Skip to Content

7 UNWRITTEN Rules of Camping with a Dog

Everyone knows you need to pick up after your dog, but do you know these unwritten rules of camping with a dog?…

Are you planning to take your dog on your next camping trip? If so, read this first!

Taking our dogs on adventures is one of the greatest pleasures around. But, when camping with your dog, there are some unwritten rules that you will want to follow. 

The following outlines seven essential rules of camping with your dog to help keep them, you, and your camping neighbors happy.

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases at no added cost to you. Thank you for your support. You can read our full affiliate disclosure here.

While we love having our dog Bo along for the ride with us, we know it can be a challenge to make RV life more pet friendly. Here's some tips and apps that may help you along the way. Check out our free dog guide for RVers.

And now, for the unwritten rules…

7 Unwritten Rules of Camping with a Dog

Keeping your dog on a leash and picking up after them are right at the top of the written rules of campground policies. Of course, those are the two BIG rules everyone should follow.

But they're not the only ones! The unwritten rules of camping with a dog are just as important. By abiding by them, you'll be spared from unwanted complaints or annoyed neighbors. Besides, you don't want to be a bad camping neighbor, to begin with.

(By the way, we have an entire Amazon Shopping List devoted to our favorite products for traveling with our dog, Bo. You might find helpful items for your furry friend, too!)

1. Walk Them AWAY From Campsites to Do Their Business

7 UNWRITTEN Rules of Camping with a Dog

Even if you pick up after your dog, it's bad etiquette to let them do their business on other people's campsites. This is true whether they're lifting their leg, squatting, or “dumping their black tank.”

Proper etiquette is to walk your dog away from others' campsites and let them relieve themselves away from people's belongings (including their RVs). Most campgrounds have trails, open grass areas, or even designated pet areas to use in such cases.

2. Use Biodegradable or Compostable Dog Poop Bags

Campers love nature, which means we also love protecting it. Unfortunately, many dog owners overlook the negative effect plastic bags have on our planet, especially dog poop bags!

It's best to use certified compostable dog poop bags or biodegradable bags. Be careful what you buy, though! Many brands claim to be “biodegradable” but don't meet ASTM D6954-04 standards.

Just think: spending a couple more dollars on biodegradable or compostable bags prevents countless plastic bags from polluting our environment for hundreds of years.

3. Don't Let Them Bark Incessantly!

7 UNWRITTEN Rules of Camping with a Dog 1

Dogs bark– we get that. And most camping neighbors won't even flinch if your dog barks every now and then. The problem is when your dog barks incessantly.

In many cases, the dog owners are blissfully unaffected since dogs usually bark more when their owners are away. It's the neighbors that are subjected to the noise while the owners are away.

If your dog is a barker, then proper camping etiquette requires you to invest a bit of time and money in training and training products. You can nearly immediately fix the problem by getting an affordable and humane bark collar for dogs.

These training collars use vibrations and/or beeps to train your dog not to bark. In many cases, the beep alone works, and eventually, putting the collar alone on is reminder enough for the dog to stay quiet.

If you're opposed to collars, you can learn how to teach your dog not to bark through one-on-one training.

4. Keep Your Dog Cool!

Leaving your dog in a hot RV is no different than leaving them in a hot car. The inside temperature of a vehicle (including RVs) can get up to 45-50 degrees hotter than the temperature outdoors.

If you leave your dog inside your vehicle or rig, ensure it is not hotter than 70 degrees F outside. Or ensure your rig's interior temp doesn’t exceed 80 degrees. Our favorite way to do that is to use Waggle.

We have heard of instances where camp hosts have had to break into RVs to get the dogs inside to safety.

TIP: If you are worried about a dog left in an RV, you should notify the campground host or the police. You should not break into the RV yourself, as that exposes you to serious legal risk.

This rule also covers your dog being outside in extreme heat. Make sure your pup has access to plenty of water and shade. 

We have a list of 10 Great Products to Keep Your Dog Cool, including cooling bandanas, cooling mat, dog paw wax, and more. 

7 UNWRITTEN Rules of Camping with a Dog 2
Perfect long-sleeved shirt for the RV Lifestyle. Soft and comfortable for your RVing adventures!

5. Keep Them Tick-Free

One of the biggest threats to your animals is some of the smallest and easily overlooked. They can also be a threat to you! We're talking about ticks.

Lime disease is no joke and is spread by ticks. Some milder symptoms of Lime Disease are fever, fatigue, headache, and a rash. 

But if left untreated, it can spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system. One of the worst effects causes people to be unable to think clearly for months after treatment. 

We have a few helpful articles on keeping your pet, your RV, and YOU tick-free:

6. Keep an Eye on Your Dog (Or Hire Someone To)

When traveling with your dog, you are bound to need to leave your rig at some point. But what do you do about your pup? 

You can buy excellent cameras that help you keep an eye on your dog when you are not around. One great option is the Furbo dog camera.

Not only does it easily allow you to see what your dog is doing from your phone. It also helps keep your dog entertained by tossing treats when you tell it to!

Plus, it can alert you if your dog is barking. (Remember Unwritten Rule #3?!)

When a camera doesn't cut it, you can hire a pet sitter pretty much wherever you travel. Learn more by reading Top 7 Pet-Sitting Apps for RVers (& Bonus Monitor).

Top 7 Pet-Sitting Apps for RVers (& Bonus Monitor)

7. Keep Your Dog Secure on Your Campsite

Whenever you leave your dog alone at the campsite, they need to be secured in your RV. But when you're present, it's nice to give them a secure area to roam or play.

One fantastic device is an invisible fence. This is a way to allow your dog to roam freely and explore in a specific, designated area that you choose. This is an excellent option for boondockers or people who camp in more wide-open areas. 

There are also great portable fence options, like the FXW Aster Dog Playpen and IRIS USA Dog Playpen. These fences are great for standard campsites (at campgrounds where dog fences are allowed).

Looking for a way to keep your dog on your property without using a physical fence? Check out SpotOn GPS Dog Fence™

SpotOn works almost anywhere — but you need a lot that’s at least ½ acre

Why? Because you’ll need to allow for the fence alert/warning zone. The effective boundary for your dog is 10 feet inside the fence boundary that you walk. Walk your planned boundary with SpotOn's dog collar and your phone or draw your fence in the app. Truly, watching this video will show you how cool this technology is! True Location™ technology builds on conventional GPS and makes it better, giving you the most reliable fence boundary that never requires calibration. So your dog can have a great adventure without risking a great escape. Get professionally-developed training programs that’ll have your dog using SpotOn in a few simple steps!

Tips & Tricks for RVing with Dogs

What About Traveling with Cats?!

Dogs are not always your best friend. Sometimes it’s your cat!

And no matter what species your furry best friend is, you should be able to take him or her along with you on your next road trip.

Traveling with a cat comes with some added challenges, but it’s nothing you can’t handle especially if you’re prepared with the right cat travel accessories.

We have a list of the 10 Purrfect Cat Travel Accessories for your RV Lifestyle, from cat carriers to toys to leashes.

Mike and Jennifer's Ultimate Michigan and Great Lakes Bundle – THREE ebooks

7 UNWRITTEN Rules of Camping with a Dog 3

This bundle contains our ever-popular Michigan Upper Peninsula 7-Stop Adventure Guide PLUS the NEW LOWER Michigan Adventure Guide PLUS the US Side Tour of the Great Lakes! This ULTIMATE Bundle will help you keep enjoying Michigan and the Great Lakes for years!

Official RV Lifestyle QUICK Links to ALL our eBooks

You can see ALL our eBooks here, or use the following Quick Links to go straight to what you need!

●    Adirondacks

●    Arizona

●    Colorado 

Coastal Maine

●    Florida’s Atlantic Coast

●    Florida’s Gulf Coast

●    Florida Keys

●    Great Lakes Shoreline

●    Natchez Trace

●    Southern Utah

●    Upper Peninsula

Lower Peninsula

●    Yellowstone

And MANY of these are BUNDLED together: 

New England Bundle
Coastal Maine, Adirondacks

Ultimate Michigan and Great Lakes Bundle – 3 ebooks –
Upper Peninsula, Lower Peninsula, and the Great Lakes Tour

Michigan Bundle
Upper Peninsula, Lower Peninsula

The Great Lakes Adventure Guide Bundle
The Great Lake Shoreline Tour & JUST the Upper Peninsula Guide

Florida Adventure Guide Bundle
Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, Keys 

Southwest Adventure Guide Bundle
Arizona, Colorado, Southern Utah) 

Ultimate 7-Day RV Adventure Guide Bundle
Collection 1- our first 10 ebooks (does NOT contain Great Lakes Shoreline or Natchez Trace)

We also have a nice collection of ebooks that will help you navigate the RV Lifestyle. 

Like these:

RV Buying Secrets

The Beginner's Guide to Boondocking 

The Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites

Boondocking and Free RV Camping EBOOK Bundle

The Beginner’s Guide to Boondocking ebook and Ultimate Guide to Free Camping Sites

And ONE PRINT book 🙂 and yes, before you ask, we have plans for MANY more print books.

The Complete Guide to Boondocking – PRINT VERSION
This is the same as the ebook titled The Beginner's Guide to Boondocking but in print.

And while you are exploring all our ebooks – check out the hoodies, T-shirts, Stickers, and mugs in our MERCH Store! You can get to it directly by just going here – SHOP!

Rate this post

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-04-13

Mike Wendland is an Emmy award-winning journalist, traveler, and producer of RV Podcast, the RV Lifestyle travel blog, and the RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube. Mike, traveling with his wife Jennifer and their Norwegian Elkhound, Bo, has vast experience and a great passion for exploring North America, previously working as a long-time NBC-TV News Channel Technology Correspondent and now sharing his love for the RV lifestyle with millions. Mike is not only an adept RV life enthusiast but also a skillful storyteller, bringing to his channels stories from the road that perfectly capture the magic and hardships of this lifestyle.

4 Responses to “7 UNWRITTEN Rules of Camping with a Dog”

April 19, 2023at6:29 pm, Eli Richardson said:

We bought an RV last week, and we’d like to use it for the first time next weekend and take our dog along with us, so we’re looking for more information on what we’d do when staying at an RV park. We’re glad you talked about keeping our dog secure in our RV to avoid making other campers uncomfortable, so we’ll keep it in mind for sure. Thank you. [Link deleted]


April 20, 2023at9:10 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for the message, Eli, and have a great first trip out there with your RV! Team RV Lifestyle


April 13, 2023at9:01 am, Melissa Lynn said:

No, no, NO! Do NOT flick the poop! What an irresponsible message to send! Just because a bear poops in the woods, doesn’t mean your dog should! It messes with the delicate eco-systems, as dogs are not a part of the particular natural wildlife environment. This irresponsible behavior is one of the main reasons national and state parks have started to ban dogs from being on trails! LEAVE NO TRACE!!!


April 15, 2023at9:42 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hi Melissa – Story has been adjusted and no longer says this – Thanks, Team RV Lifestyle


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top