It’s time to make the most of the nice weather, and of course we want our canine companions to hit the road with us and have some outdoor fun too. RVing with your dog can be tricky, so we’ve put together some tips and ideas to help you keep your pup (and your RV!) safe and happy.
Tips for traveling with your dog in your RV
- If you are towing a camper, be sure your dog stays with you in your tow vehicle. Never trust that your dog is safe in your travel trailer or fifth wheel!
- If you are in a Class B, C, or Motorhome, be sure to tether her to a seat, like a small child. This keeps him from getting trapped under something, walking under the driver’s feet or jumping into their lap.
- In case of an accident, be sure to tell anyone who approaches your rig that you have a dog and where she is tethered in the vehicle.
- Be prepared when you open doors. Keep his collar on him at all times. Make him sit while the door is being opened and only come to the door when beckoned. Better yet, attach a tracking device to the collar in case The Great Escape happens.
- Be prepared for water and tinkle breaks every 2-3 hours. It is more important than ever to keep her hydrated, and the quicker she understands that wee-wee outside the RV is the only option, the happier you both will be!
- Make a plan for when you stop along the way.
- Restaurants. Call ahead – is there patio seating so you can bring her?
- Grocery stores. If you leave her in the RV solo, you can keep the RV running, crank the AC and lock the doors. However, ideally, one person stays behind.
Tips for leaving your dog alone in a camper during the summer
There will be times when you need to leave your pup in the camper by himself, and you need to be sure he is safe while you are away. Here are some tips for these situations. Note: Be aware that many campgrounds have rules against leaving dogs in campers alone, so be sure to check ahead if you think you may have to leave your dog behind for any reason during the trip.
- Make sure your RV’s air conditioning is in perfect working order. Your RV can heat up like a tin can, even in indirect sunlight. Think of your rig as a big car — often not well-insulated and prone to the effects of the weather.
- Plug in or find a power source. Your A/C uses a lot of juice – your house battery isn’t going to cut it. If you can’t plug into a power source while parked, be sure you have a generator or other source of power to keep your A/C running.
- Plan ahead for dog friendly activities. Many national parks do not allow dogs of any kind (even in vehicles). If you are planning on a trip full of hikes, better check this out first.
- Monitor him! Use a Waggle or Canary camera / temperature sensing monitor to alert you to temp changes or movement. If your camper gets above 79 degrees, you can head back to the campsite immediately and find out why the A/C wasn’t doing it’s job. If your camera is triggered and you see your pup aggravated or stressed, you can again return to remedy the situation. Note that these devices require a strong wi-fi / cellular signal.
- Some dogs are not OK being left alone in a strange place. Be mindful of your dog’s stress levels. If constant barking or destructive behaviors occur, be prepared to rearrange your plans to be sure he is no longer left alone.
Your dog and the campsite
Take some time to think about how the camping lifestyle may affect him. Does he travel well? Will he be OK for long stretches in one place? Is he OK with strangers and strange places? Here are some things to consider:
- Is she occupied – meaning, a toy or bone within reach at all times?
- Is he a chewer? Be aware that he could chew your RV interior. Wood cabinets, chairs, and upholstery are especially vulnerable.
- Does he startle and react to noise? Leave the TV on while inside, or a radio on outside to drown out distractions. Remember, RV walls are pretty thin in most cases.
- If you are staying in a campground, be mindful of your neighbors. You know your dog best – is she a good neighbor, or will she lunge, bark nonstop and growl? These are signs of stress, and you should leave your dog at home if this is the expected behavior.
Tips for taking your dog on day excursions while camping
Taking your pup with you on outdoor adventures can be fun, but also stressful. Accounting for weather, distance and your dog’s water needs are a few of the things you need to keep in mind.
- Bring a water harness. If you are hiking or visiting a lake, it could have a current – and you want to be sure he is buoyant and tethered.
- Bring a water-ready leash. Your retractable leash is not ideal in rivers and streams.
- Keep him on a leash! Too many things could happen – he could get startled, attacked and therefore run, attack wildlife, slip and fall, get bitten by a snake off path – avoid these obvious hazards by keeping her leashed without exception.
- Bring a collapsible water bowl and a big bottle of water so you can share.
- Be mindful of the heat. Thick fur coats and long, hot, non-shaded hikes are not fun for your good boy. Shorten your distance or find shade and rest every hour.
Tips for Keeping your dog and your RV clean
- Plan for all weather. If it rains, do you have a separate towel for your dog? If not, you and your dog could be sharing one stinky towel. Delegate one for your pup and keep it in the same spot for easy access.
- Make use of your RV’s outdoor shower. Muddy paws in your camper means mud on your seats, floor and (eww) bed – so pull this out ahead of time if you have one! If not, place a water bucket and an extra towel by the door of the RV entrance for comings and goings.
- Expect that your dog will want to roll in the dirt, jump in water, and play in the grass. Do you have a way to keep him from laying on the ground when he finally relaxes? An elevated pet bed or pet hammock are great ways to give his fur a break from the grime.
- Keep your shoes and his leash in one place inside the camper. This way, you can leash him and slip on your shoes without getting your socks full of dirt or wrestling to keep him in while you search for his leash you left outside.
- Bring a blanket of her very own to sleep on. Trap all her sand, dirt, and wet dog smell on one blanket.
Tips for packing
- Treats! Keep your dog excited about camping and RV life by making sure he is rewarded with treats for staying quiet, sitting on command, and even coming and going out of the RV.
- Pack everything for him in its own sealed bin:
- Extra collar and harness (in case one gets wet, dirty, or breaks)
- Extra leash in case his main one breaks
- A tether cord so he can wander around your camper while you are sitting outside
- Food in a sealed, ant-proof container
- Treats and Bones
- Toys, indoor and out
- His towel
- A rain jacket
- Dog flea and tick spray
- His own food packed in a sealed dish such as Tupperware® (keep his water dish handy and unpacked, you’ll need it for the road)
- A copy of his rabies certification (or tag). Some campgrounds require it.
- A neck light or lighted collar. In a pinch, you can put your headlamp on her collar to help light the way during PM potty runs.
And finally, start your trip with treats, happy enthusiastic words, and his favorite chew toy in his mouth as you head out the door – and she will be just as excited as you are for your RV camping trip!
We hope this was helpful. If you are seeking a new camper for you and your Best Friend, check out the latest RV’s for sale from our terrific sellers at RVT.
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