At first it seems like RVing with dogs and cats is a no-brainer. Dogs love adventure and cats loved being spoiled all day, every day. But when first I considered full-time RV living, my partner and I worried about how our dogs would handle the lifestyle. Here’s what we learned about camping with pets.
Lessons About RVing with Dogs and Cats
RV travel with dogs and cats takes planning ahead. We wondered:
- Is it okay to leave dogs in the RV when going places they can’t go? What if our dogs barked the whole time?
- What if there was a fire? If the RV electricity went out and the air conditioning stopped working, would our dogs survive?
- Do dogs get carsick in RVs? How long can you drive the RV with dogs inside?
We had lots of questions. Thankfully, RVing with dogs and cats is a popular topic with other RVers. After some research, we discovered many people managing camping with pets just fine. Their tips for RVing with pets show they put some things in place to make camping with dogs and cats easier, such as:
1. When your dog barks, do something about it.
It’s just rude to have your dog bark all day at an RV park. You might not mind, but constant dogs barking in RVs bothers everyone else around you. One of our two dogs is a nuisance barker. Like a “I’m never going to stop, I will bark for 5 hours in a row” kind of barker. We needed something before RVing with dogs.
A friend told us about a citronella bark collar. We gave it a try and now when our black Lab, Indy, barks, the collar sprays a cloud of citronella. She hates the smell. All it took was two times for the collar to stop her excessive barking. But Indy is a smart dog, and when the collar is off she knows she can bark again. So we take it off at night while she sleeps, and leave it on her all day.
2. Put a Pet Alert Sticker on the RV window to inform people dogs live inside.
Always leave a message that includes the number of pets inside, their names, and your phone number. If an emergency happens, someone will hopefully get your pets out, or call you for assistance. A clearly visible note is also helpful if anything else goes wrong. Better yet, leave the note up permanently. Many pet alert stickers are available online. In a pinch, a piece of paper and a marker work just as well.
3. Keep air flowing inside
If you leave dogs in the RV on a hot day with the air conditioning is on, open all vents too. If air conditioning fails with dogs inside, at least RV vents are open for air flow. RV fans like Fan-Tastic’s Ultra Breeze Vent Cover has air covers to keep rain from going inside.
4. Install a wireless pet camera
This next item may be more then you need, but it gives us peace of mind. We bought the D-Link WiFi Smart Camera which we set up in front of our RV. If we’re gone for a long stretch, we can check in and make sure the dogs are safe and out of trouble. You need a wireless Internet connection in your RV. Then you can check the camera with a smart phone app.
5. Travel with pet medical records
Responsible RVing with dogs and cats means keeping them up-to-date on parasite prevention. Carry their vaccine records too. Many campgrounds ask for proof of current rabies shots.
6. Keep dog poop bags on board
Leaving your dog’s poop on the ground is bad pet manners. It’s a great way to annoy neighbors at campgrounds. Set a good example for pet parents. Pick up the poop when RVing with dog. Carry dog poop bags and a bag dispenser on your dog’s leash so you never forget.
Start RV Travel with Pets Slow and Easy
RV travel with pets requires an adjustment for everyone in the camper. Both dogs and cats sometimes have a hard time riding in the RV with all the noise and motion. Or, it can take for them to feel comfortable visiting new locations. Make your RV as comfortable as possible. Bring their bedding and toys along. Be patient when you get started traveling together. Give your RVing cat, dog and any other pets a chance to adjust to their surroundings.
After all these things are in place, you and your pets will enjoy adventuring in an RV. There are wonderful things for dogs to do on your trips, too. We’ve found many cool pet-friendly dog parks, beaches and other destinations on our travels.
Our dogs are part of our family. If you feel the same way, you’ll be glad you when you bring them along on your adventures too.