RV park

It’s vacation time, and RV owners are on the road in their rolling homes. More often than not, they are accompanied by their dogs, which can raise a whole host of questions about etiquette — or, in this case, petiquette!

Traveling and living with dogs in an RV is quite a bit different from living in a single-family home with a private backyard, and good pet manners are crucial. You’re living in close proximity to your neighbors, often without fences or individual yard space, and what your pet does can affect everyone’s enjoyment of the area. We gathered some tips to help ensure that you and your dog are welcome at RV parks and that you both make lots of new friends on your travels.

One planning note: Before you hit the road, call ahead to ask about pet policies. Some RV parks may restrict the number or size of pets. You don’t want to pull in after a long day of driving and find out that your dogs aren’t welcome at your destination.

Meet and Greet

At home, your neighbors probably know you and and your dog, but you are strangers at an RV park. Not everyone loves animals, and some people are actively fearful of them, especially loud or large dogs.

Help your dog be a good ambassador for his species; keep him on leash and don’t let him run up to other people or dogs. Teach him to sit when he meets people, and don’t allow him to jump on them. Ask other people with dogs if it’s all right for you and your dog to approach. Not every dog is as friendly as yours.

Carry treats for other people to give your dog when he meets them — but only if he has doesn’t nip when people hand him food.

Be Considerate

Treat your dog with parasite preventives. You don’t want him to pick up or spread fleas, ticks and internal parasites. “Check with your veterinarian about the types of parasites you might encounter where you’re going and the best preventive for them,” says Dr. Marty Becker. Make sure his vaccines are up-to-date as well, for his safety as well as that of the other dogs he may meet on your travels.

Some areas are strictly for people. Keep your dog out of the pool, off the picnic tables and away from any other areas where pets aren’t permitted. If the RV park has a dog run or park, share it with others. If your dog doesn’t like to share his space, pack up and go when other people bring their dogs to use it.

“Always take some type of tethering rope or chain to keep your pet within the confines of your campsite,” says Laura Busch, who travels frequently by RV with her husband, Chris, and their Weimaraners, Barley and Heidi. “An outside pet bed, crate or x-pen is a good option for your pet if you will be outside your RV for an extended period of time. It gives your pet a safe, comfortable place to lie down while you are setting up, playing, cooking or just enjoying the view.”

Now Hear This

You might tune out your dog’s barking at home, but RVs have thin walls, so it’s courteous to keep your dog’s voice to a low roar. If he barks when he sees others pass by, thank him for the alert and then ask him to be quiet. If possible, block his view, so he doesn’t notice every Rex, Fido and Baxter who walks by your RV. Introduce him to people who walk by frequently, so he is less alarmed by their presence.

Dogs often bark when they’re bored. If you’re going out, leave the TV tuned to a nature channel, so he’ll hear human voices and have something interesting to watch. A puzzle toy or stuffed Kong can also help keep him occupied. Even better, take your dog with you if you know he barks when you’re gone.

Observe the quiet hours posted by most RV parks, and don’t let your dog make noise early in the morning or late at night.

Poop Patrol

Follow the Boy Scout motto, and always be prepared to pick up poop. Stick a plastic bag in your pocket before you and your dog set foot out of the RV. Take him to the designated pet area to do his business. Don’t let him lift his leg on someone else’s vehicle or pee or poop in their pathway.

Keep an eye on what he’s doing while you’re having a conversation with someone. A common complaint in RV parks is people who don’t notice when or where their pet has pooped, and then they leave the mess for someone else to step in or pick up.

Be a good neighbor and bring an extra bag in case you see someone who needs one, or you run across a pile left by another dog. Sure, it’s not your job, but the other residents — and the park management — will appreciate your effort.

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