According to data provided by RV and Playa, the majority of RVers travel with dogs. Canines are often fantastic companions to bring on your road trip; they are adventurous and playful—just like you! They are essential members of your family, so it just makes sense to bring them along. Plus, you don’t have to worry about pet sitters or boarding. It is important to keep in mind that your dog is depending on you to meet their needs, so here are some things to be mindful of when traveling with your best pal.
Introducing Dogs to your RV
If you haven’t taken your pup on an RV road trip before, it is probably a good idea to introduce the dog to the space while the vehicle is stationary. The dog will have a chance to become familiar with the cabin and all the new smells. This process will ensure that they are more comfortable in the space while your rig is on the move or far from home base!
Essential Items and Modifications
When you’re on the road with dogs, it’s a given that you’re going to have some additional items to bring along. With limited space available, it’s good to be aware of what you have room for and how you can optimize storage. Here is a basic travel checklist of some things you should always have on hand:
- Current veterinary records
- Dog First-Aid kit
- Collapsible bowls
- Extra dog food
- Potable water
- Doggie bags
- Kennel or crate (with a dog bed or comfortable bedding)
- Up-to-date tags
You can never have too many doggie bags! Collapsible bowls are great for storage and hikes. Always pack extra water for daytime excursions.
Consider that your dog will need a comfortable place to sleep in your RV. You may also want to consider other accommodations, such as modifications. For example, it might be a good idea to remove carpet, if you have it. Accidents can happen even with well-trained dogs. The mess is much easier to clean up on a hard surface.
For the safety of you and your pet, you should also have a crate or kennel for your dog while your vehicle is in motion. Before you set out, give the dog a chance to familiarize himself with the kennel. You can reinforce positive behaviors with treats.
If you like to have air flow during stops, you may consider installing an aluminum screen door. You and your dog can enjoy air circulation without worry of an escape attempt or scratching damage. If you want to keep your dog out of certain areas of your RV, you will want a retractable barrier. For spending time outdoors, we suggest installing a hook on the outside of your RV to attach a leash or lead. This will prevent your dog from wandering off—and help them feel included in the activities!
RV Campground and Park Rules for Dogs
If you’re visiting campgrounds or RV parks, be mindful of the site’s rules about dogs. Some places, such as certain state parks and beaches, do not allow dogs due to preservation concerns. Some sites may also limit the number of dogs you can bring to a site, so it’s always best practice to do your research ahead of your trip.
Always clean up after your pet! As RVers, you know that it’s important to leave the natural world in the same state you found it in. Also, many areas require your dog to be on a leash, so it’s important to pay attention to local regulations and be considerate of other travelers and dogs. This may seem like an obvious one, but make sure your dog is always wearing a collar with updated information on the tags. It’s always best to play it safe.
Challenges to Consider
Having a dog or dogs in an RV does present some challenges. As opposed to traveling with other humans, you will have to be okay with making more frequent stops than usual. You’ll need to give your pup a chance to relieve himself and get some energy out on the road. Dogs, especially certain breeds, require adequate exercise in order to keep them happy and healthy (and help you avoid dealing with unwanted behaviors). Stopping occasionally for a quick walk or ball toss will also give you the opportunity to stretch and catch some much-needed air.
If you’re a part-time RVer, a road trip will disrupt your dog’s routine. That is okay! There are some ways to mitigate this: firstly, try to keep your dog on a regular food and sleep schedule. Aim to feed them their usual diet at around the same times each day and be consistent with bedtimes. This will help prevent anxiety or even upset stomachs.
Additionally, if you’re spending a lot of time outside in the wilderness, your dog may be at risk for fleas and ticks. It can’t hurt to discuss professional advice with a veterinarian to help keep your pup safe and healthy.
A dog can bring so much extra joy to your journey. They make great hiking partners, playmates, protectors, and snuggle buddies. They offer an added layer of security and protection, and they help motivate you to get the exercise you need. As long as you make the necessary accommodations and provide them with proper training, a road trip with your furry companion will be a breeze.