One of the many benefits of RVing is being able to bring along your furry family members. It can be so rewarding watching your dogs experience new places, sights, and sniffs—they’ll love the adventures just as much as you will!
RVing with dogs doesn’t have to be stressful either, as long as you are prepared and know what to expect. Here are some tips:
Research pet-friendly destinations ahead of time. Some campgrounds and RV parks do not allow pets at all, so you’ll want to know this before showing up. It’s also not enough just to verify that they allow dogs, because some have breed and weight restrictions. Check the park’s website or call beforehand to confirm and understand their rules and regulations for pets. It’s also not uncommon for parks to allow pets only on certain sites and/or charge a few extra dollars per day per pet.
Travelers are often caught by surprise when they discover that many National Parks do not allow dogs on the trails. This is usually to protect the environment of the park and ensure visitors’ safety. Dogs are typically allowed in the park and campgrounds, just not on trails, so you’ll need to plan accordingly when you head out for a hike or bike ride.
Having an emergency situation with your dog can ruin your RV adventures, so it’s best to be proactive and do everything you can to avoid these situations. First off, bring a first aid kit for your dog along with their vaccination records and any medications they need, including flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Be mindful of where the nearest vet or animal hospital is from your campsite. Also, ensure that your dog is always wearing their collar with identification tags and that he/she is microchipped. Dogs are good at navigating their way home in their neighborhood, but not always out in the wilderness
For short periods of time, it is okay to leave your dog alone in the RV. After all, you can’t bring them everywhere. You could hire a pet sitter to stay with your dog in the RV if you plan to be away for an extended amount of time, just like you would with a house. You may also want to consider hiding a key to your RV somewhere in case an emergency comes up and you are unable to get back to your RV. Someone from the park’s office would then be able to get your pet out of the RV and keep them safe until you can return.
Recommended Dog Gear
Similar to baby monitors, some of these these cameras have night vision capabilities and can connect to your phone through an app so you can keep an eye on your dog while you’re away from the RV.
This wireless temperature monitoring device allows you to remotely check the temperature of your RV and will send you a text/email alert when the temperature exceeds a permissible level. This is important because even if you are hooked up to electricity at your site, it’s not uncommon to experience brief power outages at campgrounds, which may turn your A/C off.
It’s nice to allow your dog to have a little freedom and fresh air. Giving them a small fenced in area to walk around in and spend time outside without being leashed up keeps them from going “stir crazy” in the RV.
Light Up Collar
Campgrounds are extremely dark at night and if your dog happens to wander off, it can be difficult to see them. A light up collar stands out, especially in a poorly-lit environment.
Portable Water Bowl
These are great for hikes because you can fit them in your backpack and share some of your water with your dog. They’re also great to keep in the car for travel days or when your dog gets to tag along with you around town.
Keep them busy!
Just like humans, dogs can feel a little cooped up after long periods in a small space. To avoid boredom, which can lead to destruction and naughty behavior, ensure you get your dog out of the RV every couple hours for a walk or run. It’s also nice to keep some chew toys or bones on hand!
Keep these general “rules” in mind and you, your neighbors, and your dog will all be happy campers:
- Keep bags on hand at all times so you can pick up after your dog
- Don’t let them bark at people walking by your RV all day
- Don’t leave them tied up unattended outside
- Respect others who may not love your dog as much as you do by keeping them on a leash at all times
We hope you and your four-legged friends enjoy your RV adventures together and use these tips to be prepared and stay safe. You might be surprised how quickly your dog adjusts to life on the road, as long as you plan ahead and make it a smooth transition for them. Happy trails…or “tails”…to you!
Lindsay McKenzie travels full-time in her Winnebago Navion with her husband Dan and their 2 dogs. Originally from Colorado, they have been seeking adventure together for 10 years now and have done a lot of international traveling, including living in Costa Rica. They took the leap into full time RVing after experiencing life-altering news. They viewed the news as a life “detour” and started a travel and inspirational blog called Follow Your Detour. Lindsay has grown more passionate about pursuing her dreams and a leading a fulfilling life, while inspiring others to do the same. She loves that RVing allows her to be in nature and do more of what she loves. You can usually find her on the river fly fishing, hiking to sunset spots, or at a local brewery.
(All photos by Lindsay McKenzie, except where noted.)