Pets are an essential part of many people’s lives. About 38.4% of U.S. households own a dog, and over 90% of pet owners consider their pet a family member. Many pet owners only consider a vacation spot if it has a pet-friendly policy, with 37% citing pet-friendly accommodation as their top priority.
Campground owners must accommodate travelers and their pets to maintain a competitive edge. KampK9® is a testament to the importance of a pet-friendly campground, and many Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) facilities include dog parks.
What Is a Dog Park?
A dog park is a safe space for owners to bring their dogs to socialize and interact with other dogs. Socialization and the ability to play are essential for dogs, and it gives like-minded people the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company.
Benefits of Adding a Dog Park to Your Campground
Dog parks provide dogs and their owners with valuable opportunities to socialize and play. In a campground setting, the benefits are multifold and include the following:
- Better canine behavior: Dogs who exercise and play are often quieter and less destructive. A dog park gives all the dogs on your campground an opportunity to run off excess energy, which is the first step to a peaceful campground in the evenings.
- Happier customers: A dog park lets all the dog lovers on your campground get to know each other. Providing activities for campers and their dogs to enjoy tells visitors you care about their pets and have gone the extra mile to include them in camp activities. They may forge new friendships and revisit them in your campground for years.
- More time outdoors: Campers with dogs are likely to spend more time outdoors if they can take them along. A dog park is a healthy way to get fresh air that provides wholesome fun for the whole family.
How to Build a Campground Dog Park
If you think your campground needs a dog park, there are several considerations, primarily safety and security. Dog owners must be comfortable taking their dogs to your park. There should be enough activities to keep them coming back, and a well-constructed dog park gives you a competitive advantage when guests are planning their next camping trip.
Keep the following steps in mind when building your dog park:
1. Choose Your Location
The more space you can devote to a dog park, the better. Consider where you’ll place the park in relation to guests and other amenities. Try to keep the location away from busy roads and cabins where barking could disrupt guests. A spot with a blend of sunshine and shade is ideal, as it offers a comfortable balance for pets and owners to relax longer.
2. Choose Your Surface
Different surfaces have pros and cons. Grass is beautiful but requires more maintenance. Synthetic options may be better if you expect lots of dogs or heavy rain. Synthetic alternatives may have a higher upfront cost but require less maintenance and often last longer.
You can also incorporate several different surfaces so the dogs get added mental stimulation and human visitors enjoy the visual appeal.
3. Erect Fences
Keeping dogs secure within the boundaries of the dog park is critical for safety. Fencing should be a minimum of 4 feet high, but 6 feet is even better. Dog owners also need safe access to the facility without potentially letting other dogs out, so a double gate is preferable. Add a self-closing entrance for another layer of safety.
Set up all entrances to prevent dogs from rushing at a new dog upon entry. The dog park should be a stress-free experience for you and your guests. Many dog park owners elect to keep large and small dogs separate for safety reasons, and this may also be a good idea in your dog park. Dogs are generally more comfortable and less fearful of dogs their size.
Dog owners appreciate it when you keep dogs foremost in your mind during the design phase. Consider adding a smaller area for less socialized dogs that guests can book in advance.
4. Install the Amenities
Dog parks are more than just large tracts of open land. To make the most of the space, you should include some amenities that make your dog park stand out. A dog park must consist of the following:
- Shade: Natural shade is best, and your chosen piece of land should have plenty of trees if possible. Consider adding shade cloth or structures in open areas to protect dogs from heat exhaustion.
- Seating: Some benches, picnic tables and chairs are ideal for a dog park so owners can sit and relax while their canine companions work off some excess energy.
- Waste receptacles: Hygiene is an essential consideration for any dog park. Ensure guests have plenty of waste receptacles to encourage them to clean up after their dogs. Provide them with poop scoops and bags if necessary.
- Water fountains: Dogs must always have access to water, and water fountains are a more hygienic option than water bowls, as the stagnant water in bowls can spread disease or encourage mosquito breeding. You can add some water fountains for humans as well.
- Agility equipment: Most dogs will have plenty of pent-up energy after traveling in an RV. The addition of ramps and tunnels keeps things interesting for them and adds an extra level of fun for dog owners who want to try something new.
5. Make the Rules
In the interest of dog and owner safety, providing ground rules is essential to maintain control throughout your dog park. Consider these standard dog park rules as guidelines:
- All dogs must be spayed or neutered and fully vaccinated.
- Owners must not leave their dogs unattended.
- Dogs must be on leashes when entering the dog park.
- Owners should act in everyone’s best interests — if their dogs show any signs of aggression, they must leave the park.
- Dogs must wear collars at all times.
- Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs.
- An adult must supervise children under 18.
The Benefits of KampK9®
Many KOA campgrounds offer the KampK9® experience for dog lovers, providing a competitive edge with well-researched and safe spaces for dogs and their owners to relax. Adding a dog park to your campground is easy when you have KOA on your side to help you plan for the best possible guest experience.
Some benefits of KOA KampK9® include the following:
- Dog lovers: KampK9® has a reputation for space and security for dog lovers and their pets. Many choose the trusted KampK9® experience time and time again. Your campground can enjoy the same guest loyalty and happiness when they choose your destination to travel with their pets.
- Expertise: KampK9® is designed by professionals with years of experience. They know what works and doesn’t to keep dogs and their owners safe and secure. You don’t need to worry about what speed limits to put in place or how much space to use, as we provide you with all the information you need to provide for your human and canine guests.
- Activities: You can keep guests and their dogs entertained with KampK9® activities. There is always plenty to do, which appeals to a wide range of guests and dogs.
- Safety: With KOA in your corner, you can provide safety within your dog park, so guests are confident to let their dogs off leash to burn the excess energy.
Give Your Guests the KampK9® Experience
Vacationers across the U.S. and Canada choose KampK9® to make memories with their four-legged family. With many Americans seeking the perfect balance between safety and freedom for their beloved pets, a campground with a dog park and other dog-friendly amenities is the next logical step to maintain a competitive edge and ensure your guests are happy.
If you want to elevate your campground, look no further than KOA. With over 500 campgrounds across North America, more than 60 years of experience and multiple franchise awards, KOA provides a campground service guests can trust. Whether you’re a current campground owner looking to convert to a KOA campground or starting a profitable business, feel free to request more information on how to experience the KOA difference for yourself today.