RVing with Dogs

RVing with dogs makes for a lot of fun and good company but, whether you RV full-time, occasionally or this is your first venture, you have a few things to first consider. Taking a dog on the road means additional responsibility yet the cost savings and worry free days of not having to leave your pet in a kennel is worth it. You can enjoy the open road, fresh mountain air, hunting through the woods or just lounging on the beach, all with your best friend at your side.

RVer's without Dogs

If you currently go RVing, especially if you do so full time or frequently enough that you are on the road as much as you are home, and do not have a dog but want one, think about the following facts.

RVing with dogs
  • First, consider the size of your RV to determine if you have the space for a dog and if you could have anything more than a small breed living with you while on the road.

  • Next, think about the RV parks to which you travel most often or the areas you like to visit frequently, so you may figure out if any of them allow dogs on the premises.

  • Also, you need to ask the park administration if it is okay to keep the dog outside on a leash all day, providing the weather is nice, or if it can only be out when on bathroom walks.

Most parks do not mind pets, especially if they do not bark or bother others who are RVing with dogs, but many of them do charge extra if you have a pet.

Dog On Board

For those who already have a beloved canine companion and like to go RVing, you need to consider the safety of your pet and the comfort of your campground neighbors. For instance, if your pet has a tendency to bark, bite or chew through its leash and rummage through the trash, you probably should not consider RVing with dogs. If these are not issues about which you must worry, then turn your focus to your dog and consider its needs while on the road.

  • A good starting point is your dog's health, as it is important for your pet to be up to date on vaccinations

  • You should purchase some bug repellant to keep away fleas and ticks to avoid any possible problems.

  • Creating a space in the RV for your pet during transportation and rest is important so they can feel comfortable and remain safe.

  • Whenever the RV is in motion, you should have your dog in a crate so it does not roam around and distract you or obtain an injury should you stop short or have a small fender bender.

  • Your dog, even if you trust it, should always be with you and on a leash so it does not hurt someone else and so it does not become injured.

Born for the Road

Zeke, pictured above, was acquired while I had been full-timing for three years, and after losing my beloved Siberian Huskey, Samson, to old age. Another Northern breed, with blue eyes, Zeke was eight weeks old when he joined me. He adapted well, and the minute I started the motorhome, took his place between the drivers' and passender's seats, ready to go.

Very seldom did my husband or I leave him alone in the motorhome, but one day we went for a walk in the woods where we were boondocking in the national forest outside of Downeyville, California, leaving Zeke alone in the RV. As we were returning, while still out of sight of Zeke, we began to hear him howling mournfully.

Then we noticed a pattern of a pause between howls. When we got close enough to see through a break in the trees, we watched him sitting in the driver's seat, howl for a minute then stop and peer intently towards where we had disappeared into the woods. Needless, to say we had a good laugh.

However, howling, barking and destructive behavior are just some of the behaviors you can experience when RVing with dogs. Thankfully, Zeke wasn't destructive and didn't bark, and didn't usually howl when left alone. If he had, it would have made it much more difficult.


RVing with dogs requires you to treat your pet a little differently than you would if you were at home, as they are more prone to various dangers.

  • Don't leave your dog outside at night - When RVing in a remote area, you should not leave your dog outside all night because a coyote or bear may stumble upon it.

  • Be aware of changing needs - If in the desert or a very hot part of the country, be sure to give your dog plenty of water, maybe a haircut and be wary of scorpions and rattlesnakes. Dogs are generally smart and know to stay away from certain creatures but sometimes they just want to play with them or have them for lunch.

  • Always walk your dog on a leash and carry a cane or walking stick. This isn't for your dog, but for the neighborhood dogs that can be aggressive towards a stranger.

  • Just as you should never leave your dog in your car in the heat of the summer, you should never leave your dog alone in your RV without running the air conditioning.

If you want to go RVing with dogs, go ahead and have fun but just remember to check with the campground, pack a puppy first aid kit and take safety precautions when driving. Being responsible is often stressful but the consequences of being lazy are almost always worse so take the time to be a conscientious pet owner and your travels are sure to be much more fun.