When first thinking about RVing full time, we were really concerned about how it would work with our dogs.
Would it be okay to leave them in the RV when we went places they couldn’t go? What if they barked the whole time? What if there was a fire or the electricity went out causing the air conditioning to stop working?! Would they handle the driving okay? We had LOTS of questions.
We did some research online and found there were a lot of people who managed just fine on the road with their dogs. But, they had a few things in place. So, following suit, this is what we did:
1. If your dog barks a lot, you must do something about it.
It’s just rude to have your dog bark all day at an RV park and bothering everyone else around you. We’re not fans of shock collars, and didn’t want to go that route. But one of our two dogs was a barker. Like a “never going to stop, I will bark for 5 hours in a row” kind of barker. So we needed something!
Luckily, a friend told us about a citronella bark collar. When our black lab, Indy, barks, it sprays out citronella. She didn’t like the smell at all. We put it on her, she barked twice and that was it. It worked that well.
Indy is a smart dog, so when she doesn’t have the collar on she knows she can bark again. We take it off at night while she sleeps, but leave it on her all day. We have one problem with it. If Odin, our yellow lab, is standing next to Indy and he barks, Indy gets sprayed. Not fair!
We think she has figured this out, because if Odin barks, she quickly moves away. Luckily, he doesn’t often bark, so it’s not a big issue. For information on the citronella bark collar we, click here.
2. Make sure you put a note on the RV window by your door telling people there are dogs inside.
Then, if there is an emergency, someone knows to get the dogs out or to call us. We also put our phone number on the note.
This works great for the dogs, but it’s also good to have our number available in case anything else goes wrong. There are cool, professionally made signs that you can buy to fill in and they look really nice. But, a piece of paper and a marker work just as well. You can see an example by clicking here.
3. Ensure adequate air circulation
If we leave on a hot day when the air conditioning is on, we also open our vents. Then if the air shuts off for some reason, at least the vents are open for circulation. In order to do this, we had to buy special vent covers in case of rain. Information about Fan-Tastic’s Ultra Breeze Vent Cover can be found by clicking here.
4. Install a wireless camera
This next item may be more then you need, but it gives us peace of mind. We bought a wireless camera which we set up in the front of our RV. With it, we can see and hear what is going on. If we’re gone for a long stretch, we can check in and make sure the dogs are okay.
You need a wireless Internet connection in your RV, then you can check the camera from your phone, via an app. It does not alert you if there is noise in the RV, so we have to keep randomly checking. I know there are other options available which do a lot more. But it works for us, and the price is right.
We use a D-Link Pan-and-Tilt security camera, and you can find more information by clicking here.
5. Have all your vet records handy
Make sure your dog has all its shots and medicine. When traveling, you’ll be visiting different kinds of places and don’t know what you’ll encounter. So be sure your dog is up-to-date on flea and tick prevention and heart worm medicine. Also, make sure they are current on their shots, especially rabies. I’ve had multiple campgrounds ask for proof of current rabies shots.
6. Pack doggy poop bags.
Leaving your dog’s poop on the ground anywhere is a bad thing, but it is especially bad at a campground. That’s what makes other people tell campground owners they should ban dogs at their RV parks. So, do everyone a favor, and make sure to pick up after your dog. The easiest way is to have a dog poop bag dispenser right on your dog’s leash so you never forget. Earth Rated makes some scented bags that work well. Click here for more information.
7. Pack lots of treats and make it fun for them
When on the road, you won’t always have access to the same kind of dog food or treats. Either stock up before you go, find an online store, or gradually change their food over to a brand you know you can find at chain stores or grocery stores anywhere.
Traveling in an RV is a transition for your dog, too. They may have a hard time riding in the RV with all the noise and motion, or it may take a while for them to feel comfortable at new locations. So make sure you give your dog a chance to adjust to their surroundings.
After all these things are in place, you and your dog will enjoy adventuring in an RV. There are wonderful things for your dog to do on your trips, too! We’ve found some really cool dog parks and a dog beach on our travels.
Our dogs are part of our family, and we’re glad we figured out how we could bring them on our adventure.