Pet owners love to go camping with their animal companions. Not only is it a fun experience to share with your beloved pet, but bringing your dog along with you is also very convenient.
You don’t have to worry about finding and paying for a pet sitter while you are away. Plus you won’t have the stress of wondering if your pet is managing without you. In addition, should something happen while you are camping, you won’t need to rush home to tend to an emergency.
If you are camping in the United States or Canada, there’s a big chance you might stay at a KOA campground. These privately-owned campgrounds are numerous with over 500 locations across North America.
But what is the pet policy at one of America’s most popular campgrounds? Is it okay to bring your pets with you? Do the rules vary by location? Are there any restrictions you should know about before you book your camping trip?
In this article, we will find out if pets are allowed at KOA campgrounds. We will also outline the rules and see what amenities are available for pets when you camp there.
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Are Pets Allowed at KOA Campgrounds?
In general, there is not an across the board rule allowing pets at all KOA campgrounds. Because the campgrounds are privately owned, each campground has its own specific policy regarding pets. It’s best to call ahead and verify that your pet can join you at the campground. Some KOA campgrounds may only allow pets in certain units which can be limited. Other locations could have breed restrictions.
Common breeds that have been identified as unfriendly or aggressive, both to other dogs and humans, are Dobermans, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and Pit Bull mixes. While these are the breeds that most often fall under restrictions, each campground could have different breeds they do not allow.
However, there is one rule that holds across all KOA campgrounds and that is when it comes to service animals. Service dogs are welcome at all locations but must follow rules about leashing and limiting aggressive behavior.
Some campgrounds may allow pets but have an additional charge to accommodate them. You will have to verify with your specific campground or see if this fee is added when you complete your reservation.
For help finding a campground that will allow dogs, check out this article that we wrote.
Rules for Pets at KOA Campgrounds
If a campground does allow pets, there will be certain rules in place to ensure their safety and that the camping experience is positive for everyone there.
The most important rule is that pets must have good behavior. Any animals, no matter their breed, that demonstrate aggressive or hostile behavior may be asked to leave the campground.
This means the owner must also leave which would cut short your camping trip. It is unclear if the campground would refund your campsite to you if this should happen so make sure your pet is always on their best behavior.
The next rule that pets and their owners must abide by is leashing. All dogs must be kept on a leash that is no longer than 6 feet. This rule applies any time the dog is outside of your vehicle or rental unit.
It is not allowed to leave your dog unattended on a tether or leash that is attached to a vehicle or anchored in the ground. Pets should not be left in pet tents, beds, or fenced in areas either even if they are considered safe.
All pets should have good manners and polite behavior. They should not be aggressive toward other pets or humans.
Dogs that bark constantly can be a nuisance to other campers. If you have a particularly vocal dog, you may be asked to leave the campground with your pet. Campgrounds with quiet hours will have to be abided by both humans and pets, so no barking or other noise should take place during this time.
As always, owners must clean up after their pet and dispose of any waste in the proper receptacles. Dogs should not be allowed to dig or damage camping equipment or amenities around the campground by scratching, biting, or chewing.
Amenities for Pets at KOA Campgrounds
Each KOA campground has different amenities on offer for pets. Some of them have a Kamp K-9 pet park. This is a fenced area that allows dogs to roam around or play off-leash. You can also enter the park area with your dog and play with them by tossing a ball or Frisbee.
There is seating nearby for pet owners to socialize with other campers while keeping an eye on their dog. These areas usually have stations to help you clean up after your pet and may also provide fresh water to keep pets hydrated.
Some KOA campgrounds will have a separate area for small dogs and another for large dogs. This ensures that dogs play with other animals that are of a similar size so they don’t hurt one another or feel intimidated by larger breeds.
When you check-in at the campground, some KOA locations will give you a bag of treats for your pet as a welcome gift. However, this is not offered at every campground and supplies may be limited so it is not guaranteed for every pet.
Preparing to Camp with a Pet at a KOA Campground
Before taking your pet with you on a camping trip, the first thing to do is to make sure they are healthy and can safely camp with you. It should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your pet so make sure they can accompany you with ease.
Some campgrounds may require certain shots to be updated, such as rabies, flea/tick, or heartworm, before a pet can stay there. Check ahead with any campground and make an appointment with your vet to make sure your pet meets all the requirements.
Your pet should also wear a collar at all times when they are at the campground. On the collar should be an identification tag with your contact information, including a current phone number that you will be able to answer while at the campground.
When you visit your vet, you can make sure your pet’s microchip is updated and can be used to track you down should your pet get lost. It can also be useful to put your pet’s microchip number on their collar so it can be easily searched if someone finds a lost pet.
Always bring along a copy of your pets’ health records in case of an emergency. If you need to visit a new vet unexpectedly due to an emergency, it will be helpful to share this information with the doctor quickly.
Any pets that have health concerns or are taking specific medications should have all their supplies with them while camping. Bring even more medicine than necessary in case your camping trip is extended or you are delayed returning home due to weather, traffic, or other unexpected events.
Once all the health and safety concerns have been addressed, you can move your attention to providing basic care for your pet. This includes things like food and water so your pet is well-fed and hydrated during the entire camping trip.
Some say it’s best to bring water from home instead of getting it directly from the tap at the campground. Some pets may get an upset stomach if they drink different water than what they are used to on a daily basis back home.
You can also bring along familiar toys, blankets, foods, and bedding so your animal feels comfortable. Set up an area for your pet that belongs to them so they have a place to go and relax should they get tired or overstimulated from all the people and activity at the campground.
It’s also a good idea to bring some extra leashes or collars in case one gets lost, broken, or damaged. Check the weather and see if you will need a blanket to keep your pet warm at night, a raincoat to keep them dry, or even a cooling vest for very hot summer days.
If the KOA campground where you are staying does not have a pet park, you may want to bring an exercise pen that is foldable and easy to transport. This will give your dog a secure place to play while you set up camp or unload the car.
Cats that come camping with you may need a screened house so they can get fresh air while remaining secured and safe. Always make sure to keep your cat indoors because they can get lost much easier than a dog.
Bring along a flashlight for walks in the dark with your pet. A brush can also be helpful if your dog needs a lot of grooming or there is a concern they will get into brambles, burrs, or other debris. Overall, camping at a KOA campground can be a positive experience for you and your pet. With so many locations to choose from, you’re sure to find one that can accommodate you both.
Make sure to call ahead to verify your pet is allowed and if there are any specific rules you will need to abide by. Then prepare your pet, pack all their gear, and head out into nature.
You and your pet are sure to have an enjoyable time. Pets are sure to love exploring new places and experiencing all the new sights and smells!
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