Going on vacation is one of life’s great pleasures, but oftentimes, it doesn’t include your pet. That’s why RV travel is the perfect compromise. If you choose an RV vacation, you won’t have to worry about the unnecessary and sometimes cruel practice of leaving your furry friend behind!
Regular RVers know that it takes a lot of prep and planning before hitting the road, especially with your dog along for the ride. Read on for the best tips and tricks for RVing with pets!
Why RV Camping with Dogs is Amazing
There are many pros to hitting the road with your furry friends. For starters, you no longer have to leave your dogs at home, find a kennel with a great reputation, or trust someone to pet-sit while you’re away. RV travel options give dog owners much more freedom and choice for bringing their dogs along. It is also a cheaper option than traveling abroad. Vacationing with an RV is one of the most flexible options – particularly if you follow our tips. It’s also great for those who rely on their dogs for healthcare needs, as it means nobody gets to miss out on trips and time away from home.
Your dog provides second-to-none companionship. One of the greatest things about dogs is that they’re always happy to be where you are. A well-trained dog makes a fantastic travel bud! Puppers are obvious stress-busters, and what better way to wind down than taking time to relax with the happiest animal on Earth? Not to mention having a dog nearby can make single travelers feel considerably safer and more comfortable, no matter where you visit.
It’s not just you who enjoys this break. Your dog will revel in the freedom of RV parks and all its paw-fect perks. For example, boondocking. Park your RV and check out the local ponds. You and the pup can easily walk the dog-friendly trails and enjoy the national park camping grounds. Be sure to read the rules beforehand and prioritize your and your canine companion’s wellbeing.
Things to Consider Before RVing with Dogs
While there are many upsides to RVing with dogs, it’s worth considering the cons, too. You must be well-prepped for your vacation. RVing works best over long expanses of empty terrain. This means that you won’t be able to make emergency pit-stops for supplies. Make sure you don’t forget anything your dog may need, such as medicine, puppy pads, or bedding. You wouldn’t want your relaxing time to turn into an RV nightmare!
Remember your pet will need plenty of rest stops. They will need to make frequent potty breaks, as they can’t use the RV toilet. Your pupper will also need to stretch their legs! Otherwise, they could become stiff and cranky. You also don’t want to leave your pet alone in the RV for very long – especially if they’re prone to separation anxiety. The last thing anyone needs when vacationing with their dogs is to return from the store to find their recreational vehicle has been torn to shreds.
Anyone who travels with dogs should also be aware of each RV park’s rules before stopping there. For example, some national parks do not allow dogs to be off-leash on certain trails – although dogs are allowed on most of their campsites. Rules like these could cut your travel days short, as you’ll need to return to your pets to ensure they’re safe and comfortable.
That said, with proper planning, there’s no reason why RVing with dogs can’t be fun, safe, and filled with amazing experiences! Whether you’re looking for full-time RVing, or simply wanting to get away for a couple of days, you’re sure to have a great time with your pup.
Full-Time RV Living with Dogs
Full-time RVers know the joy of having a free lifestyle. You can start and stop wherever, and whenever, you want. However, if you’re looking to RV with pets, many dog owners will happily tell you that there’s so much more you’ll need to consider for your pet’s wellbeing. For example, it’s one thing to have a classic Luna travel trailer for the full-time RVing family. It’s another thing entirely to expect a dog to sit in the car for the majority of the day. The Luna trailer has a smaller floor space, which would make dog living cramped and uncomfortable.
Investing in the right recreational vehicle – for both you and your pet – is of paramount importance. Living in an RV full-time can be great, but is not really only worth it for those with more time commitments. If your job requires you to leave your dog alone for long periods of time, it might not be worth the investment. If you’re ready, you should look for an RV with the right amount of space, a good AC system for temperature monitoring, and above all, a safe space for your pup.
Safety Tips for RVing with Your Pets
When it comes to your trip, knowing how to keep your dog safe in an RV should be the top priority. While car rides are great for short trips and can keep your dog happily amused, an RV trip requires planning for the long-term. Here are some tips to keep you and your pupper happy and safe:
Go Slow and Watch Your Dog: You’ll need to make sure that your dog can handle the roads. It’s no secret that some dogs don’t do well with cars and many can even get travel sick. It’s always a good idea to see how your dog handles general car trips before moving up to longer day trips. That way, you can feel confident taking your furry friend on a full vacation!
Never Leave Your Dog Alone For Long Periods: This is important! As well-behaved as your dog might be, there’s every chance your dog can get up to mischief while you’re gone. They’ll also need regular breaks to stretch their legs and go to the bathroom.
Temperature Monitoring: Another major player in traveling with your dog is the RV temperature. Most RV options will have AC, but not all vehicles. Be sure to check before you hit the road and always make sure your dog has access to fresh water, even while the vehicle is in motion. You can easily check if an air conditioner is available in any rented RV vacation homes.
Research: We’ve included further tips for making you and your furry friends as comfortable as possible before you hit the road. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t check travel blogs and other local vloggers for advice, too! Checking others’ experiences and advice can be just as valuable.
Essential Products You’ll Need for RVing with Pets
While many people will already own most of the dog products required for RV travel, it’s always worth going through the following checklist to see if there are some things you may have missed. Take a look!
- Water Bowls
- Good quality leash
- Collars for all your pets (including the cat!)
- Dog ID tags
- Contact details for local vets (including an email address for questions)
- Favorite toys
- Dog first aid kit (for both you and your pup)
- Treats, food, and plenty of water
- Grooming tools (dog hair and RVs do not mix!)
- Some loose plans and itineraries, including for places to go in each spot
- Pet crate
- Puppy pads
- Pet-friendly wipes
- Map or navigation system (you don’t want to lose your way with a dog in tow!)
- Old Towels
- Documents (if traveling over country lines)
- Medicines and treatments (fleas in an RV are not how you want to remember your trip!)
Important Tips for RVing With Your Dogs
While we’ve mentioned the all-important safety tips, it’s worth checking out these general tricks and tips for making the best memories for you and your pup. There is a basic etiquette to RVing with dogs that everyone should follow. While most of these tips may feel obvious to you, as a respectful RVer, it’s worth reading through to make sure your trip is the best it can possibly be.
Put Your Pet First
One piece of advice we cannot stress strongly enough is to put your pet first. Don’t leave your dog hanging just for a night out with new friends. Quiet, outdoor adventures are better to focus on, as they can include your pet. It could be tempting to go off on an 18-mile hike or bike ride through the town, but if that means having to leave your dog behind, then perhaps it is better to reconsider. You can always compromise with shorter hikes on trails that allow dogs and exploring the town on foot. After all, you brought your canine companion with you to enjoy all the things this trip has to offer – so make the most of your time together!
Be Respectful to Other RVers
Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of dogs. While some of us may think these people are crazy for passing up on such an amazing creature, it’s important to be respectful of others. Keep your dog on a leash – especially around other dogs – and no matter how well-trained your pup is. You might be perfectly happy to see your dog make some new friends, but others might not be so thrilled by the prospect. Just something to keep in mind! Head over to our reviews of dog leashes and retractable dog leashes for more choices.
Check Online for the Best Boondocking Spots for Dogs
Read through reviews and see what rules are in place for individual boondocking spots. Some places may have a space that allows your dog to run wild without a leash, while others may have stricter leash laws to keep your dog and the surrounding wildlife safe. Some may have a pond for cooling off that both you and your pet can dive into, while others may be for animals only. A little research here goes a long way, so check out the name, email, and website of each site for responsible boondocking.
Give Them Space
While traveling with your pets is a unique and incredible experience, do be mindful you may need some downtime from each other. This is especially true if you have multiple pets, such as a cat and dog, as both of these animals will need their own, safe space for relaxing without fuss.
Q: Do most RV parks allow dogs?
A: While most state parks are pet friendly, each area and RV park will come with its own leash laws and regulations regarding what you can and can’t do with your pup. Luckily, most owners are pretty upfront about whether or not they allow dogs in their parks, so just ask before you set off and don’t worry if you’re turned down in one place. There will always be another that accepts you and your fur family!
Q: Can you leave your dog in the RV?
A: Safe temperatures can never be guaranteed in ANY vehicle, so it’s never wise to leave any animal alone. That said, if you need to head out for 10 minutes to grab some snacks from the store, there’s no harm in popping your pup in a crate to keep them safe while you’re out.
Q: How can I find dog-friendly RV parks near me?
A: There are a number of great websites out there that can help you find the perfect place to park for the night. Some of the most pet-friendly places will advertise freely, but any RV park worth its rate will make themselves available to you. So don’t feel shy! Call and ask a specific place any questions you may have – they should be happy to answer them!