Everyone knows that the easiest way to make a road trip better is to bring your dog along. However, if you’re thinking about taking your dog on an RV camping trip, you might have a lot of questions. It therefore helps to learn the key tips for RV camping with dogs so you can plan for a great trip.
7 tips for RV camping with dogs are:
- Choose a dog-friendly campground
- Get your dog used to RV life
- Pack for your dog
- Break the journey up
- Plan for exercise
- Book a vet appointment before you leave
- Be considerate of other campers
If you’re going RV camping with your dog, these tips are a good starting point. However, to fully prepare, you’ll need more information! Below, we’ll detail exactly what you need to know about RV camping with dogs, from how to keep your pet safe on the road to ensuring everyone is happy.
7 Tips For RV Camping With Dogs
1. Choose A Dog-Friendly Campground
Perhaps the most important thing to consider before you jump in your RV is where you are going to stay. Pet policies are in place at campsites, national parks and RV grounds across the world and rules can vary depending on where you are. Not all campgrounds are dog-friendly, and you’ll need to do your research to find one that is.
Rules stating that dogs are kept on a short leash are generally commonplace and some private campsites will also have dog-specific areas to accommodate those camping with pets. Although this is less common, some campgrounds will also restrict the dog breeds they allow, so make sure that your dog is welcome before you plan your trip!
While these kinds of restrictions can feel like a bit of an inconvenience, it is important to remember that they are in place to ensure the safety of everyone in camp, from your pooch to your kids, and your RV neighbors too.
Check In Advance
To make sure that you are heading somewhere that will be fun for all the family, it is advisable to check the rules with the campground in advance of booking.
2. Get Your Dog Used To RV Life
If your dog has never been RV camping before, it may take some time to adapt to spending more time in your RV and less time running around without their leash. This is especially more difficult to manage when you are also contending with your dog’s excitement at being in a new environment.
Beware Of Overstimulation
It is natural for them to want to explore the new sights, smells, and sounds of the campground. However, you need to establish boundaries with your pup too. Their exciting new setting is likely to overstimulate them, and they are going to be harder to control when they don’t have a safe space nearby.
Make Your RV A Safe Space
To make this transition easier, make sure that your RV is a comfortable retreat for your dog where they feel safe. By going out on a few shorter trips close to home or by letting your pooch spend more time in your RV before you go anywhere at all, they will become more familiar with it.
In order to establish the RV as a safe space for your dog, you’ll need to make sure that there are plenty of home comforts that they associate with a feeling of security. This could be toys or some pet furniture like their favorite bed.
3. Pack For Your Dog
Following on from the point above, it is important to pack for your dog. Pets will require a number of different items to keep them feeling safe and happy. If they sleep in a dog bed at home, be sure to bring this with you on the road.
You’ll also need an ample supply of dog food and water, along with dishes to put both of these in. Any medications that your dog requires should also be packed, as well as toys to keep them occupied. You’ll need the latter for both the journey and those activities where it isn’t possible to bring your pet along.
A leash is a must-have item that you will likely need to comply with campground restrictions. You will also need to ensure that your pet is carefully secured during transit. You can either opt for a car harness or a pet carrier to keep them safe for the duration of the journey.
Treats Are A Necessity
Another important item to bring along is treats. Not only will these help your dog to have an amazing holiday too, but they also make enforcing boundaries much easier. Don’t forget to reward your pet for behaving and use treats to encourage good behavior around camp.
Be A Responsible Dog-Owner
It probably goes without saying that all owners will need to bring poop bags with them on their adventure. Cleaning up after your dog is vital for ensuring that your campground is a pleasant and clean place to be.
4. Break The Journey Up
Although it is easy for us humans to travel for hours at a time in a vehicle, this is less comfortable for animals. Remember to take breaks to ensure your dog’s well-being.
Toilet Breaks For All
Filling up at a gas station can present the ideal opportunity for everyone in the RV to get up and walk around, as well as stop for a quick toilet break. Don’t forget to grab some poop bags when you head out with your dog.
Consider Your Dog’s Energy
If your dog is a bit older or less active, regular stops with a short walk around gas stations will probably suffice to keep them comfortable for the RV journey. However, if you are traveling with a younger, more energetic pup, you may need to allow for a longer break in a place where they can properly stretch their legs.
5. Plan For Exercise
When you are RV camping with your dog, it is important to remember that they are on their holidays too. Although it is fair that you want to relax while you’re on vacation, you will need to schedule in regular exercise slots to keep your pooch happy.
Head Away From Camp
Some campgrounds will not allow you to let your dog off of a leash on-site. This can be a hard compromise for many dogs who enjoy nothing more than running around unleashed in your backyard. If this is the case where you are staying, head to a nearby off-leash park to give them a chance to run around and expend some energy.
If there is nowhere like this near your campsite, you can also head out on a long walk or jog to tire them out. This also gives your dog the chance to meet other pets on popular walking trails, giving them the chance to socialize too.
When traveling with your dog, you should aim to provide them with the same amount of exercise that they are used to getting at home. While it doesn’t have to be on the same schedule (you deserve a sleep-in from time to time), your animal shouldn’t feel like they are missing out.
6. Book A Vet Appointment Before You Leave
Before you bring your dog on the road, you’ll need to check that all of their vaccinations are up to date and that you are prepared with flea and tick solutions, just in case.
Some veterinarians recommend buying some anti-nausea medication for the journey as well. Dogs that are not used to longer journeys may not be comfortable in the RV and can become car sick. Giving them some preventative medication a couple of hours before you embark on your journey can really help.
When you are at the vets, you should request that they provide you with a hard copy of your dog’s medical file. This should include immunization and vaccination records, as well as details regarding medication and heartworm, tick, and flea prevention.
Make A List Of Vet Clinics Close By
It never hurts to be prepared! In case of emergency, it helps to know what facilities are available close by. You can source a list of nearby veterinary clinics online or ask at your local vets when you go for your pre-trip check.
7. Be Considerate Of Other Campers
Arguably one of the most important tips for guaranteeing a successful RV camping trip with your dog is to be considerate of other campers and their pooches.
Keep Dogs Leashed In Public Places
Even though your dog loves you, you never know how it might react when it meets another dog or another person. Owners should keep dogs leashed in public areas and be cautious when approaching other dogs, both for your dog’s safety and theirs.
Don’t Leave Dogs Unattended Outside
Many campgrounds have rules about leaving dogs unattended outside. This should not be done for the safety of other campers but also for your dog’s well-being. It’s their holiday too and they probably want to spend time with you!
Keep Dogs Quiet
Although it can be hard to stop your dog from barking, there are things you can do to limit it. Consider investing in a white noise machine in the RV to block out triggering noises. Nothing will annoy your neighbors more than incessant barking around the clock.
Limit Time Spent In RV Unattended
There are likely to be instances when you cannot take your dog with you for certain activities. Try to make sure that these are few and far between. Dogs commonly bark when they are experiencing separation anxiety and therefore are more likely to do this when left alone in the RV.
Heading off on a trip is just not the same when you have to leave the dog at home. After all, pets are part of the family too! RV camping with dogs can present challenges at first, however, knowing a few tips can help you to mitigate these. Remember to schedule in exercise for your dog and make sure you’ve packed what they need to feel at home. This will ensure a fun trip for all!