled water; however, last year at KOA, we brought a Britta pitcher and used it instead. We thought it worked well, tasted fine, and was less expensive and cumbersome. Also, we transport our dogs in their kennels, and when the weather is nice, not too hot or cold, they can share down time outside with us. We also have bark collars, which we don’t really like, but no one wants to hear dogs barking at other dogs or people. Sometimes the collars are not turned on, but our dogs don’t know that. Shhhh.

    • Aspen & Dakota

      Our humans bring some bottled water also but have been using a PUR water pitcher even for our recently departed Husky Shepherd mix brother. We drink so much that they are thinking to try to squeeze two pitchers in for this camping season!

      • Coal W

        My humans love dogs and me in particular. Mom, Dad, and our boys would bring bottled water if I needed it, I’m sure. It’s just that I like drinking the water from the lakes and streams I play in, so it doesn’t really matter about the water. I just wish they’d bring the couch from the living room for me to sleep on. They won’t let me on the air matress in the tent.

    • Jan

      We use a charcoal filter on the water line into the trailer- it is just as good as a brita filter, I then use large water bottles to take with us on our day trips with the dog.

  • Pat

    I would not think of leaving our cat and dog at home while we go on a trip.
    Some people who don’t like animals, are not people who like other people either. So set your lawn chair facing your rig and don’t bother us animal lovers as we walk our friends ….and if our friends could talk I bet they would talk about the old sourpuss crouches.

  • donna ingle

    we have traveled a few times with our kitten. the looks we get from people seeing a cat in a harness on a long line is priceless. she doesn’t too much like dogs and she stays away from people she doesn’t know. we are empty nesters and enjoy the company we get from her. i got one of those pre-packaged litter boxes, but since she is used to more litter , i take along a box to fill it more. a bag with a scoop, poo bags, rose scented bags as to double bag it. i have two half gallon containers one for filtered water from the fridge and the other for her food, it holds 5 days worth. so far we haven’t gone more that 3 days at a time, but we are looking forward to more days. if we travel for more days we are thinking about taking her to our vets vacation kennel, if you want to sight see in alot of places you can’t take your kitten in there. it wouldn’t be fair to her to sit in her crate all day without being able to poo.

  • Eric Bean

    If you will be taking your pets on walks on dirt or gravel trails get them a set of good hard soled dog boots. we took our two Border Collies to Utah last year and all the places we hiked were dirt and rock, some rock sharp enough to cut my boots. can’t imagine what it might have done to their pads. also great for hot blacktop or cold and snow. and no stickers to pull out of a upset dogs foot.

    • Jan

      Pink skinned noses and pink onthe foot pads also get burned easier than the dark skinned noses and pads.

  • Burt

    We traveled in a van camper for many summers. Our cat enjoyed traveling, if we prepared her with short rides for a week before we left. She stayed inside all the time except for enjoying walks wearing a harness and leash. She wore the harness all the time we were away from home. We used bottled water for all of us. It is not expensive by the gallon.

  • Ted

    If you take your dog walking in ‘wild’ areas, or in some cases, even in the campground don’t forget to look out for snakes. Dogs are more likely to get bitten because they are always investigating and poking their noses into places. There is a rattlesnake anti-venom shot available for dogs, some vets post it in their clinics, others you have to ask for it. It might take a few days for the vet to get it, but it is worth the wait. Our dog, Jewel, gets a ‘rattlesnake’ booster every year. Her mother was killed by a rattlesnake bite!

  • Scott Wall

    I have had many more problems with bad people at campsites than bad animals. Actually I have had many more problems with bad parents that don’t control their kids. How about this. Bring the dogs and leave the kids at home in a crate.

    • Phil Bowman

      sad to say, this is the truth more often than not.

  • Maddie

    For the people who hate pets–you have issues that you need to deal with —I agree that certain owners have ruined it for some campers but a true pet actually owns their people not vice a versa. We have all observed the people who tie the “pets” out and let them wander in a 50′ radius of the site.
    We have all policed our sites to clean up waste (pet or human) prior to letting our kids/pets outside. The people we need to address, are the same class of people that toss their plastics into the fire pit or blast the outside widescreen TV at max volume. They most likely are not happy people and have other issues besides not being able to properly care for their pet.
    But then there are the majority of people who are able to travel/RV—their dog is their life and a replacement for the kids/grand kids who can not travel with them.. Sorry if you disagree but I have my/our opinion…

  • Dog Lover

    I agree that there are some inconsiderate dog owners, but we aren’t all bad. We socialized them right from the day we got them. Regardless of what images you have of Chihuahuas, we have been asked by our vet to bring our “kids” in just to visit because they are such little lovers. We take more responsibility for them than a lot of parents do for their kids and I assure you that our dogs behave a lot better than the children. Camping is a public event and we have met a lot of great people out there so please let’s not get into any debates and just be responsible campers that clean up, are friendly and very considerate to all the others who have the right to be out there as well. Happy camping in 2011!!!

  • Jan Higgins

    One of the reasons that we RV is because we can bring our dog with us. Why would you have a pet if you have to leave it at home. Next those who don’t want dogs in campgrounds will be telling you to keep your kids at home too.

  • Debbie

    Wow – some very angry campers here…….I thought camping was suppose to be a fun family time. Family time involves pets. I do agree that if your pets are out of control, it may be better to leave them at home. But what is wrong with well behaved pets? We camp and many, many people have dog(s) and I have also seen some cats. I only know of one instance where there was a problematic barking dog. We seem to have a lot more trouble with people not watching their bratty kids. Most campers are in control of their beloved pets. Hey do me a favor – if you are one of these nasty grumpy people that don’t like pets…..stay at a campground that does not allow them! Do us all a favor and spread your unhealthy grumpiness somewhere else.

  • jeff jones

    we always have dcuments in my billfold and glove box that tells ems your campgroud name and address and site # that there is a pet that needs taken care of in case of accidents while site seeing

  • Sandra Wilson

    I don’t recall ever camping and someones dog was bothersome. I don’t like that they don’t always pick up ager them but that is the owner not the dog.
    I guess based on some of the remarks there are people out there that just don’t like themselves and look for reasons to complain.
    All of these tips are good. Water and food being the most important.

  • Barbara Brown

    For Robin Deibert who states that she takes aspirin for aches & pains for the dog when they camp. Two different vets have told me never give your dog aspirin.

    • Chris

      Years ago, a vet suggested that we give our dog a tri-buffered aspirin for his arthritis. I am not still accepted advice. Before giving a pet medicines, a vet should be contacted.

  • Cindy Guidry

    Our pets are our children. In fact, they behave better than most kids that are allowed to terrorize the campground. We always pick up after our dog. I agree that some don’t but, that doesn’t mean all pet owners are like that. It is called being responsible. Something parents should be with their children also. That’s what camping is all about – fun…

  • Doris Butts

    I am 74 years old and my cousin and I travel with my 10 year old cocker spaniel. We have a great time and she is no trouble to anyone. We have camped with other dogs that are not good campers, but then, we have camped with people who are not good campers. There is no place to draw a line and say, “you can’t camp with your pet or friend!!!”

  • Bill

    We always keep our pets’ collars on just in case they get loose. Pet and Owner names, addrsses and phone #’s are included on tag. We have also had them “microchipped” just in case their collars go missing. All vets, humane societies and animal control groups are able to scan the peet for these chips and are able to get the required owner / vet data via online or phone. Bill

  • Lisa

    I see there are more pet lovers than not! Funny! I love traveling with my pet and I have never met anyone who hadn’t fallen in love with them either. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I am very cognizant of my fellow campers.
    It’s vacation people enjoy life!!

  • Sharon W

    Some very good tips in these comments. We have been camping with a dog for many, many years. Occasionally have run across “the Grumpies’ who hate dogs. We have rarely left our dog in the camper alone while sightseeing an inside place where dogs are not allowed. She never caused any problems while left alone. Tip to dog lovers who clean up after their pets: buy the cheapest gallon size plastic bags that use twist ties to close. They can be found very cheap and are great for picking up even the messiest poo. You can use it almost like a glove to protect your hands and it’s easy to tie a knot in the bag. BTW to the owners of very small dogs who don’t think it matters whether you pick up that really small pile of poo, it still gets stuck in my shoes when I’m walking my dog. If you are traveling with a dog, you should ALWAYS have a couple of plastic bags in your back pocket. It’s the price you pay for being a responsible dog owner.

    • Melissa

      I use the cheapest sandwich size ziplock type bags I can find. To use them, I turn them inside out, put my hand in it like a glove, pick up any droppings, turn the bag back over the mess and zip it closed. Done. No mess. No Fuss. No smell.

    • Jan

      I store old newspaper bags. I used to save the bags and return them to the newspaper boy, but now they are using cars and adults who I never meet. So the bags are stored in our cars and trailer and in our pockets when we take the dog out. They are long and can be used to grab the poo and tie up on the spot and I like being seen with a red bag full of poo until I get to the trash can-I can be seen as a responsible dog owner carrying the bright colored (full) bag. At least I can reuse the plastic bags.

  • flarebel

    The Grumpy old people with their grumpy old kids needs to not camp at all. And the ones with pets need to camp more often so we can have more fun.

  • Bonnie

    We have found traveling with our dogs is a great way to meet other campers. They are the ice breakers…people come up asking what kind of dog, or make a comment like ‘how cute’…and the next thing you know you are chatting away and making new friends.
    People that think money can’t buy happiness, never bought a puppy!

  • Suzanne

    C amping with our dog has always been a great conversation starter with total strangers. What kind of dog is that? What’s their name? How old are they? Where are you all from? Even people without dogs have usually owned one at some time or other and they ask you questions about your dog. Even people who have had to leave their dog at home seem to want to share alittle “puppy love”. Our dog is always happy to oblige with kisses.

    • Jan

      It’s like you’re not “cool” if you don’t camp with a dog anymore. Our Aussie has beautiful coloring which always gets people talking with us. I even read in a dog book that Aussies are the best for camping families-they are loyal, so if they do run off they will always come back. If threre weren’t other aggressive dogs around, he wouldn’t even need a leash, or be tied up in the camp site.

  • Carol

    Please, can we all just get a long! If there is a problem speak with the people at the camp site, secondly, if not corrected inform the campground personnell and then possibly request a different site.

    Let us be more tolerant of one another. Thank you.

  • AZ camper

    I have no problem with dogs as long as they are on a leash. They may be loveable to you but to me they are frightening beasts with teeth…no matter how sweet they are. I appreciate the fun you have with them but please keep them on a leash.

  • Great Dane lover, CA

    We traveled all over this country with our two show dogs (Great Danes) and they draw a lot of attention. The one piece of advice I have for other people is never rush/run up to a dog that you do not know.

    People are curious about such large dogs and everytime we stopped to take the dogs out for a potty run or arrived at our campsite to hook up for the nite someone would just walk up to the dogs or into the campsite wanting to pet them, ask questions or take a picture.

    Our dogs were very well behaved and trained to be touched by strangers but not all dogs are. Adults and children should always be cautious of any dog and always ask permission, from a distance if it is ok to pet the animal.

    We have met a lot of wonderful people/families because of our dogs and had some great times. I’m sure many of the people have fond memories and pictures of them and their kids draped around/over the necks of our Great Danes. Hopefully we have also shared enough info with them that they remember it is much safer and far more satisfying to ask permission before rushing up to any dog no matter how awesome the dog is.

  • Jan Painter

    I agree that not all people love pets the way some of us do, Beasts with teeth probably do scare some people. However, we actually purchased our RV so our dogs could join us, and are very conscientious campers. Walmarts are always near, and we keep all the bags from there and other stores, turn them inside out and scoop the poo, tie the handles and pitch. Not all campers with pets do that, which is why some do not like pets. We follow the rules, keep them on leash, and if someone is fearful, keep them back. I wish some would do the same with children that we have had run through our campsite, or run into our vehicle with their bikes. I guess people parenting and pet parenting is about the same.


    I happen to be one of the lucky ones that works at a KOA and let me tell you something. There are more responsible “pet people” than there are responsible parents. This is speaking from experience!!
    Pet owners do not pull into camp, open the door to the camper and let their pets run a muck where ever they desire to until it’s time to pack up and depart for the next unsuspecting destination! Although I HAVE seen MANY< MANY parents do just that. They act like the park personnel have the responsibility of entertaining their children and keep them out of trouble! When we are forced to speak with parents about their children, they act like it's our fault that their children are lacking in discipline.(or common sense for that matter! Go figure!)
    We always take stock in the fact that these people aren't our neighbors on a permanent basis.
    The one thing I CAN tell you is, there will always be the good and the bad of everything.It is a decision that one must make with themselves! So parents do us a favor, please teach your children respect! And to the "bad" pet parents, even little doo-doo is still doo-doo. If it's ok to NOT to pick it up, then let them leave their doo-doo in your trailer where the rest of us wont be blamed for it!

    HAPPY CAMPING!!! From one of your friendly camp staffers!

    • English

      Thanks for the above post. I was recently at a KOA in Gunnison with our dogs. The dogs were on their tie outs enjoying the wonderful grass they have there. They were being good and minding their own business but there were parents of humans there allowing their children to run and scream throughout the park. Fortunately the kids were bothering my husband and I more than they bothered our dogs. Chilldren darting through other’s campsites is rude and it can be dangerous for the children and for dogs. Parents of dogs and humans should be responsible for their children and assure that they don’t bother their neighbors.

  • Lua

    I’m a chocolate lab and my parents have been taking me camping since I was 7 months old. My parents set up an electric fence which allows me to sniff around while my parents set up the tent. I have a lot of energy and Dad takes me for long walks, he will even take me of the leash if no one is around and I behave myself. I really hate going to the bathroom on a path or street, so I go along the side. I really like to go to do my business around the bath house where my parents go. I’m not patience, but my parents always make we waith while they clean up after me. My Dad lays out a large piece of plastic which we play on and is easy on my paws. Those stones they use for camp sites are bother some. My Mom will set up my Coleman camp bed, and I will fall a sleep by teh fire side. What a great day – I only look forward to the next day.

  • Suzeree

    I don’t mind pets at the campgrounds at all, we take ours all time time. I just wish that everyone would keep their dogs tied up or on leashes at all times. It is very scary when a dog flies out at you from a campsite when you are not expecting it. This is escpecially scary at night when you are walking. It is really maddening when the owners of the dogs acts like it is no big deal. We have had it happen where the dog tried to attack our dog. Ours was minding it’s own business but the other dog was not on a leash.

    • Donna MacEachern

      That happened to me and my dog Gracie at a KOA in South Dakota. My dog was on her tie out at my campsite…We weren’t even out walking around – Very Scary. So they come and get their dog….and let it off leash again! Fortunately the next time Gracie was safely up in the van.
      I shortened my stay – we left early the next morning – advised the KOA mgrs what had happened – they didn’t seem too concerned…disappointing

  • Bonnie Allison

    We have traveled full time for the past 5 years with our English bulldog and do all things that have been recommended when camping/traveling with pets. One other thing that worries us is if ( God forbid) something happened to us while on a trip. I keep an envelope stuck under the console of our pickup. It contains the name of our dog, the campground and site number where we are currently staying, the phone number of the campground, the location of a key to our camper, vet information, instructions for her medication, food and emergency care. Also, the name of anyone who can take care of her until one of our daughters can be contacted. It would be needed if we were in an accident and were unable to tell people about her. This is good information if your dog is with you or in your camper while you are out on an errand.

  • karen

    my dogs are my companions. i would not leave them behind to go on vacation. it’s their vacation too. they are well mannered. i pick up after them.
    many times i recieved compliments from strangers that the dogs behave better than most of the children they’ve seen.

  • Richard

    Wow! After reading a lot of these comments I realize there are a lot of pet owners out there that care about their dogs as much as me. Yes, sometimes you get some bozos who bring dogs that have NO obedience training and ruin it for everyone else. But, I think it’s not their fault since their owners are the one’s who need the training. Their kids are usually the one’s who are also ruining everyone else’s vacation too. If they spent the amount of money they do on alcohol for some obedience training and (parenting skills), maybe their dogs wouldn’t be a problem. Being a dog trainer, it doesn’t take much to create a well-behaved pet. My advice to everyone is, report the disruptions to the owners of the KOA, and then let them handle it. Every KOA I’ve been to will deal with these people immediately. Otherwise, enjoy the time you have with your loved ones camping.

  • Donna MacEachern

    Gracie (my ‘poi’ dog) and I have road trip camped for 9 months over the last 2 years. – We have traveled more than 27,000 miles in the US and Canada. We drink the local water (never had a problem). Gracie swims in the ocean and takes an occasional taste of same (never had a problem).
    Gracie learned early on that barking in the campground is unacceptable. Don’t ask how she learned as I have no idea – she just doesn’t do it. She is generally well mannered to humans and well behaved in the presence of other dogs (although – for some reason she is not fond of Scottie dogs).
    I’d like to take credit for all the compliments she receives – but, alas, I think Gracie is just very responsive to positive attention and being included. I make my choices for activities based on being able to include Gracie.
    My only ‘tip’ would be (and no – no paid fee here) to think about a vet service on a national network – and join their program. I belong to Banfield (inside PetSmart). All Gracie’s info is in the computer – very helpful keeping up with her wellness and when she tore he ‘do’ claw – I simply looked on line for the nearest Banfield and had the peace of mind knowing -in a way- she was seeing her own Vet.

    • Jan

      That’s a good idea to use a vet chain. I have found using a national drugstore very helpful when camping across country, so that makes sense. Although I did foget the dog’s monthly meds one time and went to a local vet and explained the situation and I had to buy the single dose at a super high cost compared to buying it from my vet or online.

  • Chrissy

    Go to Staples or a similar store and buy some clear tags and a sharpie marker. When you arrive at the campground, and know which campsite you’ll be staying in, use a sharpie pen, and a tag and write the number of your site on it and place on your dog’s collar. Sometimes, dogs “escape” and cellphones don;t work, this way, your dog can be returned easily.

    • Cheryl S

      What a great suggestion Chrissy. Thank you!

      • Kelly A. Brown

        Love this idea – we will be using it in Aug when we go on vacation. Thank You.

      • Phil Bowman

        great idea

  • Patriotlady

    I’m baffled by angry intolerant people. I do not have a pet, but I would rather neighbors with well behaved owners with pets than disrespectful people with disrespectful kids and drunken fools. I’ve had both good and bad experiences with both sides. Just like golfing, there is camping etiquette and KAO does a pretty good job letting folks know. We are all there to have a good time. I have a 7 year old and she loves animals (me, not so much). We don’t have a pet to bring as of yet. But I will apply the same basic life rules camping for both child and dog that we do at home. It’s not a free for all just because we are on vacation. Let’s all have fun and prepare our family (including our pets) with expectations and enjoy our neighbors, be kind, friendly and understanding.

  • Justin Growden

    Apparently you have breed discrimination. Why don’t you list that?

  • pitadorOwner

    Consider this the beginning of animal discrimination, i will never camp at any of your sites and i will make sure that no one i know will ever go near a koa ever

    • disqusprofile8769

      I’m so glad they ban pit bulls, thank you for sharing this

  • admin

    Hi folks,

    We understand concerns regarding the restriction of certain dog breeds at a very small minority of KOAs, and we want to clarify KOA’s position on the issue.
    The vast majority of KOA campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada welcome – without restriction – all breeds of well-behaved dogs.
    The fact is, KOA and its campground owners love pets! We now require KOA campgrounds adopting our new KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort brands to have an off-leash, fenced Kamp K9 dog park.
    But, due to insurance requirements or local government breed ordinances beyond the KOA owner’s control, a very few KOAs are forced to restrict access for certain breeds. This is, by far, a rare occurrence. Our Pet Guidelines are printed on Page 9 of the KOA Directory, and we encourage pet owners to call ahead to check with the campground about their specific pet policies and possible local restrictions.
    Each of our KOA campgrounds is privately owned and operated, and there is no system-wide policy banning any breed of dog.
    KOA’s policy only states that all dogs must be leashed and under the owner’s control at all other times on the campground, and dogs displaying aggressive behavior or excessive barking will be asked to leave.
    If you’d like to discuss pets at KOA campgrounds further, please feel free to call our KOA Camper Services representatives at 888-562-0000.
    Polly Mulvaney
    Kampgrounds of America

  • psmulvaney

    Hi folks,
    We understand concerns regarding the restriction of
    certain dog breeds at a very small minority of KOAs, and we want to clarify
    KOA’s position on the issue.

    The vast majority of KOA campgrounds in the U.S.
    and Canada welcome – without restriction – all breeds of well-behaved dogs.

    The fact is, KOA and its campground owners love
    pets! We now require KOA campgrounds adopting our new KOA Journey, KOA Holiday
    and KOA Resort brands to have an off-leash, fenced Kamp K9 dog park.

    But, due to insurance requirements or local
    government breed ordinances beyond the KOA owner’s control, a very few KOAs are
    forced to restrict access for certain breeds. This is, by far, a rare
    occurrence. Our Pet Guidelines are printed on Page 9 of the KOA Directory, and
    we encourage pet owners to call ahead to check with the campground about their
    specific pet policies and possible local restrictions.

    Each of our KOA campgrounds is privately owned and
    operated, and there is no system-wide policy banning any breed of dog.

    KOA’s policy only states that all dogs must be
    leashed and under the owner’s control at all other times on the campground, and
    dogs displaying aggressive behavior or excessive barking will be asked to

    If you’d like to discuss pets at KOA campgrounds
    further, please feel free to call our KOA Camper Services representatives at
    Thanks you,
    Polly Mulvaney, Director of Content Marketing
    Kampgrounds of America

  • golden dad

    As the owner of a 105 lb Golden Retriever l object to the under 20 lb dogs that are seldom leashed and bark constantly. Our dog barks if someone knocks on our units door.

  • Dodge

    My family and I mostly camp in Southern states (and the heat). My mom has discovered that I love a nice box fan (-$20 at any dollar store). Since I am pushing 12 yo, it’s nice to have the extra air and keeps my water cool. Occasionally I share my fan with the family. And thanks for the ‘piece of carpet outside’ tip below … I feel I will be getting one of those to lay on soon. Oh, one last thing, thank you to all the “camper kids” that ask before reaching to pet me. I don’t bite but get really nervous … I’m old and grumpy but still appreciate/need a slow walk.

    • psmulvaney

      Thanks Dodge for sharing! We love pets at KOA and hope to see you again soon.
      Polly at KOA home office.

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