Guide to Full Time RVing With Dogs


Many Americans love the idea of going on an RV trip with their dog(s). After all, what could be better than enjoying the beauty of our national parks with your best furry friend by your side? 

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Here at Kirkland RV, we agree! RVing with your pet can be a memorable and bonding experience, but it can also go sideways pretty quick if you grab Fido and hit the road without taking the right steps to prepare. 

RV Travel With Dogs; Things to Consider

1. Pet Safety

Pet safety should be your first priority when it comes to RVing with your dog. 

Dog parents might love the idea of having their pet right beside them or in their lap while on the road but this is not safe for your dog!

To ensure pet safety while RVing, follow these three rules:

  1. Make sure that your dog is wearing an RV seat belt or harness while on the road. 
  2. Never let your dog ride in a trailer that is being towed behind your main vehicle — always have your pup in the same vehicle as yourself.
  3. Look up vet clinics along your route and take down their numbers. This will ensure that if your dog has an emergency or needs to see a vet while you are RVing you know where to go.

2. Does Your RV Campground Allow Dogs?

Another tip for RV travel with dogs is making sure that any campgrounds where you will be staying allow dogs. A bit of research before choosing an RV campground is necessary when you are bringing a dog along.

You could get in trouble with the campground management or other campers if you bring a dog to a campsite that doesn’t allow pets.

3. Preparing for Wildlife Run-Ins 

Another pet safety tip for RVing with dogs is to visit your vet before setting off. Your dog is sure to encounter other dogs and wildlife during your RV trip that could pass on a sickness so it’s important that your dog’s vaccinations are updated and health checked.

Wildlife run-ins are often unavoidable and should be prepared for as wild animals can pose a serious health risk to your dog.

4. How to Live Full-Time in an RV With Dogs

Living full-time in an RV with dogs is very different from a two or three-week road trip. 

If you intend to live full-time in your RV with your dog, make the necessary changes to convert your RV into a comfortable home for your pet. 

Also, don’t forget to pack all of the essentials to keep your pet entertained. If you are going to be living full time in an RV with your dog, you both need to have your space and your own activities.

5. What to Pack for Your Dog

Bring your dog’s bed, a couple of their favorite toys, treats, and the food that they eat at home. Don’t forget the essentials such as a leash, collar, and doggy bags.

You’d be surprised at how many dog owners forget to pack for their dogs until the last minute, resulting in an under prepared RV trip with their dog.

6. Getting Your Dog Used to the RV

Whether you are planning on living full-time in your RV with your dog or you are just hitting the road for a couple of weeks, you need to get your dog used to being in your RV. 

This is especially important if your dog is not used to car rides. 

Dogs can get nervous experiencing things for the first time so make sure that you give your dog plenty of time to play in the RV and get used to the different smells and layout of your RV before setting out on your road trip. 

Tips for Setting Up Your RV For Traveling With a Dog

Don’t Use Lots of Carpet

Your dog is going to be getting muddy. RVing with dogs usually involves lots of hiking, lake swims, and other outdoor sports that result in a very happy and dirty pup.

Keeping carpets clean and dirt-free just isn’t realistic when RVing with a dog. So if you can, choose floors that are easy to clean and don’t stain easily.

Make Access Easy for Your Dog

If you have a small dog or one that struggles with bad joints or hips, climbing into an RV can be really difficult.

Consider bringing a small, makeshift ramp along with you to make access to the RV easier for your dog.

Dog Proof Your RV

For the safety of your pet and the convenience of your road trip, take an afternoon to pet-proof your RV before leaving. 

This might mean sectioning off areas where you don’t want your dog to go, or rearranging things so that your dog won’t get their nose into chemicals or other products.

Think of it this way, the same areas that are off-limits for your dog to go in your house are likely going to be off-limits in your RV too. 

Get a head start and make sure that your RV is dog-proofed prior to your road trip.

Looking for the Perfect RV for Your Upcoming Trip? Give Kirkland RV a Call Today!