Previously, we dove into the prep work you’ll need to do before taking your pup on vacation in one of our campers or motorhomes. With that out of the way and our pet addendum read, you’re about ready to pull out of the parking lot and hit the open road with your best friend at your side—how exciting!

Prep work doesn’t equal learned experience, though, and there’s still quite a bit of pet camping etiquette and the like to cover to make sure your trip goes smoothly.

Fractional Toys, your preferred motorhome rental company, details a few not-so-common courtesy things you’ll need to practice during your and Fido’s first trip out.

1. Plan Ahead

This tip comes up time and time again when we talk RV rentals—from food to logistical prep. With pets, too, it’s critical that you plan out each and every stopping point, not just for stress relief but also to be respectful of other campers.

As paw-some as we know your dog is, not everyone appreciates the presence of a canine companion during their trip. Dogs bark, whine, and roughhouse. Given that you’ll probably be parking in a shared space, it’s your duty to respect people who don’t find this sort of exuberance charming.

Plus, not all campgrounds permit dogs in the first place. Getting kicked out due to something you cannot control is a surefire way to ruin what was to be a great family vacation.

Double-check that your planned destinations are pet-friendly before pulling your camper rental in for the night; usually, you can call the park office or check the website on your smartphone. If you plan to stay around for a few days and do some hiking, ensure the trails are dog-friendly, too.

Don’t assume that just because the campground is welcoming to dogs, everything attached to it is likewise!

2. Practice Regular Potty Breaks

According to The Daily Wag, “On average, dogs need to go outside at least 3 to 5 times per day to have the opportunity to relieve themselves. Veterinarians recommend that adult dogs go no more than 6-8 hours between trips outdoors.”

You might think that’s no big deal—you handle your dogs’ potty breaks at home just fine, after all. But when it comes to road trips, it’s all too common to “get in the zone,” so to speak, and just keep driving without consideration for your four-legged passengers—and that can get really messy, really quickly.

We recommend setting alarms in your phone as reminders to take a break from the road and let the dog out. This will keep them comfortable and stress-free.

Plus, as a bonus, you’ll return to the driver’s seat refreshed after a nice walk about and stretch.

3. Follow Campsite Rules

Go figure, you might be thinking. Why is such an obvious piece of advice on this list?

We only include it for one reason: it’s easy to think that the rules don’t apply when you have a well-behaved dog. If your pooch is well-trained off-leash, why should you worry about it?

For one, dogs in new places are inherently unpredictable, and campsites are even more so. There’s no telling what your dog will do when met with strange children, wild animals, or tasty trash that an inconsiderate camper left behind, especially when they’re out of eyesight. Rules such as leash restrictions help to keep your pet—and everyone else who uses the campground—safe.

Secondly, by following rules, you set a good example. That next person debating letting their dog run wild might not have a canine as well-behaved as yours—but nobody likes to be “that guy,” or the odd one out of a crowd.

Play it safe, leash your dogs, and follow all other campsite rules, if not for your dog, then for the countless other families camping with you.

4. Mind the Heat

It gets hot in the summer in Minnesota, and though your dog may very well be acclimated by this point, additional time spent outdoors combined with the baseline stress of being in a new place can usually make handleable conditions unbearable.

While camping with your dog, Kampgrounds Of America (KOA) recommends you watch for the following signs that may indicate overheating:

  • Panting

  • Heavy breathing

  • Restlessness

  • Weakness

  • Disorientation

  • Agitation

  • Dry gums

  • Bright red tongue

Should these symptoms arise, KOA recommends moving the dog to a cooler area, providing chilled water, and “applying a wrapped ice pack to the animal’s groin.”

While on the trails, always have cold water available for both you and your pet. Not only will this help prevent overheating, but it can also help remove the temptation for your dog to drink from passing bodies of water—which can come with a host of pathological risks, according to VetStreet.

5. RV Rental Rules for Pets

If you are planning on renting an RV for your camping trip, it’s a good idea to read up on the rules for bringing your pet along. For example, Fractional Toys has a pet addendum for RV rentals detailing what to expect if you rent an RV and bring your pet along. Common sense includes cleaning up after your pet, not allowing your dog to have free reign in the RV, and letting us know immediately if you are bringing a pet.

A general rule should be to keep your pet at your side during the whole of your trip. If you leave the campsite for any reason, do not leave your dog unattended. Bring them along to have someone stay back to keep an eye on your pet. Don’t lock your pet in the rental RV for any amount of time. It’s an unfamiliar place, and it’s possible they will panic and cause damage.

6. Plan Dog-Friendly Activities

Keeping your dog entertained is your responsibility if you bring them along on a camping trip. Some dog-friendly activities include:

  • Trails and Hikes

  • Visiting the Beach (Check local rules before bringing your pooch to the beach)

  • Exploring the Local Parks

  • Enjoying a Meal Outdoors

  • Playing Outdoor Games

  • Going Boating

Boating with a dog can be a fun experience; they get to spend time with you (their favorite thing), and you get to hang out on the water. Whether you are a fisherman or plan to spend relaxing time on the lake or river, it’s a good idea to research the best boat rental for your trip.

7. Pack Smart

Packing for your next RV trip can be a time-consuming task, and when you add in a dog, your packing list gets longer.

If you plan on towing your rental RV, then you need to be aware of weight limits. This includes your dog’s stuff as well. If you can delay purchasing some of your perishable food until you reach your campground, this can save on space.

Some essentials to pack for your dog include:

  • First Aid Kit

  • Bed or Blankets

  • Food and Treats

  • Extra Leash or Harness

  • Food and Water Bowl

  • Stake or Tether

  • Extra Towels

  • Current Photo

  • Vet Records

  • Doggy Waste Bags

  • ID tags

8. Proper Identification & Microchips

Before you take your dog anywhere, be sure to check the ID tags on their collar. Make sure you include a tag that has your name and phone number so that if your dog gets lost, someone can get in touch with you.

You can also consider microchipping your dog for added security. Microchipping is a smart idea, in general, to ensure your dog returns to you safely if it manages to escape.

For added protection, make sure you have either a physical or digital copy of your dog’s most recent vet records, including vaccines. This can be important if your dog gets into an altercation with another dog or wild animal.

Fractional Toys: Pet-Friendly Motorhome Rentals and More

Our Oakdale and Rogers teams would be happy to get you and your pet set up for the vacation of a lifetime. Reach our Rogers office today at 763-406-2488, or our Oakdale location at 651-340-0937.