It’s exciting to be new to the RV life, full of anticipation of all the adventures ahead of you. But one question that may be on your mind is, “What do I do with my dog on vacation?” If you’re a seasoned tent camper upgrading to the RV lifestyle, you may have experience camping with your pet. Even so, there are a few things to remember when RVing with dogs to ensure a positive experience. Two of the best things you can have going for you are a good leash and a well-trained dog. This combination keeps your pet safe, your neighbors happy, and your trip enjoyable. Let’s look at some other tips and frequently asked questions.
Is RVing with Dogs Possible and Safe?
Yes, many people spend years traveling in their RVs with dogs. It can be a great alternative to camping alone and also a natural deterrent to theft, or curious nocturnal scavengers. When it comes to your dog’s safety, RVs are no different than cars. Drive cautiously and try not to brake suddenly which can throw your pet off balance.
The most secure way to travel with your dog is to use a crate or vehicle harness. This will keep Fido safe and protected in case of an accident. The most important thing to remember is keeping your dog with you. It is never wise to leave a dog or any other pet in a towed RV when no one else is with them.
Are RV Parks Dog-Friendly?
Not every RV park welcomes dogs. There are RV parks that do not allow pets at all. Not to worry, dogs are allowed at many campgrounds but they don’t necessarily have dog-related amenities. Finally, there are the parks that are truly dog-friendly. These parks may provide public areas that are designed for dogs giving them dedicated space to have fun, roam around and explore freely.
It’s important when traveling with pets to do your research and find the right park for your trip. When you’re RVing with dogs, remember that not everyone is a dog lover. So when you’re choosing a destination, picking a dog-friendly park is the best first step in respecting other people’s camping experience as well as having an enjoyable adventure yourself.
What Type of RV Should I Use for Traveling with a Dog?
Just like your dog can ride with you in whatever vehicle you happen to drive, a dog can travel in any RV! If you are looking for an RV, take the size of your pet into consideration and look for one that provides ample space for you and your dog. The larger your dog, the more impact your RV choice may have on your overall comfort. In the same way that a Great Dane may be more comfortable riding in a minivan than in a Mini Cooper, a larger RV may be a better choice if you are the owner of a larger breed. Obviously, the larger the RV, the more spacious and comfortable no matter the size of your dog. Keep in mind that the more space you have, the more areas you’ll have to clean up after your dog.
Tips for RVing with Dogs
Plan Regular Stops
Planning regular stops during your RV trip is crucial for your dog’s comfort and well-being. These breaks provide an opportunity for your dog to stretch, exercise, and relieve themselves. It’s not only a physical break but a mental one as well, offering a change of scenery and a chance to explore new surroundings.
Every stop is a mini-adventure for your dog, filled with new scents and sights that provide mental stimulation. Besides, these stops are beneficial for you as well, allowing you to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and take a break from the monotony of driving.
Ensuring your dog stays hydrated and gets a chance to relieve themselves will contribute to a more comfortable and enjoyable RV experience for both of you.
Keep a Routine
Maintaining a routine while on the road can significantly help in reducing anxiety and keeping your dog comfortable. Stick to a regular feeding schedule to keep your dog’s digestive system on track. Regular bathroom breaks are also part of this routine, ensuring your dog gets plenty of opportunities to relieve themselves. Incorporate elements of your dog’s routine from home into your travel schedule, like regular playtimes and walks.
These familiar activities provide a sense of security and normalcy amidst the constantly changing environment of the road. A routine creates a semblance of familiarity which can be reassuring to your dog, making the RV trip a pleasant experience.
Get a Vet Check-Up
Before heading out on your RV adventure, a visit to the vet is essential to ensure your dog is healthy and ready for the journey. A thorough check-up can identify any potential health issues that might need attention. Ensure that all vaccinations are up to date to protect your dog from diseases, especially if you’ll be visiting areas with other animals.
Discuss the possibility of motion sickness with your vet and have appropriate medications on hand if needed. If you’re planning to cross state lines, obtaining a health certificate and having a record of vaccinations is crucial. Having these documents easily accessible can also be beneficial in case of emergencies.
Create a Secure Space for Your Pet
Creating a secure space for your dog to travel in while on the road is imperative for their safety. A well-ventilated crate can provide a secure and comfortable space. Ensure the crate is spacious enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. If your dog prefers to be out of a crate, a doggy seatbelt is an alternative to keep them safe and secure. Incorporate familiar items like your dog’s bed, blanket, or toys to help them feel at home in the RV. These familiar scents and textures can provide comfort and reduce anxiety.
Ensuring proper ventilation and temperature control in the RV is crucial for your dog’s comfort, particularly in extreme weather conditions. By creating a secure and comfortable space, you’re setting the stage for an enjoyable and memorable RV adventure with your furry companion.
Replace Your Carpet
If your RV has carpets, one modification you can make is to replace them with smooth, hard flooring. Cleanup is much easier on hard floors, especially if you have a puppy or elderly dog that may be prone to accidents. It also means you have one less appliance to store. Say, “Goodbye, vacuum cleaner,” and, “Hello,” to a convenient space to store dog food!
Cover RV Furniture
When you’re RVing with dogs, one of the easiest ways to protect your furniture from stains or scratches is to cover it. Covering your RV furniture helps retain your RV’s value. It also makes cleaning simple and there are many options from a simple sheet to specialty fitted covers that are specially made for pets. Even if your dog is trained to keep off the furniture, even the best dogs may test the boundaries in your RV – especially in a thunderstorm!
Find a Vet at Your Destination
When you are traveling it’s a good idea to know where the local hospital or urgent care center is in case there is an accident. Likewise, it’s good practice to familiarize yourself with local vets. Chances are, you’ll never need either one, but it’s good information to have whenever you travel just in case.
Keep Temperature In Mind
The extreme temperatures in winter and summer can be brutal, especially for your dog. Temperatures can climb quickly and exponentially in an RV the same way they can in a car. And just like your pet can’t open the door and jump out of a car, they can’t walk out of a scorching RV either. So, it’s important to be mindful of temps and take the same precautions as you would with your dog in your car. Keeping your RV cool in hot weather is important to the comfort and safety of your pet.
Another thing to remember is that if your dog is tied up outside in hot weather, digging down to find a nice, cool layer of dirt to lie in is instinctual and they can move a lot of dirt in a very short amount of time! However, big holes all over your campsite are not a way to make friends with other campers or the park groundskeepers! So, keep a close eye on your furry friend and provide extra water or frequent dips in the lake or local pond to help them regulate their body temperature and stay healthy.
When camping in winter or other cold times of the year, remember that cold-vulnerable dogs like Chihuahuas, Whippets, or Greyhounds will have a hard time keeping warm in a freezing RV. For these breeds it’s especially important to provide a warm dog bed or extra blankets they can nest in when frigid weather arrives. It may be a power-saver when you don’t keep the temperatures in your RV as controlled as you would at home, especially if you are boondocking. Just be alert to your dog’s comfort level and adjust accordingly.
Beware of Wild Animals
Part of the fun of camping is being out in nature. When you’re out in nature, you’re much more likely to encounter wild animals, which is part of the camping experience. It’s important to keep in mind that you and your dog won’t have the same reaction to seeing an animal in the wild, and their reaction may not always the safest one (think skunk!)
The simplest way to keep you and your dog safe is to keep them on a leash at all times. No matter how well-trained your dog is, there is no way to predict how they will react to an animal in the wild – especially one they have never been exposed to before or one that startles them.
It can help your trips go smoother and help avoid accidents or injuries either to or from your dog to work on training at home. A well-trained dog kept on a leash goes a long way to ensure safety and an enjoyable experience when you are RVing with dogs, especially when it comes to an unexpected encounter with the local wildlife.
The professionals at RV Wholesale Superstore are ready to help you find the perfect RV for you and your family. Visit us in-person at 5080 W. Alexis Road, in Sylvania, OH or call us at (419) 786-1126
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