Dos and Don’ts of RVing with Dogs

What’s the one way to make an already amazing RV adventure even more amazing? Bringing your furry family member along for the journey, of course! And we’ve got a survey conducted by the RV Industry Association and more than 60% of RV owners to back us up on this one! These RVers feel that traveling with their four-legged companions is a blast and open-handedly embrace the idea. And, what’s not to like? You get to explore new areas, take share-worthy photos, spend time with your best friend and develop a closer bond. Still, there is far more that goes into it than you may know. For instance, did you know your pooch requires a health certificate, vaccines, and even blood tests to travel to another country? Fortunately, RVing with dogs is not at all challenging to prepare for! With some dos and don’ts that we have prepared for you based on the experience of dog owners, pretty soon, you will be all set for your next fabulous RV adventure.

Do: Check in with your veterinarian

Before leaving for your trip, schedule an appointment with your vet to ensure that your dog is up-to-date on vaccination and has a clean bill of health. There’s no way to know what he may encounter in a new location. Therefore, a checkup is a surefire way to ensure they are as protected as possible. What’s more, many states require pet owners to have a current certificate of veterinary inspection on them. So, take shot records with you. Finally, since travel anxiety and motion sickness are very common, now’s a good time to check in with your vet about treatment options.

 Schedule a checkup with your vet before leaving for your trip!

Don’t: Strike out before you acclimate your dog to the rig

Is your dog accustomed to the RV lifestyle and travel? If not, then everything, from all the new smells to engine noises and the swaying of the vehicle, can cause anxiety. Bring him inside the parked RV, and let him explore a bit. Condition your dog with positive reinforcement and designate a space for him by bringing their favorite toys and dog bed from home. Spend some time hanging out in the camper van. Then, start taking him for short spins around the block and then gradually increase the distance. Make sure to always use the same seat-harness system or crate you intend to use during your travels, and give him plenty of praise and favorite treats! It’s all about making the experience positive!

Do: Prepare Fido for a safe and calm road trip

On your travel day, pet owners recommend tiring your dog out. A long walk or a ball game before leaving will eliminate any pent-up energy that would cause your pup to feel restless. They also suggest feeding your pooch at least one hour before the trip to prevent upset stomachs. Stocking up on anti-nausea medication is also a good idea if you plan on driving for long periods of time, even if he has never had any problems with motion sickness or nausea. Your vet can recommend and prescribe anti-sickness treatment for you. Lastly, make sure you’re ready if your dog gets hurt at some point during your RV trip. That could be anything, from snake bites to injuries, and allergic reactions, so bring a first aid kit with the basics to treat your pup on scene.

Don’t: Leave your dog unsecured

Recreational vehicles do not have seat belts for our fur babies. So, when traveling in an RV with a dog, it’s best to put him in a seat belt harness or keep him safely tucked away in a dog crate. If you decide to go with the crate or carrier, it is essential to make sure it’s secured down and won’t slide around while driving. And finally, never put your dog alone in the camper you are pulling. 

DO: Have a pet temperature monitor

Temperature extremes are incredibly dangerous for pets. Alarming heat can build up in an RV in hot weather. Since dogs cannot sweat like humans can and rely solely on panting to cool themselves, it can lead to brain damage or even heart stroke. That is why regulating the temperature is extremely important when RVing with dogs. 

And that’s where pet temperature monitors come in. 

For instance, if you’re in one of the gorgeous camping locations near Denver and looking into some family spring activities in the city, like museums, where dogs aren’t allowed, there are pet temperature monitors that allow you to track heat and humidity from afar. This way, you and your family get to spend a day and have fun in the city without having to constantly worry about your dog’s safety.

Don’t: Forget to research the campground rules and park before you leave

Campgrounds, RV parks, national parks, state parks, and local parks in the US generally welcome dogs. However, some are a whole lot more dog-friendly than others. The rules you encounter may vary. For instance, some developed campgrounds have breed restrictions. Some others place a weight limit or limit their four-legged guests to “small dogs only.” For this reason, make sure you do your research! Reading the fine print attentively before making that reservation is crucial when bringing dogs along for an RV adventure.

 Traveling with your furry best friend is fun, but respect the campground’s rules and regulations.

When RV camping with a dog, you may want to keep an eye out for the following:

  • Dedicated pet sites 
  • Limits on the number of dogs per campsite
  • The maximum length of the leash allowed
  • Areas where your dog is and is not allowed
  • Pet fees
  • Proof of vaccinations

Do: Mind your pup’s manners

Whatever pet-friendly campground you opt for will be a new and exciting environment for your dog. For this reason, it’s essential to ensure all that excitement doesn’t get the better of him. Before you hit the road, brush up on some basic commands and key skills. These include walking to heel, meeting and greeting strangers, being quiet, and how to behave in public. Well-mannered behavior goes a long way to ensuring a successful and relaxing stay when RVing with dogs.

Make sure you’re a “pawfect” guest!

Don’t: Leave a mess

Make sure to follow the park rules about cleanliness and always pick up after yourself and your pup. If designated bins are provided, make sure to throw away your trash in the appropriate ones at the end of each day, especially when leaving for good. Pack doggy-doo clean-up supplies, like dog waste disposal bags and a scooper, hygiene products for your pooch, and all the right cleaning supplies for the mess inside the rig. Do that, and you can rest assured that you’re doing your bit to boost the reputation of canine campers.

Do: Savor the time together

Last but not least, remember to have fun! RVing with dogs can seem like a hassle, but it is undoubtedly an unparalleled experience! 

Nikolaj Avila is a journalist and a former full-time RVer who loves reading a good book, adventure holidays, beachside getaways, weekend road trips, and blogging about his travels with his fiancée Bella and their French Bulldog Wiggles.

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