Oh, the open road! Fun times, mother nature, and endless memories are waiting for you. What could make that better? A dog! Let's face it, having your canine companion alongside you for your RVing adventure makes your trip that much better. To make sure your dog is ready and safe for your RV vacation, we've compiled a list of essential safety and travel tips for RVing with dogs. Everything from road safety to campsite awareness, we want you and that pup of yours to have the best time you possibly can have.
1. Make Sure Your Campsite is Dog Friendly
First up, make sure the campsite you are staying at is dog friendly! Not all campsites or RV Parks allow dogs, so before finalizing any reservation, make sure you understand if Fido is allowed and check their rules around pets. Some locations require proof of vaccination and only permit dogs in certain areas.
2. Get Your Dog Road Trip Ready
Before that pup of yours jumps into your RV or towing vehicle, make sure they are ready.
Food can trigger motion sickness. If your pet is a Veteran Road Dog, then no worries! However, a new pup may be a different story. Puppies are more prone to motion sickness so avoid feeding them while driving.
Instead, plan to give them a meal a few hours before your trip to help in triggering any motion sickness. Oh, and a seat cover never hurts! It's always easier to clean up dirty paws and doggie mess on a seat cover than on your actual car seats.
Another travel tip for RVing with dogs is to buckle up your dog. If your dog is traveling with you in your towing vehicle, just like you, your dog should buckle up too!
If you have an anxious dog, plan to have their favorite toy(s)- nearby, a familiar blanket or bed of theirs to lay on and if you are in an RV, have a designated place for the dog in your RV. All these measures can provide comfort and potentially help ease your dog's anxiety during RV road trips.
3. Be Smart At Road Side Potty Breaks
When you fill up for gas, stop for a meal or to stretch your legs, be mindful of where your dog gets out at. Never let your dog out of your RV or towing vehicle on the side by the road. Instead, ensure they exit on the side with the least amount of automotive traffic. You want to do everything in your power to avoid your dog from getting hit by an approaching vehicle.
4. Have The Right Dog Gear For Your Campsite
An absolutely essential travel tip for RVing with dogs is having a sturdy (non-chew through) 20-30ft wire lead that you can attach to your RV or nearby picnic table and tree. This allows your pup the freedom to roam while staying safe nearby and compliant with any leash laws of the campsite.
A general crowd pleaser is non-squeak toys! Not having to listen to your dog squeak their toy is not only beneficial to you but your RV neighbors. They'll thank you! Toys like Kongs, bones, and non-squeak toys are great dog toys for RV travel.
Switching it up to safety at your campsite. Having your dog in either a reflective dog collar or reflective harness adds an extra layer of precaution if your dog was to break away from you and get loose. Gearing your dog up in some sort of reflective dog wear allows oncoming cars to better see your dog at night or a better chance of a flashlight catching your dog when looking for them through the campsite or woods.
5. Be Aware of Wildlife And Where You Set Up Camp, Especially when Boondocking
Be aware of your location when you arrive at your campsite. We'd hate to have you park next to a fire ant colony or near something your pet can get into easily that may cause harm to them. While at your campsite, be aware of what wildlife is around (i.e. rattlesnakes, bears, etc.), and don't let that sweet pup of yours run free into potential harm's way.
6. Never Leave Your Dog Alone In The RV
Temperatures can spike and cause real harm or even death to your pet when left in a hot RV. According to the AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, "The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes, and almost 30º F in 20 minutes. Even on a 70-degree day, that's 110 degrees inside your vehicle!"
If you have all-day access to a heater or air-con and choose to leave your dog in the RV, we highly recommend a temperature monitor for your RV to ensure your dog's safety while RVing.
Outside of temperature, your dog can be a nuisance for nearby neighbors, barking or whining incessantly until you return.
7. Have A Plan For Where Your Pup Will Go During Non-friendly Pet Activities
What to do with your pet when visiting not-so-friendly pet places like National Parks? To avoid leaving your pet in your RV, check out Pet Sitting apps, like Rover, or nearby Doggie Daycares. These places provide a fun and safe environment for your dog, while you enjoy activities they can’t partake in.
8. Microchip Your Dog
The I.D. tags located on your pet's collar have the potential to get caught on something and fall off, leaving your dog without a name or phone number to reach you. If your dog is microchipped, someone will always be able to get a hold of you regardless if the I.D. tag is on your dog's collar or not. Any extra level of precaution you can take is never a bad thing.
9. Stay Up-to-date On Your Dog's Vaccinations
Last but certainly not least on the list of travel tips for RVing with dogs is to ensure your dog's health records are updated and available to you. Print them out or load them onto a shared drive (like Google Drive). You never know when you'll need to present your dog's records - like at emergency vet visits or to get your pup into doggy daycare.
TIP: Some vaccinations to consider and talk to your vet about are the Lyme disease vaccine and leptospirosis vaccines.