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RV with Dogs: A Basic Guide

One of the best benefits to RVing over other vacations is the ability to bring your furry friends along. There’s no need to worry about hotels or other rentals not allowing or properly accommodating your dogs, and even cats! You can set up your RV in a way that works for you and your pup. There are a few different steps you can take to make RV camping with dogs easy, relaxing and fun.

What You’ll Need

Acclimate Your Dog to RV Travel

Some dogs love car rides, others seem to think it’s torture. One way to improve your experience RV camping with dogs is get them used to traveling in an RV. If you have a towable RV, it’s a good idea to let them in for short periods of time to let them smell and investigate before actually hitting the road.

In a motorhome, we recommend taking your dog on short drives before a long road trip. This lets your dog get used to the experience of riding in a motorhome without overwhelming them. Take a short drive and return home safely so your dog doesn’t associate your motorhome with negative experiences, like the vet! Make sure they know they’ll be safe.

Couple sitting on an RV couch and cuddling with their dog.

Give Your Dog Their Own Space

The next step you can take to ease the transition into RV camping with dogs is giving your pup their own space. You could bring their favorite bed or the crate they normally sleep in and place it in a safe, quiet area of the camper. You can also bring their favorite toys and blankets that smell like them so they feel confident knowing that the area belongs to them. This will help ease the stress and anxiety that may come with the transition into a new home.

Supplies for RV Camping with Dogs

Tags and Microchips

Whether you RV full time with dogs, or you prefer a long weekend trip, it’s essential that your dog has identifying tags and a microchip. They’re a relatively inexpensive one-time investment that ensures your dog can be identified and anyone who finds them can contact you. When you’re constantly on the go, it’s difficult for your pets to recognize their surroundings and find their way back to you.

Dog First Aid Kit

The next thing you’ll want to bring if you RV with dogs is a dog first aid kit. In an RV, you never know how far you’ll be from a vet or if you’ll have cell service to look up the nearest office. It’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit for your dog on-hand, just like you have for yourself! This kit might include: gauze, adhesive tape, cotton balls, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic spray, tweezers, a soft muzzle, and a backup leash and collar. The American Kennel Club has a complete list of supplies to keep in your dog’s first aid kit. Luckily, most of these items are similar to what you find in a traditional, human first aid kit.

Leashes and Toys

A collar and leash are obvious supplies any dog owner needs. We recommend having at least two of each in case of an emergency. Toys are also important to have when RVing with dogs. You may spend hours on the road in your motorhome. This is a relatively small space, and your puppy has a lot of energy! Even older dogs need exercise to stay healthy and happy. Pack your dogs favorite toys and keep them nearby to make sure your pooch gets plenty of exercise.

Pet-Proof Your Furniture 

With rough nails, sharp teeth and muddy paws, dogs can quickly damage and dirty your couches, theater seating and dinettes. Use a stylish blanket to cover the part of the couch your animals prefer to sleep on, and remove the blanket when guests come to visit. The blanket will collect hair and dirt, leaving your furniture pristine underneath. They’re also easy to wash, much easier than cleaning the whole couch.

Another great way to extend the life and look of your furniture is using fabric protector products like Scotchguard. A coating of Scotchguard repels water and creates a barrier against stains. You can also help protect your furniture by making sure pets are clean before they come inside (thanks, exterior showers) and clipping their nails to prevent scratches. Lastly, we recommend brushing your pets often to reduce the amount of shed fur.

Etiquette for RV Camping with Dogs

Clean Up After Your Dog

RVing with dogs includes a lot of time using shared spaces. It’s important to always clean up after your pet. Other people will be using these spaces and nobody wants to risk stepping in anything your pup might have left behind. In any situation, remember to bring plastic bags and always clean up after your dog. Keeping shared space clean is an essential part of campground etiquette.

Young couple eats outside their camper van with a dog nearby.

Keep Your Dog Quiet

Some dogs are prone to barking at the slightest sound outside your RV or home. The best way to combat noisy dogs is to take long walks or have play time before you leave. This will ensure your dog is tired when you leave, and they’ll likely sleep most or all of the time you are gone. You can also play music or white noise to block out sounds outside of your RV.

RVing with dogs can be a rewarding experience. You and your dog will both be happier with less time apart on camping trips. You can even full-time RV with dogs and create a positive environment for both you and your pets.

Ready to RV with dogs? Visit Juniata Valley RV to find the perfect travel trailer or motorhome for both the two-legged and four-legged members of your family!

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