My husband, Wayne Schultz, and I on the beach with our 4 Bichon’s during a camping trip at Delaware Seashore State Park in October 2021. (Sharon P. Schultz)

As you’re planning future camping trips, think about one that can include the family dog. There’s something nice to be said about watching a group of dogs running free, playing, exercising, all safely in the confines of a fenced, grassy area most campgrounds count as standard as the playground equipment installed for the youngest campers to enjoy. So many campgrounds today are dog-friendly as evidenced by the dog parks and poop stations with handy little baggies for cleanup, just as the name implies.

Regardless of how dog-friendly an RV resort claims to be, there are still rules to be followed for everyone’s sanity. A pet displaying aggressive behavior may not be a good fit among more even-tempered, mellow breeds. Pet owners should make sure that their furry ones are licensed at home and current on required vaccinations.

Some resorts don’t allow pets and some restrict the number of pets allowed per campsite. In my early days of camping, my husband and I didn’t know that some parks limit the number of pets you can have per site, so I didn’t check. We rolled into a campground that allowed only two dogs per campsite. We have four dogs! We spent an uncomfortable couple of days discreetly walking our four, all-white Bichon Freise two at a time while constantly looking over our shoulder and fearing eviction for violating camp policy!

As with anything that is worthwhile in this life, preparation is necessary. Traveling with your pet is no exception. You’ve had to call the campground to make reservations and, if traveling with more than one companion, remember to check on the number of pets allowed to avoid future embarrassment. Make sure that you’ve chosen accommodations that are truly dog-friendly. Most have their pet policy posted on their website for advance viewing. Unless you are staying in a camping franchise, they may not all have the same rules. It’s wise to read before you go.

When going on any trip, vacations especially, it’s important to know what you need to bring and plan ahead. For yourself you would pack clothes, toiletries, maybe tent and sleeping bags. But what about your dog or dogs? What will they need while away from home?

Of course you will need a leash. Generally, pets may only be unleashed in a designated dog park on resort property. You will probably bring your dog’s bedding for peaceful sleeping, and perhaps food and water bowls for another calming reminder of home. Favorite toys, blankets, dog chews, etc., should all be included.

Other items to consider bringing with you: a collar with I.D., license, and rabies tags, a canine first-aid kit — and one for humans, too — medication, dog food and dog treats, pet insurance, and information to reach the nearest vet during your stay if needed.

Do not leave your pet alone at your campsite unless absolutely necessary, and then, for not more than a few minutes at most. Your pet may feel abandoned and nervous during your absence and may act out, possibly disturbing neighboring campers.

Stay active with your pet on your camping adventure. Depending on your location there may be nature trails to hike, wilderness to explore, mountains to climb, and beaches to stroll along. Regardless of the season, there is no bad time to visit the shore; to walk along the beach dodging the waves rolling in with your best friend running along beside you, full of boundless energy and joy for the experience.

Sharon is a freelance photojournalist and a proud “Bay” Boomer from Anne Arundel County, when she’s not busy chasing her four dogs around the yard! Contact Sharon via email at [email protected].

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Sharon is a writer/photographer and a proud “Bay” Boomer from Anne Arundel County and can be contacted at [email protected]