Are you ready to hit the road with Rover? Dogs can make excellent companions for RV trips, though there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure your trip goes well for all parties.
Below, we’ll share some of the best tips for RV traveling with furry friends so that you can have a successful trip with your canine companion. Check ’em out!
RV Traveling with Fido: What You Need to Know!
Traveling with your furry friend can be a bunch of fun, but it does come with a special set of considerations. Make sure you’re fully prepped with your pooch before setting out on the road with Spot.
1. Pack Carefully for Your Pup
Make sure you have all of your dog’s essentials before hitting the road. Every pooch is different, but here are a couple of things most pet parents will want to bring along:
- A comfy bed: Your dog should have a comfortable place to relax throughout your travels. A pet travel bed will make this easy to do and keep your canine comfy.
- Crate: Find a dog crate for the car that will keep your pooch secure when venturing out to spots that aren’t dog-friendly.
- Food and food bowls: Obviously you’ll need to bring Fido’s food, along with his water and food bowls. You’ll also need to store your dog’s food well to keep it fresh and tasty. If you want something that’s really designed for on-the-go use, the K9 Storage Cube from Mountainsmith is a handy doggie duffle bag with built-in food and water bowls, along with a handy portable dog food storage pack!
- Treats: Make sure you have plenty of treats for different situations. This means packing high-value training treats, dental chews, and a few long-lasting chews to cover all your bases.
- Toys: You’ll want to bring along any of your furball’s beloved toys on your trip. In fact, it’s a good idea to bring several different types of toys to keep your dog entertained throughout the trip.
- Leash, collar, and harness: Pack your dog’s leash, and harness or collar (as well as an up-to-date ID tag).
- Medication: Make sure your dog has enough medication (and any supplements you regularly administer) for the trip. It’s also a good idea to pack a doggie first aid kit, just in case an emergency arises.
- Special Attire: If your dog needs a warm winter coat or rugged dog shoes for hiking, you’ll want to pack those too.
Do your best to pack everything your pooch will need, but don’t lose sleep over your pooch packing list. You can always purchase most things you’d need while traveling.
Just make sure you bring anything that you can’t find on the road like special medications or your dog’s favorite toy.
2. Plan your campsite selection or route carefully.
Not all campsites are pet friendly, so you’ll need to do your own research and book sites ahead of time.
Many of the big campsite franchises offer special accommodations for dogs, but check to make sure. And if you’re planning on staying at a hotel for any portion of your journey, be sure that the hotel you select is dog-friendly.
And don’t forget that campsite availability fluctuates over the course of the year — you may need to book summer destinations earlier thanks to the increased number of people traveling when school is out.
It’s also a good idea to read online reviews of the campsites you select to make sure you end up somewhere fun for your four-footer. For that matter, search around for local dog parks and dog-friendly restaurants so you’ll have plenty to do once you arrive.
3. Travel Safely
You need to secure your pet properly while your RV is on the road. This will keep you and your pooch safe, allowing you to focus on the road while moving from point A to point B.
There are several different options for securing Spot, including:
- The best option is to use a dog crate designed for car use. A crash-tested model is ideal, but there are also soft-sided models — they don’t offer as much protection as hard-sided crates do, but they’re easier to tote around.
- If you don’t want to use a crate, you could use a harnesses for car travel or a dog seat belt. These aren’t going to provide as much protection in the event of an accident, but they’re better than nothing and they’ll keep your dog from distracting you while you’re driving.
- If nothing else, at least consider using a dog car barrier. This won’t protect your dog if you’re in an accident, but it will at least keep your dog out from underfoot while you’re driving.
But no matter which type of car-restraint system you prefer, just make sure you use one. This will not only help keep your pooch safe in the event of an accident, it’ll help prevent him from distracting you while you’re driving.
It can seem overkill sometimes to strap your pup in when you’re driving in the RV. But in the event of an accident, you’ll be glad you did!
Ideally, you’d never leave your dog unattended in your RV, but you’ll likely need to from time to time. In these situations, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the temperature inside the vehicle to prevent your pooch from overheating.
The Waggle RV & Car Temperature Monitor for Pets makes this easy, as it monitors the temperature (and other climate-related parameters) and sends alerts to your phone.
4. Secure Veterinary Care for Your Canine
It’s always a good idea to schedule a pre-trip vet visit for your pooch to make sure he’s feeling his best before hitting the road. Traveling can be tough on both you and your furball, so he needs to be in optimal condition before setting out to unfamiliar places.
You should have all of your vet and pet insurance contact information at the ready in the event of an emergency.
Map out vet clinics and pet emergency rooms along your route before setting out, too. Hopefully, you won’t need to use them, but you’ll be happy to have that resource should something happen.
It might also be worth signing up for a service where you can chat with a vet online in case an emergency arises where you can’t reach an animal hospital quickly. Pawp is a solid option we recommend — you can get some basic pet coverage and 24/7 vet access, all-in-one!
5. Plan for your dog’s daily activities.
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean your dog’s routine comes to a standstill! You’ll need to factor in exercise time, space for cuddles, and the other things he’ll need while on the road.
For example, regular potty breaks should be factored into your transportation time, as well as spots to properly feed your floof. And whenever setting out of the RV with your dog, make sure you have plenty of water for both you and your furball.
Additionally, you’ll need to give your pooch plenty of opportunities to exercise, fortunately, there are plenty of options you can try! Some of the best include:
- Dog parks are obviously great places to take your pooch. Check out our lists of the best dog parks in major U.S. cities to get started.
- Want to incorporate a little nature time for you and your pet? Consider hitting up some of the country’s many national parks. Most welcome dogs, but the specific rules and regulations vary from one to the next, so be sure to do your homework first.
- Does Spot like to swim? You may want to consider dropping by a beach or pond to let him splish-splash around for a while. Just be sure to introduce your dog to water without scaring him, if he’s never dog paddled before. And be sure to pick up a dog life vest if he’s not a great swimmer.
- You may also want to consider kayaking with your canine — many four-footers will love floating around with their pet parent. Just be sure to keep your dog’s safety in mind while boating.
- Not sure where you want to travel to? If your itinerary isn’t already fully booked, consider adding one of our best dog-friendly vacation destinations to your roadmap!
Remember to keep your dog leashed whenever you’re hiking in an unfamiliar area. But if you’re in a designated off-leash area and you trust your dog’s recall, you may want to let your pooch stretch his legs a bit! But we’d still recommend setting your pup up with a dog GPS tracker.
Also, be sure to consider where you will leave your pet when engaging in non-dog-friendly activities.
Do you have a friend in town who can watch your pooch? Is there a trusted boarding service nearby? Can you hire a pet sitter at your intended destination?
The more you can plan ahead of time, the better.
6. Think about safety.
Consider your dog’s personal safety while planning your route and prepping for your trip.
Are you going to encounter dangerous wildlife? How does your dog react to unknown animals? Have a safety plan in place for you and your pooch incase you get caught in one of these situations.
High or low temperatures can also be a serious threat while on the road. It’s a good idea to utilize a RV temperature monitoring system like Waggle to ensure that your canine is comfortable.
Temperatures in a hot car can rise up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes, so even a seemingly temperate 70-degree day could be dangerous for your pooch in an overheated vehicle. Keep your dog cool in the car with plenty of fresh water and ventilation.
7. Be a good neighbor at the RV park.
Your dog should be on his best behavior while chilling at the RV park.
Keep Buddy’s barking to a minimum, pick up after your pooch, and be sure to keep your dog on a leash or otherwise restrained when stepping away from the RV.
A dog tie-out stake or a long leash is an easy way to secure your pup outside while you all set up a campfire together and enjoy the outdoors! You could also opt for a portable pet fence — especially if your floof is pretty small.
Also remember that, while you probably find most pooches adorable, not everyone is a dog person (shocking, we know.) Help your dog keep his distance and brush up your dog’s mutt manners before setting out.
8. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Traveling on the road can be exhausting, for both you and your pooch.
It’s a good idea to start with a short trip or two before moving up to long trips or committing to a full-time van life experience with your dog to make sure your canine is comfortable with life on the road.
You might even want to trial a night parked in your driveway with your dog to see if any unforeseen issues arise for your canine companion. Help your dog work through any anxieties around the car and take it at your dog’s pace.
Keep it light and make sure your dog is down to road trip in general. Some dogs love to travel, but other pups won’t love being in the car for long stretches of time, and that’s okay too. It might make more sense for you and your dog to hire a trusted dog sitter while you set out on your road adventure, or enlist a family member to keep tabs on your pooch while you hit the asphalt.
RV traveling with your canine companion can be a whole lot of fun and a great bonding experience for you and your best buddy. Just make sure you’re fully prepped before setting out on the road!
Have you gone on an RV trip with your dog? What was the highlight of your trip? Tell us all about it in the comments below!