Planning a road trip and want to take your favorite fur baby along? While RV camping with dogs can be a bit challenging at times, it’s also well worth it.
Read on for things to do before you leave, ideas for dog-friendly destinations, and some helpful tips to help ensure you have an awesome adventure.
Before you embark on your adventure, ensure your pet’s immunizations are current. While you’re at the vet’s office, also ask for a copy of their records. That way, you have them should an emergency arise.
Make extra copies and keep them organized in a three-ring binder. Some parks require a hard copy to keep on file. Having extra copies will make life easier during check-in.
While you’re at the vet, ask them about telehealth information in case of an emergency while you’re camping with your dogs.
This would also be a good time to get your dog microchipped if they aren’t already. Losing your fur baby in unfamiliar territory and having no way to track them down can quickly turn a fun camping trip into a nightmare.
Look for Dog-Friendly Destinations
While RV camping with your dogs, be sure to look for destinations that are pet friendly. After all, having to kennel your pet for the day because they aren’t allowed doesn’t make for a very fun trip for either of you.
Most national parks welcome pets in developed areas. They even have a list of fun things to do at each park with your pet and a BARK program you and your fur baby can join. Take the pledge and get a BARK badge.
Most state parks are pet friendly, only requiring that your pet be on a six-foot leash. Be sure to check the rules ahead of time for the park you plan on visiting.
Not all campgrounds are pet friendly. Even if the campground you’re planning on staying at says they’re dog-friendly, be sure to read all the information, including rules and restrictions.
Most campgrounds, and even some parks, have restrictions on the size, breed, and number of pets they will allow. Even a miniature variety of an “aggressive” dog can be refused entry.
Again, take the time to call ahead and check the rules and requirements before taking the chance on your pet not being welcome.
Make Your Pet Comfortable
You have your immunization records in hand and have checked all the rules for RV camping with dogs at your desired destination. Your next task is to prepare your pet and your RV.
Have a Designated Spot
Chances are your dog is a creature of habit, and traveling down the road in an RV might be a little bit out of his comfort zone. Make a spot just for him with his favorite bed, toys, and blanket to help relieve the anxiety a bit.
Always have a good supply of his favorite snack and anything else that keeps him occupied during your travels.
Food and Water
While packing up to go RV camping with your dog, be sure you have plenty of their favorite food for the trip, even a few days later. This dog bowl with built-in storage is perfect because it helps solve the problem of where to store their food.
If you don’t have the space to store enough food for your entire trip and your dog requires a specific brand of food, call ahead to pet stores in the area you’ll be traveling to see who carries it. You do not want to have to change your dog’s diet on an RV camping trip. It’s not good for either of you.
Another consideration while RV camping with dogs is how much water you’ll need. Because you’re RV camping with fresh water tanks, it will be easier to keep your dog hydrated. But while you’re out exploring, don’t forget to pack a refillable water bottle like this one from Lumaleaf. It has a silicone cover that turns into a water bowl. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.
Keep Unwanted Creatures at Bay
Help keep ants and other critters out of your home while RV camping with your dogs by making sure their food is stored in airtight containers in the basement of your RV.
You should also feed your pets on demand rather than have their food sitting out all day, attracting pests. With that being said, keep in mind that your pet will probably need more food because of all the hiking and swimming you’re going to be doing together.
When the ants do show up—and you know they will—have a supply of Terro ant killer on hand. You won’t be sorry.
Tips While Traveling
The old saying “getting there is half the fun” can be true even while traveling with your dogs in your RV to your favorite camping spot. Keep reading for a few tips to help that saying ring true.
Planning potty breaks and time to get out and run around while traveling with your dog will help ensure a more comfortable trip for both of you. When you take a break to grab a snack, refuel, or stretch your legs, make sure your pet does too.
Did you know Love’s Truck Stops has dog parks at many of their fueling stations? As a bonus, they usually have the cleanest bathrooms for humans too!
Accidents happen. We all know that. However, safety still needs to be considered while traveling with your pet and when you stop. One easy way to keep your pet safe is to invest in a safety harness.
This will help keep your pet from being injured in the case of an accident on the road. It will also keep him from jumping out of your RV when you make a pit stop. The peace of mind is worth the investment.
A Place to Play at Home
You’ve finally made it to your destination and found the perfect spot to set up your RV for camping with your dog, and now it’s time to explore your new surroundings.
When it’s time to lounge around the campfire, do your pet, and yourself, a favor and invest in a portable fence. Not only will this keep neighboring kids and adults from approaching your pet while they’re trying to rest, but it should help deter people from taking a shortcut through your campsite.
There will more than likely be times while RV camping with your dogs that you have to be away from the campsite and leave them at home alone. As a side note, be sure to check the rules where you’re camping, as some don’t allow pets to be left unattended.
A remote camera that allows you to check on your pets while you’re away is a great idea.
Another tool you can use is the Waggle Temperature Sensor. We all know how finicky campground power can be at times. Waggle will alert you if the AC fails and the temperatures start to rise in your RV.
Another safety feature you might not have thought about is how quickly someone can get to your pet should an emergency arise. Swapping out your standard door lock for a keyless lock means that anyone with the access code can quickly check on your pet.
In Case of an Emergency
We’ve already talked about ways to keep your pet safe and how to give someone easy access to your home in case of an emergency. But what if a situation with your pet requires emergency care?
Always having a well-stocked pet first aid kit is a good first step while RV camping with dogs. You should also have a “bug-out” kit with essentials like a copy of vet papers, a favorite toy, treats, and other items that will soothe them in a stressful situation.
If you travel full-time, establishing services with a vet each time you stop is pretty much impossible. However, you can use Banfield Pet Hospital for your pet’s care. They have locations across the country and will have instant access to your pet’s records.
Another option for help with emergency care for your while traveling with your pet is the Good Sam Travel Assist Plan for Pets. Not only do they provide insurance services, but you can get help finding a vet, groomer, and more.
This plan also includes coverage to care for your dog and get them home if you’re involved in an accident and can’t care for them.
Dogs like to taste-test things; that’s just what they do. But, when RV camping with your dogs, an upset stomach, or worse, is definitely something you want to avoid. The first thing to do when seeing your pet eat something you’re unsure of is to get it out of their mouth.
Then, you can check the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants to see if you should contact a vet. This list is printable and might be a good item to add to your emergency kit.
Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks like to taste your dog; that’s just what they do. Don’t forget to pack your dog’s flea and tick medicine. For added protection, grab an ultrasonic flea and tick repeller, as well as a tick key to take along on your hikes.
While this may seem like overkill, it’s best to be overprepared to keep your pet safe from the dangers of Lyme disease. And you don’t want fleas invading your RV while camping with your dogs!
Wrapping up RV Camping With Dogs
We’ve given you just a few tips to help make RV camping with your dogs more enjoyable. Always keep in mind, though, that the most important aspect of seeing this great country with your dogs will be based on their individual needs, age, and health.
If you still have questions about RV camping with your dog, we have more information at Beyond the Tent Pet Section. Now go hit the road and have a pawsome trip!
- About the Author
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Melissa Goins is a lifelong resident of Indiana and currently resides on a 15-acre homestead with her family where she has lived full-time stationary in a 2000 Travel Supreme fifth wheel for the past two years.
She has always loved traveling and in 2000 she and her husband purchased a fully self-contained semi truck and hit the road with their two kids, visiting all 48 contiguous United States and learning about our amazing country along the way.
Melissa has learned a lot about living full-time in an RV over the past two years and loves sharing tips and tricks with others — which is why she loves writing for Beyond the Tent. From staying cool in the summer to preparing for winter, to cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 12 in an RV, there’s so much to learn, enjoy, and share Beyond the Tent.
When she’s not writing or enjoying the great outdoors, Melissa loves to spend time with her family. She is a proud wife, mom, and grandma to three beautiful grandbabies.