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Ultimate Guide to RVing with Dogs

They are man’s best friend and who better to celebrate life’s sweetest and most enjoyable moments than our furry little (or not so little) buddies.

Are you wondering if you can take your dog with you when you travel in your RV? Or are you worried about bringing him on the road with you?

Well, this article is for you, our fellow dog lovers. Don’t worry, we’ve got you and your furry friend’s back. We’ve got tips for you so that your doggos can enjoy the trip as much as you do and everything else you need to know about RVing with your dog.

Finding the Perfect Pet-friendly RV

Before anything else, we have to make sure that your camper is dog-friendly. It should be a place where your furry buddy can feel comfortable and feel at home, just like how you should be feeling. Your rig must be able to address his needs too.

So, if you plan to take your pet with you when you go camping, you should also have his needs and comfort in mind when looking for the perfect RV.

Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for in an RV if your dogs will be traveling with you.

There should be space in the bedroom or sleeping quarters for your dogs.

What size are your dogs? If you have a small breed, then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. But if your pet is large, then you would need extra space in your bedroom for your furry pal. It could be on the bed or on the floor.

We all know how limited space is in a camper so you have to choose one with a bedroom or sleeping quarters that have enough space for you and your pet.

There should be easy access in and out of the RV.

When looking for the perfect rig for you and your pet, check how he would be able to go out and in of your camper. Take note of the number of steps and the space in between steps leading to the main entrance and if its manageable for your dog so that he can go in and out without any trouble when you’re already parked at the campgrounds.

Avoid floor to ceiling windows.

Floor to ceiling windows provide a great view of the outdoors. However, it would overly excite your pet when he sees a squirrel outside and you know what happens next. Either he would make a fuss or damage your windows in this eagerness to reach the squirrel right away.

Make sure there’s proper temperature control.

Consider the fact that you won’t be able to take your dogs with you wherever you want to go. He might not want to go boating or might get too tired hiking so it’s best to leave him inside the camper where he’ll be much more comfortable. If your RV has proper temperature control, that is.

Your RV should be able to keep your dog cool during hot summer days and warm and snug when the weather is chilly. You would need at least one A/C unit, a vent fan, and a furnace for this. There should also be a system in place that automatically switches to another power source once the battery runs out. This feature will ensure that your dog will stay comfy while you’re out.

Choose an RV with as little carpet as possible.

As a pet owner, you would know the reason behind this. It is so hard to clean the carpet! Accidents can happen even if your dog has been trained to go potty outside. Or it could be a different kind of mess like spilled food and water and all those fur!

You’re out camping to enjoy and relax, not stress yourself with cleaning up after your pet. It’s just so much easier to clean up on hard surface floors. You get the task done quickly and you can go back to having a relaxing time.

Just a tip: Don’t take your dog RV shopping with you!

It’s best to leave your dog at home when you plan to buy your RV. Whether you’re going to an RV show or to the dealer store, there’s just too much going on that might overwhelm your dear pet. We don’t know what would happen when you get there.

It would also give you time to evaluate the rig if it would suit your needs. You won’t be distracted all the time. Of course, keep your dog’s interests in mind as you go shopping.

Another reason why it’s best to leave your dogs at home is so that they won’t associate the new RV with a bad experience. Dogs are very sensitive creatures and for them, first impressions last. So you would want them to associate your RV with a happy experience so that they can adjust to it easily.

Those are just some of our RV shopping tips for you so that you can select the perfect camper for your family and beloved pet.

Introducing Your Dog to the RV

It’s always best to familiarize your dogs with something that is new to them. A new environment such as living in an RV, even for a short amount of time, can cause them distress and we don’t want that to happen.

You need to introduce your dogs to your new pet-friendly RV gradually. Let them explore it and allow them to be comfortable inside before you take him camping with you.

It usually takes time.

It is like crate training your dog. It will take time before he can fully adjust and be comfortable in your new RV. He might be hesitant at first since everything is new to him.

To help your dog adjust, you can put his favorite stuff inside the rig. This includes his dog bed, food and water bowls, blanket, and his favorite toy. Giving your dog treats while inside the rig would also help a lot. He’ll be able to associate your RV with happy moments with you and that’s where our beloved pets always want to be.

Give your dog the time he needs to find his spot in the camper – it could be by the door, inside the bedroom, or in the living area. This will make it easier for him to be comfortable when you’re already in transit.

Taking the Dogs for a Drive in the RV

Some dogs don’t like car rides especially long drives. They get restless or car sick. If your pet is like this, you have to be patient. You’ve got to show him that RV trips are fun and you’ll be able to share quality time together.

Take your dog out for a test drive.

Don’t let your camping trip be your dog’s first time to ride your new camper. He might be bothered by the sound of the engine or the movement of the rig.

Who knows what your dog can do under these circumstances? He might try to go to your seat or beg to be let out.

So make sure you take your dog for a test drive in your new rig. It should be a short ride initially until you feel that he’s ready for the long drive.

Tire the dogs out

Dog owners know how helpful it is to tire the dogs out. It would help keep them calm or they would be too tired really to mind anything else as they would just prefer a nice nap while you’re on the road.

Be patient

Dogs are not trained to be used to your new rig overnight. Each dog has a different pace in training and they need your patience through it all. Just continue making them feel comfortable inside the rig and have fun along the way so that he would know that it’s enjoyable to travel in an RV.

Is it OK to leave dogs in an RV?

As mentioned earlier, there are times when we just cannot take our dogs with us when we explore the outdoors. So we have to leave them inside our rigs for a while.

You can leave your dogs unattended in a campground provided you’ve done all the necessary precautions to ensure your dog’s safety. You must also ensure that they won’t be disturbing your neighbors. Check your campgrounds policy regarding these matters.

Here are some tips before you leave your dogs inside your camper.

Start with short trips

As with anything else, you have to get your dog used to you going out and leaving him inside the RV by himself.

Of course, you have to start with this training when your furry pal is already settled and comfortable inside your rig. Otherwise, his anxieties will pile up and you’ll be dealing with behavioral problems making your camping more stressful rather than relaxing and enjoyable.

When you dog already feels at home in your camper and you feel he is ready to be left by himself, then try doing so for a max of 30 minutes. See how he takes it.

If your dog is able to handle it just fine, then you can try extending the time that you’re gone to 45 minutes to an hour. You can gradually adjust the length of time as you see fit.

If you do plan to leave your doggo by himself for at least 4 hours, it is best that you do the necessary preparations for it. Get up early and tire him out with physical exercise. You also have to make sure that he has eaten his food and drank his water. Then have him go potty so that everything’s been taken cared of before you go.

Be mindful of the weather

Check the weather forecast for the day to determine if you need to keep the A/C running all the time or the fans would be enough to keep him cool and well ventilated. If there’s a thunderstorm, make sure your dog feels safe by surrounding him with his favorite toys and blanket.

Make sure your power source or electrical hookup is reliable. It’s best to leave your rig in a campground so that you can ask the staff to contact you in case there is an emergency.

You should also have a pet safety temperature monitor installed and connected on your smartphone. This app will notify you when the temperature is getting too hot for your dog.

Explore with them

RVing with dogs means taking your dogs with you when you go out and explore the outdoors. It doesn’t just simply mean they’re with you inside the camper. So the instances mentioned earlier about leaving your dogs by themselves in the RV should be more of an exception rather than the rule.

Because RVing with dogs mean taking your dogs wherever you want to go. It follows that you should constantly look for dog-friendly places and stay away from surroundings that do not agree with your furry pal.

Go and explore the outdoors with your dogs. They would love the open and natural space. Besides, it’s a great bonding experience with your dog – quality time wherein it’s just you and your dear pet.

Consider the neighbors

People are generally concerned about pets being left by themselves inside vehicles. So for those with large windows wherein other people can see your dog inside your camper, you can put a sign or note on the window or door informing passersby and onlookers that you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort while you’re out.

It is actually great that people are concerned about pets being left inside campers. We all know how hot it gets the moment you turn off the engine and close the door. You can’t blame them if they call security to make sure that your pet is safe. So it’s best to leave a note explaining the precautions that you’ve done for everyone’s peace of mind.

RV parks and campgrounds have strict rules regarding ensuring your pet’s safety when you’re away as well as guaranteeing that other visitors in the campgrounds are not harmed and disturbed by your dog while you’re not there. Always follow their policies to avoid any problems.

Tips and Tricks – Having an Enjoyable RVing Experience with Dogs

We won’t lie to you, RVing with dogs has its challenges but here are some tips and tricks that we’ve learned along the way so that you can have an enjoyable time with your dog.

Pack well for your pup

We buy dog stuff when we’re at home, what more when we’re on the road? The key in RVing with dogs is to make sure that you bring with you everything that you need to make your dog safe, healthy, comfortable, and entertained while you’re traveling. This will help ensure that you spend a great time with your dog during the entire trip.

Here’s a short checklist of essential things to bring when RVing with dogs.

  • Dog food, depending on your pet’s diet
  • Treats
  • Non-spill food bowl
  • Bathing tools
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Toys
  • Dog bed or bedding
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Vitamins and medication if necessary
  • Health records and proof of vaccinations

These are just some of the pet essentials when taking your dog RVing with you. It’s best to always be prepared with everything he needs since it might be hard for you to find them on the road especially when you’re going to a remote area.

Go for long walks on travel days

Long walks will tire your dog physically and help keep him calm or asleep while you’re traveling. He’ll be worn out and subdued so you don’t have to worry about him getting restless while on the road.

You can also put some water in a no-spill dog bowl so that he can drink whenever he wants to. This way, he won’t get thirsty especially when the travel time is quite long.

Be mindful of potty breaks

You would know your dog’s potty schedule so just keep it mind while you’re the road. Before you start your travel, make sure his bath needs are already fulfilled. Especially if you have a water bowl inside the camper, it is wise to let him have potty breaks in between to avoid accidents.

Take advantage of the rest stops so you can walk your dog for a while and let him do his thing. You can also observe your pet as they have certain behaviors that’ll tell you when they need to go potty.

There are also some dogs who can hold their bladder for a long time and don’t have to go potty until you reach your destination. It really depends on your dogs so it’s best to be attuned to their bathroom needs while traveling.

Vacuum daily

The thing with having dogs around is that you constantly have to deal with a lot of fur! And there are some breeds that are more prone to shedding than others.

Some shed a lot during a particular time while some seem to be shedding their fur all year long. So yes, RVing with dogs means vacuuming your camper everyday. It’s best to vacuum daily to keep all the fur under control. You don’t want the your rig to look like it’s been snowing inside, do you? There are handheld pet vacuums available in the market which will make cleaning their fur such a breeze.

Finding local vets

We can’t help it. Sometimes when we’re RVing with dogs, our beloved pets get sick while we’re traveling and we need to take them to the vet. But where? As they say, the best way to find a good and trusted vet is through word of mouth. If you have relatives or friends in the vicinity of where you’re camping, it’s best to ask them for recommendations.

There are also online resources that you can check to obtain a verified list of licensed vets in each state or province where you’re in. Of course, you only want what’s best for your pet, right? You wouldn’t want to put him in the hands of someone who doesn’t have the competence to treat your dear doggo. Make sure that the local vet is duly licensed so that he or she can give your dog the best possible care.

Stay at a campground that is dog-friendly

Check the policies regarding pets of the RV parks and campgrounds where you plan to stay. Rules and regulations may differ across different locations.

There are some national parks that do not allow any pets. There are RV parks that would require you to keep your dog leashed whenever you’re outside with them. There are also some campgrounds that even allocate a specific area where your dogs can run freely with other dogs. The thing is, you should be a responsible dog parent, know the pet rules, and comply with them.

You can call the campgrounds ahead of time to inquire about their pet policies. Or you can also check their website for information. There are a lot of dog-friendly parks and campgrounds so don’t worry. You’ll surely find a place where you can both enjoy the outdoors together.

Always buckle up (and this includes your little furry pal)

Although there are some of us who love to cuddle with your dogs while traveling, please keep in mind that this isn’t a safe practice – for your dog and for you!

Make sure your dog is safely buckled up while traveling. Use the seat belt harness or you can put him in a dog crate or carrier. If you choose the latter, please make sure that you secure it into place so that it won’t slide around as you’re driving.

Take note, responsible RVing with dogs means your dog should stay with you inside the towing vehicle while you’re in transit. Do not leave him alone inside the travel trailer since you can’t monitor him there.

Keep your dog safe on the road by buckling him up. It’ll protect him from getting injured. You’ll also be able to focus on your driving because your dog won’t distract you.

Incorporate daily exercise into your schedule

This is different from the long walks that we advised you earlier. Those are for your travel days and long drive.

Your dog needs daily exercise to keep him fit, healthy, and calm. Do not just keep him stuck inside your camper. That is torture! He would love to go outside and be able to stretch his legs or run around. Take your dog out for a walk everyday.

This is also why you should stay at dog-friendly campgrounds and parks. Some of them have designated areas where your dog can run around because they understand your dog’s need to be able to exert some of his energy. They will also be able to socialize and play with other doggos much to their delight for sure.

But if the weather is bad, you can just allow your dog to play inside your camper. If your space is big enough, you can play fetch with your dog. Just make sure that you still engage him with physical and mental exercises every day so that he’ll stay active, happy, and healthy.

Prepare for wildlife run-ins

When you’re outdoors, there’s a high probability that you will encounter some wildlife such as squirrels and birds. But there can also be potentially dangerous animals out there.

Remember dogs are hunters by nature. They can smell other animals from afar. Whatever the circumstances, make sure that you are able to control your dog properly so that he won’t go chasing those animals and put himself at risk.

When RVing with dogs, please make sure that your dog is always up to date with his vaccines so that he is healthy and has a high level of immunity. We don’t know what disease they can get from contact with other animals. Also include medication for flea and tick problems in your dog’s health and grooming kit. This way you can immediately suppress fleas and ticks in case you see them on your dog.

Be a good neighbor

Be considerate of others who are sharing the campgrounds with you. Always clean up after your dog and keep your surroundings clean.

Don’t ruin their fun and relaxation by keeping your dog from barking. Put them on leash if the campgrounds ask you to. This way your dog will stay close to you and won’t disturb your neighbors who are out to have a good time for themselves.

Wrap Up

For some people, dogs are more than just pets. They are family. And that means that they should be included when they go traveling and camping because it just won’t be as much fun without your furbabies. We understand that. That’s why we hope this article about RVing with dogs has encouraged you to take your dog exploring the outdoors with you. We hope you’ve learned a lot from our recommendations so that RVing with dogs can be easier, more comfortable, and more fun for you and your furry best pal.

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