Previously on our recreational rental blog, we dove into the prepwork 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!

Prepwork 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. Below, 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.

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 stick around for a few days and do some hiking, make sure the trails are dog-friendly, too. Don’t assume that just because the campground itself is welcoming to dogs that everything attached to it is likewise!

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 come back to the driver’s seat refreshed after a nice walk about and stretch.

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 when you have a well-behaved dog, to think that the rules don’t apply in that case. If your pooch is well-trained off-leash, then why should you need to worry about it?

For one, dogs in new places are inherently unpredictable, and campsites 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. Plus,

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 than for the countless other families camping with you.

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 make usually 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 that you move the dog to a cooler area, provide chilled water, and “apply a wrapped icepack to the animal’s groin.”

While on the trails, have cold water available at all times 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.

Fractional Toys: Pet-Friendly Motorhome Rentals and More

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