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RVing with Pets: The Ultimate Guide to a Pawsome Road Trip

Getting ready to go on an epic road trip and don’t want to leave your fur baby at a kennel or with a stranger, or even sitting at home waiting for hours until a neighbor or friend can check on them?

The good news is, with a little planning, you can take them with you and let them enjoy the adventure too. Read on for ways to go RVing with pets and take your fur baby on a pawsome road trip!

A Yorkie on the steps of his RV waiting to go RVing with pets

Before You Leave

Just like humans, pets get anxious in new situations. Unlike humans, pets don’t always know how to express their anxiety. To help avoid cleaning up after your anxious pet, whether it be drool, vomit, or urine, let’s start by easing the anxiety before you take off down the road.


When RVing with pets, it’s essential that you give your pet time to get used to his new home away from home. Encourage him to explore outside, sniffing the tires and checking things out. Give lots of encouragement and treats. When your pet has explored the exterior to his satisfaction and determined it is safe, then encourage him to explore the inside.

If your pet is older or doesn’t like to use steps, Pet Safe makes a telescoping dog ramp you can set up to make it easier for your pet to get in and out of the RV.

As with outside the RV, allow him time to explore every nook and cranny. Encourage him with lots of treats and hugs. After all, when RVing with pets, a happy pet makes for a happy home.

Vaccination Records

Before leaving for your RV adventure, make sure your pet’s immunizations are up to date, especially rabies. While you’re at the vet’s office, ask for a copy of his health and immunization records. This way, you have everything you need in case your pet gets injured or needs to see a vet on the road.

Make extra copies and put them in a folder to take with you. Not only will this be helpful if your pet needs emergency care, but you’ll also have more on hand if the campground you’re staying at asks for copies.


Before RVing with pets, check your pet’s medications before taking off to make sure you have plenty for the duration of the trip and even for a few days after returning home. While at the vet’s office getting copies of their immunization records would be the perfect time to ask for medication refills.

Check the Rules

Speaking of RV parks that need copies of your pet’s records, be sure to check the rules for RVing with pets at your destination. Some parks have rules about “aggressive breeds” and size limits for pets.

Even though your fur baby may be as gentle as a kitten, they won’t be permitted in the park if they’re on the list. If you have any questions at all, call ahead and check. Better to be safe than sorry.

For Safety’s Sake

You’ve probably thought of and already packed safety essentials for your trip, but what about your pet? Here are a few items to add to your list to help you both stay safe and happy while RVing with pets.

Safety Harness or Crate

Did you know an unrestrained 10-pound dog can exert 300 pounds of pressure in an accident? Chances are you will be buckled up for safety’s sake. Ensure that your fur baby is safe, too, with a car harness or portable crate.

Two cats with safety harnesses inside an RV

The harness or crate will keep you both safe in case of an accident and help keep your pet safely inside the vehicle when you stop for gas. He won’t be able to jump out and risk getting hit by a driver trying to find an open pump and not paying attention at the gas station.

First Aid Kit

While we’re on the subject of safety and accidents, let’s talk about first aid kits while RVing with pets. This first aid kit is designed specifically for pets and includes an emergency collar and a mini kit that you can pack with essentials for a hike.

GPS Tracker

While RVing with pets, you want to be able to give your fur baby the freedom of being outdoors and not cooped up inside the RV. We all know that quicker than you can say “squirrel,” your pet can get away from you.

GPS tracker that fits on your pet’s collar will help ensure you can locate them if they’re broken free, distracted, and not coming back when you call.

You may even consider getting your pet chipped while you’re at the vet’s office. That way, if they get loose, a quick scan can have you reunited quickly.

If you don’t want to invest in a GPS tracker or chipping, at least make sure your pet has an ID tag with your contact information.

Packing List

Chances are you have a packing list that you’ve checked a few times. Be sure to make a packing list for your pet too. To ensure you don’t forget anything as you go RVing with pets, start writing down everything your fur baby uses daily for a week or two before taking off.

You’ll want to include things like your pet’s medication, favorite toys, and plenty of food. You don’t want to be out RVing with your pet and run out of the food they’re used to eating. That goes back to making your pet comfortable on your road trip.

Collapsible Food and Water Bowls

We all know that space is a premium in an RV. This set of food and water bowls collapses down to save space and easily pops up for dinner or a quick drink on the road.

Food Storage and Feeding Station

When you reach your destination while RVing with your pet and are ready for a more permanent setup for your pet’s food, consider this elevated feeder and storage container. The food is stored in an air-tight compartment, keeping unwanted critters at bay, and the food and water bowls are built into the lid.

You’ll also want to grab storage totes to keep extra food in your RV basement.

Cleaning up

After dinner, when it’s time to go for a walk, take some waste bags. The nice thing about these is that they come attached to a keychain that will clip right onto your backpack.

While RVing with pets, when your furry friend gets away from you and rolls in the mud or jumps into the nearest lake, you’ll definitely want some lavender-scented grooming wipes. RVs are close quarters, and you don’t want yours smelling like, well, a wet dog.

High Visibility Vest

Before taking that walk, put a high visibility vest on your pet to ensure you are both seen while walking through the woods or around the RV park.

A Safe Space

Just like at home, your pet needs a safe space they can call their own. You can bring your pet’s bed from home or consider purchasing a water-resistant travel bed. The more you help your fur baby feel at home in their home away from home, the better for both of you.

Relaxing Around the Campfire

After a day of hiking or RVing with pets, when it’s time to relax around the campfire, there are a few items you’ll want to grab to make the evening more enjoyable.

Dog relaxing by the campfire


portable fenced-in area will allow your pet to move around and remain safely contained. And, while we can’t guarantee it, hopefully, the barrier will help keep kids from approaching your relaxing pet.

To make cleaning up your fenced area easier while RVing with pets, consider purchasing artificial grass to lay down inside your fenced-in area. Simply hose it off and roll it up to store away when you’re ready to head out for your next adventure.

Screen Door Protector

If you’re only staying in a spot for the night and don’t want to set up a portable fence, or if the campground you’re staying at doesn’t allow it, this RV door screen protector is a nice alternative.

Using this screen protector while RVing with pets will allow you to keep the front door open so your fur baby can always see you. And, if they get a little anxious, it will help prevent damage to your screen door.


While you probably already have your fur baby’s favorite toy packed, you might want to consider a silent squeaky toy if it makes noise. This toy has an ultrasonic silent squeaker that will keep your fur baby entertained and still allow you to hear the crackling wood from your campfire.

RVing with Pets Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want to go somewhere that my pet isn’t welcome?

If there are times you need to leave your fur baby at home while RVing with pets, there are a few items that might put your mind at ease. A Waggle RV Pet Monitor with a camera and temperature monitor will let you check in on your pet while you’re away from home.

If you own your RV, consider changing your keyed entry lock to a keyless entry keypad. That way, should an emergency arise while you’re away, you only have to give someone the code, and they have access to your pet.

If you’d rather not leave your pet in the RV alone, download the Rover app and find a pet sitter in your area.

Are state parks dog-friendly?

While most parks are pet-friendly, if you want to go RVing with pets to a state park, be sure to check out the most dog-friendly state parks in every state. Most national parks welcome pets too! RV Magazine has a list of pet-friendly travel destinations you can check out as well.

What if my pet needs emergency care while we’re RVing?

Because you already have a file prepared with your pet’s medical and immunization history, you’re better prepared for an emergency. However, if there’s an emergency while RVing with pets, the first step is to call your veterinarian.

They can let you know if your pet requires immediate attention, and may even be able to make a suggestion as to where you can take your fur baby. You can also research emergency vet care along your route before leaving and add that information to your pet’s folder with his vet records.

Pup looking out the window of his RV

Wrapping up RVing with Pets

The best part about RVing with pets is having your fur baby there to enjoy all the adventures with you. While most of these tips are geared toward dogs, cats and other pets can benefit from these ideas with minor adjustments.

There will be times you’ll need to leave your pet at home while you’re out adventuring. Check out our guide to the best surge protectors, and never worry about coming home to an RV that has lost its power and created a hazardous situation for your pet while you were gone.

Now that you’re better prepared, it’s time to hit the road for a pawsome adventure with your fur baby!