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12 Tips for RV Camping with Dogs

By Molly Weinfurter


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If you love the great outdoors but don’t love the idea of sleeping in a tent, you should consider RV camping with dogs. It’s a great way to go on a trip where most of the activities are pet-friendly since they’re outside. So, if you’ve never brought your dog on an adventure like that before, this article will give you tips on how to do so.

What is RV Camping?

12 Tips for RV Camping with Dogs

RV camping is a popular alternative to tent camping. Instead of setting up a tent and being exposed to the elements, you can bring your recreational vehicle to a campground. Camping in an RV is often more comfortable and allows you to have more amenities than you would with simpler camping methods. Plus, it’s often more comfortable for your dogs too.

The only downside to dog RV camping is that you need to own or rent an RV to do it, which can be much more expensive than other options. Plus, you’ll need to ensure that a campground is dog-friendly and has space for RVs before planning your trip.

Tips for RV Camping with Dogs

RVing with dogs for the first time can be a lot to handle at once. So, if you’re interested in RV travel with dogs, here are 12 tips to help you prepare.

1. Find a Destination That’s Dog-Friendly

Find a Destination That's Dog-Friendly

Not every campground allows dogs, which may come as a shock to some people. Most of them do, but it’s always good to check the rules in advance. Certain campgrounds may have pet fees or restrict pets to certain areas of the property.

Some campgrounds cater to dogs better than others. Some may have specific dog-friendly amenities, such as poop bag stations, dog parks, and dog swimming areas. 

2. Gradually Prepare Your Dog

If your dog is not used to traveling, you’ll need to prepare them for an RV adventure. If your dog has car anxiety, they may not do well in an RV. Thus, RV camping may not be a good event for them unless you’re able to get their anxiety under control. 

The best way to help a dog feel comfortable with RV camping is to take it slow. Start by taking them for short trips in the RV. At first, you can spend a few hours in the RV while it sits in the driveway to see how your dog reacts. Next, you can drive short distances with your dog inside. For some dogs, staying in an RV may be more relaxing than a car since there’s more space. However, don’t rush your dog into a long RV camping trip before they’re ready.

3. Bring Familiar Supplies

A great way to help your dog feel at home in an RV is to pack things that are familiar to them. Bring their favorite bed, some beloved toys, and potentially some clothes or blankets that smell like home. With familiar items, your dog should recognize the RV as a safe place, helping them to adjust better.

4. Keep Routines Consistent

Keep Routines Consistent

Another way to make the RV as comfortable as home is to follow a similar routine. When camping, you’ll probably spend a lot more time outside than you normally would. However, you can still feed them, walk them, and go to bed around the same time as you would at home. That way, your dog will be less worried because they’ll know what to expect.

5. Decide Where To Keep Your Dog During Non Pet-Friendly Activities

It’s rare that every activity during your trip will be pet-friendly. If you need to stop by a restaurant or shop during your trip, you’ll likely have to leave your pup behind unless it’s a dog-friendly restaurant or dog-friendly store. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your dog alone in the RV, try to choose only pet-friendly places or have someone stay behind with the dog.

Most dogs will be fine with free roam of the RV while you’re gone, but if you’re worried they’ll get into trouble, you can crate them or confine them to one area. If your dog gets anxious when left alone, you may want to draw the blinds or play soothing music while you’re gone. 

6. Provide Lots of Exercise

Dogs who are bored are more likely to get stressed and destructive. So, exercise your dog just as much as you would at home, if not more. Take them for hikes around the campsite or set aside some time to play fetch. Tuckering your dog out before you have to leave them alone in the RV can also help them relax. Providing your dog with mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys, is another great way to keep them occupied. 

7. Be Ready for an Emergency

Be Ready for an Emergency

Emergencies aren’t likely, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the campground is far from your home, look up the nearest emergency vet and save their number. That way, you can quickly dial it if something happens to your dog. If you won’t have cell service, you may want to write down directions to the vet.

You should also make sure your dog has an up-to-date microchip and tag with your information. Even if you have a well-behaved family dog, there’s always a higher risk involved when in a new setting. Unfamiliar sounds or smells could startle your dog and cause them to run off. So, keeping a collar on them can help someone reunite you and your dog if they get lost.

8. Follow Leash Laws

Many dog parents think a wide open campground means their dog can roam free. Yet, you should check the leash laws before taking your dog off leash. Most public campgrounds require dogs to be leashed unless they’re in a fenced-in area. Those rules are for the safety of your dog and other campers. No matter how well-behaved your dog is, they’re not immune to the rules.

If you want to make sure your dog gets some off-leash time, you can buy an RV fence for dogs to let them out in the area in front of the RV. Dogs that have trouble climbing may benefit from an RV dog ramp.

9. Respect Other Campers’ Space

Whether your dog is required to be on a leash or not, you should keep them away from other campers. Not all people want to be around dogs, and some may even be allergic. Other dogs may also act aggressively toward your dog, so don’t let your furry friend approach other people and pets without permission. Even if your dog is friendly, they’re not going to be welcome in everyone’s space.

10. Always Pick Up After Your Dog

Always Pick Up After Your Dog

A big reason many places don’t allow dogs is because some dog parents fail to pick up after their pups. So, don’t be one of those people. Always have at least a few poop bags on hand before taking your dog outside. Attaching a roll of poop bags to your dog’s leash is the easiest way to make sure you always have them.

11. Keep Your Dog Restrained When Moving

If your dog is in a moving vehicle, they need to be restrained. Some areas even have laws that require this because unrestrained dogs can get hurt and they could distract the driver. So, you can either purchase a dog seat belt to clip them into place or you can keep them in a crate while driving. Doing so will keep everyone in your RV safe.

12. Monitor the RV’s Temperature

Most RVs today come with air conditioning and heating, so you can set it to the right temperature when you’re inside. When you leave your dog alone in the RV, don’t forget to set it to an appropriate temperature because spaces that are too hot or too cold could be life-threatening for your dog. Some temperature monitor products will even let you monitor the temperature from afar, allowing you to feel at ease knowing your dog is safe.

Most Dog Friendly RV Camping Sites

Most Dog Friendly RV Camping Sites

Not all RV camping sites allow dogs, but there are some that go above and beyond to welcome our furry friends. Here are a few great places for RV camping with multiple dogs:

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few final questions that may help you feel more confident about RV travel with dogs.

Can You Live in an RV with Dogs?

Yes, RVing with a dog long-term is possible. However, you’ll need to do lots of research before making it your permanent residence. You’ll need to check your area’s RV laws and only park it in legal places. You’ll also need to make sure your dog gets extra exercise since they’ll be living in a smaller space.

Can You Leave Dogs Unattended in an RV?

Yes, you can leave dogs in an RV alone, but keep an eye on the time. Don’t leave them alone for longer than needed. While RV camping with your dog, try to plan as many pet-friendly activities as you can to avoid leaving your dog alone.

How Much Do RVs Cost?

If you want to buy an RV for dogs, it will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000 depending on the type of RV and what amenities it includes.

Try RV Camping with Your Dogs!

RV living with dogs may not be possible for everyone, but RV camping with pets is a fun activity for pet parents. Before you set off on your RV adventure, make sure your dog is comfortable with traveling and make sure they’ll be included in as many activities as possible. If your dog loves RV camping, you may want to try flying with a dog to bring them on more dog-friendly vacations.

About Molly Weinfurter

Molly Weinfurter is a freelance writer and editor that specializes in family, travel, and animal-related topics.

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