Why you should be a dog-friendly campground.

Clearly, there are a lot of pet-lovers in the states. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association says that a little more than 1 out of 3 households (48 million) own at least one pet. And with the growing rise of camping since the start of the pandemic, it shouldn’t serve as a surprise that more and more guests are dog owners.

A recent and informal survey found that as many as 90% of RVers bring their family pets on the road; and in a survey of our own, we found that 31% of guests will pass on campgrounds without dog-friendly accommodations.

Couple that with the fact that a lot of guests are actively searching for pet-friendly parks on sites like BringFido.com or Rover.com, and it stands to reason that investing in animal lovers will serve your campground well.

But it doesn’t have to be an expensive an arduous process to connect with more guests and their canine companions. In fact, it can be pretty dog-gone easy.

If you’re looking for some simple ways to get started, here are 3 ways to be the best dog-friendly campground ever.

1. Upgrade your dog park.

At a baseline, having an enclosed and manicured dog park goes a long way.

A number of participants in one of our recent surveys noted that it was a dealbreaker if a dog park was poorly maintained. In the same breath, many praised campgrounds that went the extra distance to add park benches, trashcans, and dog waste bag dispensers.

dog-friendly campground

If you really want to jazz it up, you can consider adding toys or an agility course for dogs to get their energy out. Also, bonus points were awarded for parks that made distinctive areas for smaller dogs that might be intimidated to join in with the bigger pups. Some campgrounds have even gone so far as to add some personality and aesthetic to their dog parks, by adding multiple fire hydrants.

At the very least, pet owners will appreciate your effort to provide accessible areas for their four-legged companions.

2. Provide dog-friendly bathing areas.

Going hand-in-hand with an accomodating park, dogs are thrilled to find a designated space to swim and cool off, and pet owners are thrilled to see a designated space to wash their canine companions afterward.

At a basic and relatively inexpensive level, you could always hook up a tub and a hose with some dog shampoo. However, if you really want to make a splash, there are several higher-end dog-washing stations that run anywhere from $1,500 to $2,800.

You can find more benefits of opening a self-serve dog-washing station from:

3. Host dog-friendly events.

campgrounds with paved roads

Dog-owners love dogs and other dog-owners. A great way to build traction is to create social opportunities for pet-lovers to connect at your campground.

Whether it’s an adoption event or puppy parade, these could be great opportunities to create community with your guests, as well as tap into the local community

Here are some ideas some of our campgrounds have implemented over the years:

  • Hikes or fun runs.
  • Adoption events.
  • Puppy parades.
  • Canine costume parties (especially around Halloween).
  • Puppy training classes.

Dog-gone awesome parks.

dog-friendly campground

Having a dog-friendly park doesn’t have to be financial or mentally overwhelming. Without breaking the bank or re-inventing your campground, consider what it would look like to add a few amenities to make life a little easier on dog-lovers.

Even if it’s a simple as starting with a well-kept park and a dog-washing station, your guests will appreciate the consideration, and you’ll be able to appeal to a wider audience.