Considering an RV trip with a dog? The RV Odd Couple share misconceptions about RV life with a dog, list what you need to do before full time RV living with dogs, discuss the challenges of taking your dog on the road, and list the supplies they use for RVing with dogs.
If we haven’t already met: We’re John & Mercedes, the RV Odd Couple. We sold our house & most of our possessions to RV pursuing freedom, independence, and adventure because life is too short! The following article is our personal experience. We are not safety professionals. There are affiliate links in this post. This means if you purchase and use our links, it will not cost you a penny more, but we will earn a small commission.
When considering the RV lifestyle, keeping dogs safe in the RV is a major issue. For those wanting to RV full time, these tips to RV travel with dogs will make your transition to full time RV life a smooth transition.
Misconceptions about RVing with Dogs
The first misconception about RV living with a dog is the idea that you’ll be with your dog 24/7. Unfortunately Dogs are not allowed in some places, (like National Parks). So just know that you will need to leave the dog in the RV. And that’s ok! Because the reality is that an RV trip with dogs means you have to cater around the dogs needs!
The next misconception about RVing with a dog is that it is animal abuse to leave the dog in the RV. What about all of the people that work 40 hours a week at an office that have to commute to work? The reality is (in our opinion) that dogs are alone much more in stationary families than nomadic ones like ours.
Things To Do Before RVing Full-time with a Dog
If you’re considering transitioning to full time RV living, you must take precautions with your pet before you make the move! Here is a quick “to-do list” of what you need to do before you RV full time with a dog.
- Make sure your pets shots are up to date
- Micro chip your pets
- Consider using an national chain veterinarian so they have your records
- Let your veterinarian know your plans to full time RV
- Stock up on Pet Medications
- Pay attention to the most recent laws crossing borders & check rules coming back in.
If you’re considering international travel with your dog, the best resource for traveling across international borders with a Pet is the USDA’s website: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/By-Country
Challenges & Solutions to RV Life with Dogs
One of the biggest challenges to full time RVing with a pet is monitoring the pet when you’re away from the RV. The best solutions we’ve found for this issue include an Interior Camera and a monitor to alert you if RV looses Power. They also have temperature control apps that monitor the RV so you don’t have to worry!
Another tip you should consider is letting your (trusted) neighbors or the RV park manager know if dog is by themselves. If you have a digital lock like we do, you can give them the code if they have to get it.
Probably the biggest tip we can offer is that you close the toilet cover when you are away. I don’t know what it is, but Skippy just loves toilet water!
Seriously though, before we set out to RV Full time, we spent a lot of time practicing staying in RV. This made Skippy familiar with the RV. We also gave him a designated spot. This way, he was familiar and ready when it came time to RV full time.
Safety Tips to RV with a Dog
One of the biggest reasons you should take an RV trip with your dog is for safety! While you have to take extra precautions to keep them safe, they in turn will help keep you and your family safe too!
So the following are tips to keeping you and your dog safe!!
- Keep Up on Grooming & Bathe your Dog regularly. The last thing you need is a stinky Dog in an RV!
- Keep your Dog Entertained with quality toys, & regular excursions. Otherwise they’ll act out!
- Consider a Portable Fence so your Dog can go outside & stay safe.
- Learn RV Park Rules for pets. These rules keep everyone’s pets save & the RV trip enjoyable!
- When your Dog is outside, keep him on your site & away from road
- Dogs get Allergies too! And traveling exposes you to different allergens. A spoon full of Baby Benadryl keeps Skippy’s allergies at bay. (But check with your vet! This is just what we do & we’re not professionals!)
- Protect your Dog for ticks & flees! You do Not want flees in the RV!
- If you have to travel unexpectedly, be prepared to have to board your Dog. (another reason to keep shots up to date!)
- At night, Keep your Dog by the front door for added security. This is especially helpful for solo RVers!
- If there’s a security issue and you must exit the RV, Let the Dog out 1st. They can see under RV.
- Older Dogs don’t always do well with RV Stairs. (Especially if they can see through the steps!) Try wrapping the stairs so they have more traction if you have an older dog.
- Pay Attention if your Dog rejects the RV Park Water! We stayed at a park with low quality & Skippy alerted us to poor water quality. We call it the Skippy Test.
Supplies & Dog Etiquette
Now let’s talk a little about supplies that you will need for your RV trip with a dog. The following are items that we found very useful to us and made Skippy’s RVing experience much more enjoyable.
Now to be clear, we’re not saying that you should go out and spend a ton of money on your dog. Frankly RV’s are small spaces and you don’t have a lot of room. But we are saying that you should invest in quality items, especially if you will be full time RVing with a dog!
High Quality Dog Toys- Don’t get cheap toys!
Do not go cheap on your dog’s toys! Especially if you’re RVing full time, cheap dog toys will cost you more in the long run. The vet bill from eating a cheap dog toy or the cost of constantly replacing the dog’s toys will cost way more than the $3 savings! So we only get Kong dog toys for Skippy. Doggy toys like these are strong, durable, and last!
Skippy loves his harness, and we love it too. The one we use has a little compartment for doggy treats and poop bags. Some say that dog harnesses keep dogs more calm. While we haven’t noticed that in Skippy, we definitely like how easy it is to control him when he as his dog harness on
Quality Dog Leash
This is pretty self explanatory. And frankly you need this whether you RV or not. But we want to be thorough!
This is another area where you don’t want to go cheap. But since RV’s are tiny spaces, and dog har quickly accumulates in small spaces, it’s super important to get a good quality dog brush. We only trust the Furminator for Skippy. It’s the best dog brush we’ve ever had!
You’re going to want to make sure you have other dog grooming items such as a pet nail clipper. They can be tricky to use, so another trick we do is we’ll walk Skippy on concrete and the asphalt acts as a nail file.
Dog Poop Bags
While we’ve noticed that most RV parks have doggy poop stations, some don’t. So make sure you have dog poop bags handy. We like using the ones that are compostable. Otherwise we have to use grocery bags and that’s not good for the environment.
When you leave your dog in the RV you’ll want to have a way to remotely monitor the electric connection and the RV’s temperature. That way if there is a power outage, (which happens more often in RV parks), you will be alerted and you can quickly return home!
Another important thing for your dog in an RV is a special dog bed, blanket, or designated spot to call his own. Even if it’s just a short RV trip with your dog, he needs a “home.” This isn’t just for the dog’s comfort, it’s for yours! Because RV’s are small spaces and you don’t want the dog in the way!
Why are we sharing about RVing with Dogs?
When we decided to take this huge leap of faith and RV full-time with our family, so many people offered us help. We’d like to pay it forward. We’ve created a download of our “Top 10 RV Must Haves.” This download has links to ease purchase. You’ll Join our “Odd Squad” and be the first to know about our new adventures, products, and RV living hacks!
Thanks for Joining our Odd Squad,
John, Mercedes, Sage & Skippy