Want to RV with Your Dog? RV Travel Tips for Dogs

Are you considering hitting the road in an RV with your dog? If so, there’s some very important issues you, as a dog owner, need to think about before packing his doggie backpack, grabbing his leash and setting up his dog bed in your motorhome or camper! Let’s learn how to be successful at RVing with your dog to make wonderful memories together.

RVing with Dogs - Always On Liberty

This post contains affiliate links to help run this site at no extra cost to you so we can keep providing FREE Outdoor, Camping, RVing, Recreational Boating and Travel information, advice and tips. Full disclosure here.

Want to RV with Your Dog?

What you need to KNOW before you GO RVing with your dog

RVing with Dogs - Bennett's with Sunny - Always On Liberty
Photo Courtesy of RVLOVE – Julie and Marc Bennett with their Goldendoodle ‘Sunny’

What if your dog suffers from anxiety in your RV?

Anytime you remove your dog from the stable life they’re accustomed to in your sticks and bricks, it’s inevitable that they’re going to experience a bit of anxiety.

Even more so, it’s going to be magnified even bigger while traveling in an RV.

Even in big rig RVs where your dog may have a little more room to relax they will experience a plethora of different sights, sounds and smells that they’re not used to. This may cause anxiety and behavior issues that can disrupt the whole happy RV lifestyle you both set out for.

However, if you prepare your dog for RV life, yourself and your RV, you and your best friend will enjoy your bonding journey and adventure!

We highly recommend reading Leaving Your Dog Alone in Your RV? Dog Separation Anxiety Tips to help through the transition of RVing with your dog.

Also, you may want to discuss your RV lifestyle with your dog’s Veterinarian to address any health concerns and behavioral issues that may surface once you get on the road.

What if your dog is on the restricted breed list?

Unfortunately for dog lovers, more and more campgrounds are clamping down on keeping restricted dog breeds out of their campgrounds. This means you have less inventory of RV parks to stay at enroute and at your destinations.

Really, it’s nothing personal. And don’t blame the campground or RV park for their dog breed restrictions. Due to local legislations and liability insurance, campgrounds are being hit hard in the coffers due to dog attacks and dog bites from known aggressive dogs.

But, don’t for a minute think you can lie about the dog breed. Because if your dog does act aggressively, you and your dog will be evicted and made to pay for injury and loss.

So, with exception of ADA Service Dogs (NOT ESA or Therapy Dogs), if your dog is one of those banned dog breeds in question, you will need to research campgrounds thoroughly before making your reservation.

How do you keep your dog comfortable in your RV while you’re out exploring?

One of the most talked about topics amongst RVing pet owners is how to keep their pets comfortable while their owners are away from their RV.

Two issues come to mind; keeping your dog warm on cold days and how to keep your dog cool in your RV in the hot summer months.

There’s a dog safety temperature and humidity monitor that enables you to get temperature reports via bluetooth from the pet monitor in your phone to your smartphone. However, you will need a decent constant wifi signal for the alerts to work.

RV Hacks Book Banner Ad - Always On Liberty

What do you do with your dog when they are not welcome?

It would be nice for dog owners to be able to take their dogs anywhere and everywhere. But, it’s just not feasible unless they’re a bonafide Service Dog.

While there may be outdoor cafes to sit and enjoy lunch out with your pup, you’re still faced with not being allowed to take your dog to indoor attractions like museums, zoos, shops and stores, wineries and breweries as well as sit down restaurants.

Also, a lot of National Parks and State Parks disallow any pets on most hiking trails due to wildlife or hiker traffic.

What happens if your dog requires Emergency Veterinary Services on the road?

RV Dog at Veterinarian - Always On Liberty

Having a pet get sick or injured on the road is going to cost you big. Because your dog is not established with Veterinarians nationwide, you’re going to be faced with ‘new patient fees’ which can be upwards to a couple hundred dollars per visit.

But there is a less expensive option for those who travel or RV with their dogs. Banfield Pet Hospital was founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1955. Banfield is a privately owned company that operates veterinary clinics nationwide and abroad.

It’s now now the leading provider of preventive veterinary care in the U.S. with more than 1,000 hospitals in neighborhoods across the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Great Britain.

Banfield Pet Hospitals operates several Vet clinics from inside PetSmart stores. They offer veterinary services for dogs, cats, and small pets and exotic animals. Available services vary per clinic but you can get Veterinary care near me through their full service Vet clinics (search by zip code).

You can also schedule a virtual care visit should you not be in range of one of their PetSmart locations. 

An office visit with your dog starts at about $50 to $60. You  can get your dog microchipped for about $40. They also offer vaccinations, surgical procedures, spaying and neutering, dental, well baby checks for your dog and more.

For more information, just check out Banfield’s dog wellness plans to see if this is a viable dog care option that works for your travel lifestyle.

All of that said, RVing dog owners can stay in touch with their Veterinarian and refer to them for telemedicine for minor issues and to get prescription medicines refilled.

Just make certain when you RV with your dog that you keep their complete health record with you in your RV. This includes their vaccination records.

And, speaking of vaccinations, always make certain you keep them up to date. Some campgrounds may ask to verify your dog’s rabies, distemper and bordetella vaccinations. 

What do you do with your dog during an emergency absence?

RVing with a dog can present logistical issues if you need to fly out in an emergency. Unless you have a travel partner who can stay behind, you’ll be faced with trying to find a place to board your dog. Or you’ll need to take them with you on the plane.

Either way, it’s going to set you back a few hundred. So make certain you have a slush fund set aside for pet care.

As an RVer, also know that your RV community may be able to help watch your dog in your RV while you tend to your distant travel.

Or, if you’re at a reputable campground near or in a city, you may want to look into using nationwide pet sitting services:

Or, you may prefer local pet sitting services instead.  Campgrounds sometimes keep a listing at their office. Or, oftentimes, you may find them in your campground brochure you receive at check-in.

Just make certain your pet sitter is bonded and insured. And always ask for references before trusting them with your dog and your RV!

If you have trust issues, you may want to get an indoor observation camera system set up inside your RV. That way you can see exactly when they enter and what they do with your dog and the inside of your RV.

Living the RV LIFE Book Banner Ad - Always On Liberty

What do you do when you need to vacate your RV?

White Dog on Airplane - Always On Liberty

There may be times when you will need repairs done on your RV. Most repair garages will not allow live animals to stay in the RV during the repairs for obvious reasons.

So, you’ll need to always have a game plan on what to do with your dog when you need to vacate your RV.

If it’s for more than 24 hours, you’ll need to find a pet friendly hotel. But if your RV repairs are only going to take a couple hours, you can take him on a side field trip in your toad or tow vehicle.

This would be a great time to take your dog exploring; albeit a cool dog park, dog beach or dog-friendly hiking trail. Just make sure you grab enough dog treats and a couple bottles of water out of the fridge to hold him over.

But, you may have to vacate your RV because of weather such as a high wind or tornado warning. This is why you should have your own emergency go bag as well as a bug out bag for your dog as well. Just make sure it has water, snacks, a little dog food and his favorite chew toy.

And always keep a 6′ dog leash (NOT the retractable kind!), dog harness and dog poop bags accessible at the door always.

Finding special dog food

Dog holding empty dog food bowl - Always On Liberty

As we’ve even experienced RVing with our two cats full time, finding your dog’s favorite or prescription dog food on the road can present some issues.

Especially now with all the logistical supply problems, getting your hands on your dog’s favorite vittles and kibbles is something RVing dog owners really need to plan for.

While big rig RVs can afford the weight and room to store pet food and supplies, small RVs, vans and truck campers don’t have that luxury.

So, you’ll have to plan ahead by forecasting how much food they have versus where you’re traveling to and destinations.

If you’re in a campground and can receive packages, you can set up a one-time shipment from Chewy.

Dog behavior and manners

RV with Dogs - Labradoodle Dog with RV Class C Motorhome - Always On Liberty
Photo courtesy of RV Love

We all know that dogs can act like unruly children. Trust me, I know! We had an American Eskimo (Junior) and a Pembroke Welsh Corgi (Yoda) who would go nuts the minute the door bell would ring. Or they’d act like starving brats even though they ate before we left!

OH! It’s so embarrassing! They can be the best dog and make you proud one minute. And the next, they’re making a scene.

Dogs may exhibit poor behavior in your RV and at the campground; making you look like a crappy dog owner.

But we all know that good dogs have bad days just like their owners. So, try to understand what’s making them do weird things and fix it before it happens again.

There’s some great dog behavior resources out there to help you understand why he’s acting out and how to curb them before the bad behavior starts.

So, before letting your dog drive the RV, have a serious sit down discussion with him on how he should be on his best behavior and practice good doggie manners at the campground or even while boondocking. And, as always, reward your pup with praise and throw him a few dog treats (or 10?)!

PRO TIP  RV Trip Wizard helps you plan the perfect trip and their RV GPS app turns your phone into an RV Safe GPS to get you there safely.  Have a question about ANYTHING related to RVing, join the conversation at any of their awesome RV forum communities.

Click here to learn more and sign up for the FREE trial.

RV LIFE RV Trip Wizard RV Trip Planner Banner Ad

Final thoughts on RVing with a dog

Dog in Motorhome on Ferry - Always On Liberty

It’s not a misnomer that most RVs you see on the road may be traveling with a dog or two (or 10?). If you want to RV with your dog, it’s important to think of their needs and how the RV lifestyle will affect them. By knowing what to expect before it happens, you and your dog will enjoy your RVing adventures!

Do you have more RVing with dog tips? Please share them in the comments section of this blog article. We’d love to add them.

Check out Grand Adventure’s video “RV Camping with Dogs”

More articles about RVing with dogs

Leaving Your Dog Alone in Your RV? Dog Separation Anxiety Tips!

Why Restricted Dog Breeds are Banned in Campgrounds

Campground Pet Etiquette: Camping Rules for Dogs and Cats

Keeping Your Pets Cool in Your RV in the Summer

Keeping Your Pets Warm in Your RV in Cold Weather

Cool Camping Gear for Dogs

RVing with Dogs - Always On Liberty-2

AMAZON DISCLOSURE:                                                                                                            This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *