Being in an RV can be fun and exciting, especially when traveling in one. Not only can you take a break from the everyday hustle and bustle of your work and personal life, but you can also enjoy being in a vacation home on wheels, which typically has a fully-functional kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom (depending on the model and make). With these necessities packed into such a vehicle, RVs have paved the way for people to either vacation, or simply go on an adventure to find something new in life at any destination that you set your mind to. And, it’s because of these freedoms that you might see more and more RVs popping up on the road.
Maybe you’ll take your family along with you? Maybe you’ll have your friends join you? Or maybe your dog?
You heard right! Dogs can have the same fun in an RV as everyone can!
Now, while you might already be considering taking your dog with you – which there’s nothing wrong with doing so – there are still some things that you must do to ensure that Fido enjoys the trip from start to finish. It’s important to make preparations for your dog when you’re RVing, just like you prep for yourself to take the trip.
While prepping can be stressful at times, we’re here to show you 7 tips on how to successfully plan an RV trip for you and your dog to enjoy. So, let’s jump right in!
- Pack Well For Your Pup
“Treat your dog like another traveler in your party, when you go RVing,” says Ernest Walters, a travel writer at State of writing and Bestbritishessays. “That means that you must make sure that your dog has enough things to sustain them throughout the trip. Like humans, your dog may not be able to live without certain things for a long while.”
With that said, here are some of the things that you need to bring for your dog, whenever you travel by RV:
- Food (including their favorite treats) and a non-spill food bowl
- Water (Make sure that the water is filtered, so that your dog doesn’t get sick during the trip.)
- Collar and leash
- Proof of vaccinations (in case of any emergencies during the trip)
- Toys (so that your pup doesn’t get bored
- Cleaning supplies for any accidents, AND
“While packing for your dog is simple enough, it’s also important to do,” adds Walters. “Plus, you may want to bring along extra food and water for your dog, in case your trip takes longer than anticipated, or your RV breaks down. Keep your water fresh at all time – filter it, so that your dog doesn’t get sick. And, make sure you can keep your dog entertained to their favorite toys.”
- Have A Place In The RV For Fido
When you choose to have your pup ride with you in the RV, make sure that they have a place inside especially for them. Yes, even when you’re traveling from place to place in an RV, Fido needs a place to stay inside and ride. However, taking account of the type of RV you’re travelling with matters, when it comes to your dog.
Consider the following types of RVs:
- If you have a truck towing a fifth-wheeler, or a travel trailer, your dog must ride with you in your truck. Just like people, you can’t let your dog ride unattended in the trailer while it’s being towed, or else they’ll get hurt during the ride. So, it’s better that Fido rides with you instead, even if they choose to stretch out on the back seat. You can also crate your dog, if you know them to get anxious during a car ride.
- If you have a motorhome, make sure your dog is comfortable riding inside it. Chances are, they might be nervous on the first ride, because being inside a moving motorhome differs from being inside a moving car. Therefore, allow your dog to adjust to this change, before starting a long trip to them. Or, keep their bedding somewhere where you can reach and calm them down. Making sure that they’re alright can make them more relaxed than anxious while you both travel.
Now, when caring for your dog during RV travel, make sure to keep up with regular routines like bathroom breaks, feedings, and entertaining. It’s recommended that you check on your dog every so often, even when you’re driving for extended hours, and that you make a stop every few hours to give your pup water and a bathroom break.
Finally, make sure that your dog gets plenty of sleep whenever you two travel. That means finding a great place for your dog to sleep in. While they might not be used to sleeping outdoors, that doesn’t have to be their sleeping area. Instead, you can do the following:
- If your dog is used to sleeping in your bed, then allow them to sleep in your bed in the RV.
- If your dog has their own bedding, then bring it with you on your trip. Dogs can recognize their bedding just by sniffing it.
By recreating the scenario that your dog is used to sleeping in, this allows you to rest easy as well.
- Make Sure That Pup Is Buckled Up
Seatbelts are essential for people to stay safe as they drive. Though, seatbelts shouldn’t just be for humans – they should also be used on dogs, too! While it might be tempting to let Fido roam around in the cabin or sit on your lap as you drive, the truth is, letting them roam free in a moving vehicle can be dangerous to them. Plus, that’s even dangerous for you.
First, make sure that you and your dog are buckled up, whenever you both ride in the vehicle. You can invest in a seat belt harness or a dog crate to keep your dog on the spot as you drive. And again, don’t let Fido roam around inside the car; and, don’t leave them unattended inside a camper that you’re pulling. It’s best for you and Fido to be safe than sorry while on the road in an RV.
- Stay At Dog-Friendly Campgrounds
While there are many campgrounds for RVs to choose from, there are certain ones that allow dogs on the premises. However, you’ll still need to figure out what said campgrounds’ pet policies are, and how to conduct yourself with your dog once you get there. Otherwise, you will face a fine, depending on the offense and the campgrounds that you choose to stay in.
For example, if a camping place tells you to keep your dog on a leash whenever you two are out and about, don’t ignore this rule. And, if a park doesn’t allow dogs at all, respect the rule and find another location.
Though, it’s safe to do your research first on which campgrounds you wish to stay at during your RV trip. This is especially important, because policies may vary in some areas, and some rules can be updated at any day. Also, contact prospective campgrounds ahead of your scheduled trip, so that you can better understand from a representative or staff member on how you should conduct yourself with your pup.
Doing your research ahead of time and preparing yourself to stay at dog-friendly places can make things stress-free for both you and Fido.
- Keep In Mind The Activities You Do
Now, besides staying at dog-friendly campgrounds, you must also keep in mind the activities that you can and can’t do with your dog. Yes, it can be challenging trying to figure out when and when not to bring your dog on an RV trip with you.
However, if you choose not to leave your dog at home, then consider the following tips:
- Try to find places that encourage dog-friendly activities (i.e. dog parks).
- Look for restaurants or other places that have dog-friendly patios.
- Consider leaving your dog inside the RV for activities that are not dog-friendly.
Now, the last point may have merit, because dogs have enough space to wander. Plus, most dogs are okay with being left alone for a short while, since that reminds them of being at home whenever their owners are out and about. And, if your dog tends to get overwhelmed whenever they’re being left alone in the RV, be sure to close the blinds and put on some music, so that they can experience the homey feel that they’re used to.
However, if you’re not sure whether or not to leave your dog behind in your RV, or you’re not comfortable doing so at all, then consider doing only dog-friendly activities during the trip. Otherwise, if you don’t see yourself taking your dog with you at all on your RV trip, then don’t hesitate to contact a local pet-sitter, and have them look after your dog while you’re gone.
- Keep An Eye On The Weather
“It would be nice to go RVing in good weather, especially when you take your dog with you,” says David Charlotte, a lifestyle blogger at Academized and UKservicesreviews. “Unfortunately, no one has control of the weather – whether it’s sunny, rainy, or so on. So, if you choose to go RVing with your dog, be sure to plan your trip with the weather in mind. Chances are, your dog may not like certain weather conditions, even when they’re away from home.”
Here are some weather conditions to consider, and what to do with your dog during each instance:
- Summertime is usually the best times to go RVing. However, if the weather gets too hot for Fido, be sure to leave your air conditioner on. Having the AC on allows you and your dog to stay cool during the trip. Plus, be sure to give your dog plenty of water, so that they don’t get dehydrated.
- You may not want to go RVing when there’s a thunderstorm. However, when you’re on the road or at a camping ground, and you can’t avoid the rain, be sure to have your dog stay in a safe spot inside the RV. Loud sounds and thunder can make your pup terrified. Try and give them their favorite blankets and toys to help them calm down.
“Also, no matter the weather, it’s never okay to leave your dog unattended outside,” adds Charlotte. “Leaving your dog alone while on a leash may cause them to be anxious and or bored. Plus, if it gets too hot, rainy, or anything else happens outside that can either scare or get them sick, then they won’t have a good time.”
Therefore, keep tabs on the weather as you plan and go on your RV trip. And, if you MUST leave your dog at camp, be sure that the weather can permit you to do so.
- Don’t Rush Things
RVing can be fun for you and your pup. However, it’s important to note that your dog has feelings too. In fact, going from being at home all the time to travelling in an RV can seem different to your dog.
Chances are, Fido might get homesick throughout the trip. Or, they might enjoy the ride at first, but then struggle to get comfortable with traveling after a while. So, you see, you might need to give your dog some time to adjust to this change.
So, if you plan on bringing your dog on your RV trip, try these tactics with your dog before your trip begins:
- Try spending a few hours in the RV, while it’s parked next to your house or driveway. This allows your dog to familiarize themselves with being in an RV.
- Spend one or two nights in the RV, while still having parked next to the house or driveway. This allows your dog to get used to sleeping in the RV at nighttime.
- Practice putting your dog in the car seat with the seatbelt on. Sometimes, this takes practice, since it’s important to have them secured in the car. And, your dog will grow accustomed to wearing a seatbelt harness when riding.
- After practicing being in the RV for a while, try to take a few shorter trips to get your dog used to the RV moving.
When using these tips above, keep in mind that every dog is different, meaning that some breeds will adjust to changes faster than others. But ultimately, you know your pup really well, and can determine whether or not RVing is right for them.
BONUS: Have A Plan For Emergencies
Hopefully, nothing bad happens during your RV trip, especially when it comes to your dog. While emergencies are unlikely when RVing, you should still be prepared for anything that happens during your travel.
With that said, keep the following objectives in mind:
- Keep the number of a local vet, so that whenever your dog gets sick or hurt, you’ll have their number handy. You can also search for reputable vets online even before going on your trip. Or, you can ask your regular vet on recommendations for the best vets where you’re heading.
- Be sure that you keep an eye on your dog’s whereabouts inside the RV and outside. That means not letting your dog out when going in and out of the RV. The last thing you want is to accidentally leave your furry friend behind at a camping site.
- Your dog’s collar should have an ID tag at all times. The ID tag is beneficial, because if your dog happens to get lost, the person(s) who find them can easily contact and find you. Even if your dog is chipped, you should still have a tag on their collar.
- Be sure to monitor your dog’s health during the trip. While your dog may be up-to-date with their shots, it’s still important to make sure that they aren’t sick. If they DO appear to be sick, then seek medical help immediately.
Ultimately, if you’re a dog owner, RVing with your dog can be fun, once you two get going. And, this brings in more opportunities to spend quality time with your furry friend, and build fond memories with them. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your dog is safe and happy while RVing with you. While RVing with your pup may be stressful at times, there will also be times when you two can have fun.
So, in review, keep in mind these 7 tips that have been discussed in this article:
- Be sure to pack well for your dog, as if you were packing for another person.
- Have a designated place in the RV for your dog to eat, play, and sleep.
- You and pup – buckle up!
- Stay at campgrounds that are okay with dogs being on the premises.
- Plan activities that are suitable for both you and your dog.
- Plan ahead with the weather in mind. AND,
- Be patient, when training your dog to go RVing with you.
And, as always, don’t be afraid to seek help whether something happens to your dog. It’s better to be safe than sorry, as described in this article.
Other than that, we hope that these tips will help you and your dog have a good time, while staying safe, when RVing. Happy travels!
Kristin Herman is a writer and editor at Lia Help and Boomessays. She is also a contributing writer for online magazine and blogs, such as Top Canadian Writers. As a blogger, she specializes in vet care, animal rights activism, and pet travel.