Summer is the perfect time to do fun things like go RV camping with dogs. Most canines love everything about the RV lifestyle, especially all the fresh air and exercise they may not get at home. But don’t pack up and hit the road just yet. Your furry co-pilot can be much happier if you know how to create a pet-friendly experience. Check out our five tips for RVing with dogs to prepare the pack for good times ahead.
How to Have Happy Times RV Camping with Dogs
1. Make your dog feel at home in the RV before you go camping
Dogs are happy when life stays pretty much the same. Your dog will love the security of knowing that even though he is in a different location, he is still at home with his people in the camper.
Spend a few nights and “camp” with your dog in the RV at home for a few nights before each camping trip (you know you want to!). This will also give you a heads up to make sure you have everything you need to camp with your dog and that all systems go.
Amy Burkert from Go Pet Friendly recommends feeding them in the RV before the trip.
“As she warms up to the RV, you can feed her breakfast and dinner near it, then inside when she’s ready. It’s a brand new thing that she’s never seen before and it’s your job to teach her that it’s fun! It may take a bit of convincing … but I find bacon works every time.”
2. Don’t change your dog’s routine
Dogs do best if their basic routine never changes If your dog’s normal at-home routine looks like this:
He will be happiest if he has the same basic routine when he is RV camping too. Bring his favorite bed from home as well as the same food and snacks.
3. Keep your dog on a leash, tethered or contained
Even if your dog is always off-leash at home, it’s easy for him to get lost when you are camping in an RV in an unfamiliar campground. Many dogs are curious and love nothing more than investigating with their nose. From a dog’s point of view, a campground is full of irresistible scents (like bacon, rabbits, squirrels), food, friendly (or not so friendly) people, inquisitive wildlife, and many other wonderful things.
It’s easy for a dog to get lost while you are busy putting cream in your coffee. Don’t take the chance and keep him confined with a leash or a few exercise pens attached together. A great source of collars, leashes, harnesses and more is Sleepy Pup.
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4. Bring the same food they eat at home
Camping with dogs means you will need to bring along enough food for them as well. Don’t get faced with a situation where you can’t find their regular food anywhere. New food can cause digestive upsets and diarrhea in dogs that have been eating the same thing for years. Trust me, nobody wants to deal with that when they are camping!
5. Keep them happy when you leave the RV
At some point, you are going to have to leave your dog in the RV. Most dogs can get anxious when left alone and one of the ways that dogs express anxiety is by barking or howling. Neighbors get annoyed, your dog is anxious and upset, and you probably won’t be happy either.
However, there are ways to avoid having a dog who becomes anxious when he is left alone in the RV:
- Give him so practice by starting with going out and coming back in increasing increments of <5 minutes, <10 minutes, <20 minutes etc. If your dog has separation anxiety to begin with, don’t start leaving him in the RV without working with a certified dog behavior consultant before your camping trip.
- Before you leave your dog in the RV, take him for a longer than usual walk and be sure he gets to go potty.
- Leave a radio and TV on for ambiance to help mask outside noises.
- Keep the RV temperature comfortable for him. Leave the air conditioning on, and set up a remote temperature monitoring system to ensure he doesn’t get too hot. Dogs can overheat very quickly on summer days.
- Leave him with a puzzle toy like a Kong Wobbler, some bully sticks, or some meaty bones help him stay occupied while you are out.
Youtubers Keep Your Daydream also shared some useful tips on RV camping with dogs in this video:
Of course, when you’re camping with dogs, remember to always clean up after your pet and know pet or specific breed restrictions before you go. Find pet-friendly RV parks by searching Campground Reviews, or planning your trip with RV Trip Wizard, now included with RV LIFE Pro. Learn more about our free 7-day trial here.
Lynne lives, travels and works full time in the R-Pod 180 with 3 pointers and 1 small but vital corgi mix named Alice. Lynne began full time RVing as an experiment in 2019, but she quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full time RV living. Lynne is a professional dog trainer, offering mobile and online dog training services through her website at www.mydoggeek.com. You can read about her travel adventures on her blog at: https://rpodadventure.wordpress.com/