Well hello there fellow dog lovers, and welcome to K9 Nation. The name is will I have been a K9 Behavioral Psychologist for 10 years now in the Portland area. Let me start this article by saying Rving with dogs can be a bit tricky at times but it’s totally worth it. Dogs love RV Life. If the location you have chosen is not dog-friendly it can be a bit of a bummer for your dog, but at least having a barking dog in your home away from home will most likely detour any potential break-ins. Ideally, you would want to take your dog with you as much as possible, for their enjoyment as well as yours.
Before You Go
make sure you plan ahead and take all things you will need for your dog, especially their meds and food. You may or may not have any vets, drug or pet stores nearby depending on your chosen vacation location. I wouldn’t want to be caught in a situation where I would have to buy some cheap Chinese manufactured dog food, which has been making many dogs in this country sick, and there have even been several reported cases of dog deaths due to this problem.
Always keep your dogs food in an airtight container so your limited supply does not get ruined by moisture, bugs, or other critters that may cross your path.
Vinyl upholstery and flooring is going to be your best bet when traveling with dogs and other pets. Not only will it not absorb spills and elimination accidents, but it also won’t hold and collect pet hair like traditional fabric will. Which means you can clean it less and when cleaning time does come, it’s a cinch. Just sweep or vacuum and wipe down with a damp cloth and Swiffer the floors.
⇐ Here is a creative way of doing it.
Call ahead and find out if the area/s you are planning to visit have dog-friendly RV Parks, Restaurants, etc.
Sleep in the RV for a few nights with your dog before heading out on your journey.
Turn on the TV or your dog’s favorite music while you’re away from your home away from home. They will hear the familiar sounds and human voices coming from inside the RV and be more relaxed and comfortable.
On The Road
While driving to your vacation destination, make sure to take frequent breaks so you as well as your dogs can stretch your legs and eliminate often.
Bring a harness with a good handle with you as you may need to lift your dog up into trailers, RV’s, Trucks, and other obstacles while out on adventures. If your dog is too big or heavy for you to lift, consider getting a ladder or step stool for your best bud, particularly if you have a big truck pulling a 5th wheel.
For your dog’s safety while traveling, pick up a seat belt for your dog as well. They usually consist of nylon strap that connects to any dog harness via a carabiner on one side and a standard car seat-belt buckle on the other. The Kurgo Dog Seat Belt With Carabiner is a good example of one.
If you have multiple dogs you may want to pick up an exercise pen especially if you plan on staying at each spot for more than a day or two so your dogs can have a portable free run area. Here is a video I found, with a creative way to make a custom puppy play area for your rig. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6w5nO1QiUc
Definitely check out Bringfido.com if you’re RVing with dogs as it has quite the comprehensive list of Dog-friendly Hotels, Restaurants and the like, all across the country.
The Fan-Tastic Vent: portable 12v cigarette lighter fan is a must have to keep your dogs cool on hot days while RVing with dogs.
This no spill water bowl is another great Idea for RV camping with your dogs: Ray Allen BB01-64 Buddy Bowl
Dog smells and sounds can attract unwanted wildlife, so bring An Air-Horn with you to scare off bears, coyotes or anything that might try to make a meal of you or your best bud. If you frequent areas with heavy bear activity you may also want to pick up a can or 2 of bear mace, and a chest or hip holster to keep it quickly accessible at all times while hiking or anytime you’re outside your RV while in bear heavy or unknown wilderness areas.
Some dogs have sensitive pads, so If your very active and outside quite a bit with your dog, be aware the ground environment. Paved roads and walkways can be very hot in the summer and some are quite ruff(pun intended) and can rub your dog’s pads raw like sandpaper. Try to keep them on the grass and dirt ass much as possible and check your dog’s paws after outings for bleeding or swelling, and it’s always a good idea to check them for ticks and stickers as well.
Even if your dog is well trained to be off leash, don’t be ashamed of leashing them during hunting season or if you see lots of bear or coyote scat around the area. For the most part, wildlife doesn’t want to hurt us, but bears are very powerful and unpredictable at certain times, and coyotes have been known to chase your dog or get your dog to chase them right into the pack of coyotes waiting and ready to attach.
Keep It Temped
Make sure your heater and AC are set and working properly before you leave any pets alone in an RV.
Shaving your dog during the summer months will go a long way to keeping them cool, Plus if you shave them down all the way once a year they won’t shed as much, which is a big plus as keeping such a small yet high traffic area clean, can be quite a chore, particularly if have multiple shedding animals aboard.
The Arf Pets: Self-cooling dog mat is another must have especially while RVing with dogs in the summer months. I linked the larger one above, but if you have a smaller breed dog, it also comes in a smaller size which is 20 bucks cheaper.
The Fan-Tastic Vent: portable 12v cigarette lighter fan is a must have to keep your dogs cool on hot days while RVing.
RV Pet Safety: monitors the temperature in your RV and sends temperature level alerts to your phone.
If you have to be away for more then a couple hours, let someone at the front desk of the RV park, a trusted RV neighbor, or a dog walker know how to get in, just in case the power goes out or the like. The RVLock V4 Keyless Handle is a combination door lock and handle for your RV and is a great way to let only who you want into your RV while you’re away from your home away from home.
You may also want to leave a note on your RV or in on the dash saying something like | Dog inside. If there are any problems contact me at this number 555-555-1212
Vets | Older Dogs | And Their Meds
Give your vet a heads up, that you will be on the road so they will be prepared to send and receive medical info to a temporary Vet.
If you have a single destination in mind for the majority of your vacation, especially if you have an older dog or dog with health issues, find a vet in the destination area your comfortable with and call ahead to prepare them to better serve you as well as learn what medical services are available in the area.
Older dogs or dogs with arthritis can have a hard time with long trips, so make sure your dog is set up to be as comfortable as possible, ie, comfortable dog bed and meds etc.
Speaking of meds, normally you would give your dogs flea and tick treats or meds once every 3 months right? When your on the road and your lactation is always changing, it may behoove you to administer those meds more frequently, like once a month. Talk to your vet first to see what amount or schedule is safe for your dog’s size and breed.
Because your dog can see through it, and that makes them uncomfortable with it. Kind of like how a cow grate works, especially if your dog is older and has cataracts.
What You Can Do:
Cover them with some type of material so it appears to be a solid surface or pick up a Dog Ramp. The PetSafe Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp is a convenient well designed durable choice.
Camp Grounds | RV Parks
Most campgrounds don’t have a problem with you having a dog with you, but some have size and breed restrictions. Particularly if you have a Pit Bull, as the propaganda being spread around, does have many people falsely freaked out about the breed. Make sure to check with your campground of choice ahead of time. A simple call ahead can save you from having to scramble to find a place to hook up at the last minute, which can be quite frustrating when you’re tired after a full day of driving.
A few Campgrounds do charge extra if you have dogs with you, but I’ve only been charged $1 extra per dog, so it’s not a deal breaker, just something else to be aware of.
Remember, your not at home, your location may be changing frequently, and your dog can get lost, so make it common practice to walk your dog around each new area as soon as possible, after reaching each new destination, so that you and your dog, get a chance to learn the lay of the land.
Another thing to think about here is, Playing, fishing, boating, hiking etc, with your dog can make quite a mess and some places won’t allow you to wash your dog on the campground property. Luckily there are plenty of public dog washes all over the U.S., but you may have to travel a bit with a dirty dog.
Always have your dog on a leash when in a campground and never leave them un-attended outside. It is commonly against campgrounds rules and either way, in doing so your asking for trouble
Don’t forget the baggies. Keep poo bags on you at all times when staying at campgrounds and RV Parks. When you’re out away from home they probably won’t go on the schedule they did when they were at home, and you never know when they’ll have to go.
The bottom line when dealing with campgrounds is… Know Before You Go.
Not So Dog-Friendly
There is usually lots to do around Campgrounds and RV Parks, but they are not always dog-friendly. This is often a big worrisome decision for me personally. Do I board my dog in a place I’m not familiar? Do I hire someone I don’t know to watch my dog and trust them with all my possessions? Or do I just not go to that thing I really wanted to go to… I usually decide not to go if I know it will take more than 5 hours, as my dogs are a member of the family and don’t deserve to go to jail every time I want to engage in non dog friendly activities, and I’m not comfortable with leaving strangers alone in my home away from home.
Some dogs can be traumatized by certain sounds, especially FIREWORKS. Please don’t leave your dog alone and then go watch a fireworks show, as you may return to a freaked out dog not to mention a heck of a mess to clean up.
Be sure to do your research when going to another country. Make sure you’re all squared away, paperwork wise so you can get your people and your pets back into your home country. Some countries may ask you to show proof that it is your dog, so bring their birth certificate, medical files proving it’s your dog, and that their current on their shots. Sometimes when rabbi shots are given, a picture of your dog is taken and added to the file. You can now get a passport for your dog which can help get you through customs quicker and easier.
Also make sure you don’t have any food left from one country when you cross over into another one, and at the very least, if they ask you if have such thing left over, just say no.
It may also behoove you to register your dog as a service dog(if in fact, your dog is such a dog of course). It can again help you get through customs and 2 it will allow your dog to go more places with you, to truly enjoy your vacation with the whole family. It’s not as complicated as you might think.
Also, some places like Australia and Hawaii require a quarantine time for your dog. Which means you must leave your dog with them until they say your dog is safe to be in their country, in some places this could be several weeks.
RVing with dogs is great fun but comes with some challenges. To me, it’s definitely worth it, as I Love to go out on hikes with my dogs, and I guarantee your dog loves hiking too, as well as traveling and exploring new places. I hope this article helps you and your dog get the most out of the next time you’re out on the road. If you enjoyed this article, others may also, so please share it on your favorite social media platforms.