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Tips for RVing with Dogs

Tips for RVing with Dogs

So, you’ve bought a new RV so that you can take the whole family along on vacation, including your dogs. If you’ve never taken your pooches on a road trip, you might be a little stressed out about how to keep your furry friends safe and comfortable on the road and at the campground.  If you’re embarking on your first RV camping adventure with your dogs, or are a seasoned RVer who’d like to learn some new tips for RVing with dogs, this post is for you.

Tip #1: Have a pet temperature monitor

A dog can suffer from heatstroke in less than 30 minutes if the temperature is too hot in an RV. A pet temperature monitor allows you to monitor heat and humidity from afar, whether you’re hiking where dogs aren’t allowed or off getting groceries or a meal.

The Waggle pet temperature monitor, for example, works on a Verizon 4G cellular network so you don’t have to depend on spotty campground WiFi. You connect the monitor straight to an app on your phone so you can see the temperature in real-time and get alerts if the temperature gets too high or too low. Waggle also alerts you if your RV loses power – and when it gains it back again.

Speaking of temperature, your RV should have at least one or two roof fans to keep air moving throughout your RV.

Tip #2: Get your dog accustomed to the RV before you go

If your dog has never spent time living the RV lifestyle before, it’s a good idea to get them used to the rig before you start driving down the highway.

One idea is to park the RV at your house for a couple of days before each trip so that you can get Fido accustomed to being in the RV.   It’s also not a bad idea to try spending the night in the RV before you leave just to see if your dog is capable of relaxing.

Make everything about being inside the RV a positive experience for your dog.

Tip #3 Prepare your dog for a safe and calm road trip

The drive itself might not be the best part about RVing with dogs, but there are ways to make sure your dog is safe and comfortable on your RV adventure.

Take your dog out for a long walk or a game of ball on your travel day. That way, they’ll be good and tired for the trip.

You’ll want to feed your dog at least an hour before you get on the road to prevent motion sickness or nausea.

Speaking of motion sickness and nausea, make sure to stock up on anti-nausea medication. Driving for long periods of time might trigger your dog’s stomach, even if they have never been car sick before. Your veterinarian can prescribe the medication for you and it should be given at least 2 hours before you leave for your trip.

Don’t forget to keep your pup in a safe place while your RV is in motion by getting a seatbelt for your dog, and keeping your pup buckled up. Many pets are injured each year when their owner stops suddenly and they are projected forward, hitting the back of a seat, or worse, the windshield. Also, if you’re involved in a crash, the restraint helps keep them from running away from the scene.

Take your dog for a potty break and walk every now and then, too. Dogs like to stretch their legs just like people on a long road trip.

Tip #4: Research the campground rules and park before you go

Campgrounds, RV parks, national parks and state parks all have different rules when it comes to RVing with dogs. Be sure you do your research before you make your reservation.

For example, some campgrounds have breed restrictions for breeds such as Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Pitbulls. Other campgrounds do not allow dogs over a certain weight and some don’t allow dogs at all. Always consult the website or call ahead to make sure you understand the restrictions.

There might also be rules about where you can walk your dog (some campgrounds even have dog parks) and most campgrounds won’t let you leave your pup tied up unattended.

Be aware that many national parks don’t let you bring your dog on hiking trails or boardwalks. They have to stay on designated paths, which can be quite limiting. That means you’ll need to leave your pup alone a lot of the time while you hike and explore.

Tip #5 Keep your dog safe (and quiet) at the campground or RV park

A campground is a new and exciting place for your pup. There are so many sights, smells, other dogs and people walking past your campsite. This could make your dog bark, which is both embarrassing and rude to fellow campers.

Start teaching them that the appearance of neighbors = treats. Scolding or ignoring your dog is likely to make it worse.  You can try a white noise machine in the camper to help to dull any external noises that might upset the dog.

Also be careful about other dogs in an RV resort. Some people won’t leash their dogs and are not even aware their dog is aggressive.

If you have small dogs, keeping them on a harness will be your best bet. In the event you are attacked by other loose dogs, you can easily pull them up by the harness and quickly get them out of harm’s way.

While hanging out around your campsite at the RV campground, you’ll need a way to keep your dog restrained. That can either be a collapsible pen you set up outside your RV or a long cable you attach to your RV. Make it something your dog can’t chew through.

Also, don’t let your dog run up to someone without a leash either in a campground or on a hiking trail. That person might be afraid of dogs and not appreciate your pup’s advances.

Tip #6 Make your dog at home inside your RV

If you’re just getting started RVing with dogs, your camper will feel really foreign to your pet.

Bring a few of your dog’s favorite toys and their bedding on your RV camping trip. These will not only be comforting for your dog, but will give him or her something to do.

Another thing you can do is to keep the same routine you had at home. That sense of routine helps the dog stay calm and obedient. Try to feed your dog, take daily walks, perform obedience drills, and put your dog to bed at around the same time every day. This will provide some structure to their life.

Tip #7 Prepare for the possibility that your dog could get lost

Every pet-owners nightmare while RV camping with dogs is that their dog could run away and get lost.

This is a very real possibility, so it’s good to prepare beforehand.  Be sure your dog is wearing their collar with identification tags at all times.  The id tags should contain your cell phone number and name.

Another thing to consider is a GPS collar. There are many to choose from, but our favorite is the Fi Dog Collar.

Take a picture of your pup and have it available on your phone in case your dog escapes and you need to show other campers what he or she looks like.

Tip #8 Make sure you’re ready if your dog gets hurt

Another terrible thought to consider is that your dog gets hurt at some point during your RV trip. This could be an injury, allergic reaction or snake bite.

Bring a first aid kit stocked with the basics to treat your dog on scene. Your first aid kit should contain the appropriate supplies to treat and bandage cuts, brace injuries, and relieve pain.  It’s also a good idea to keep 3% hydrogen peroxide on hand to induce vomiting, should your dog consume something poisonous, and activated charcoal to help clear out their digestive system afterwards.

You should also bring your dog’s vet records and have a list of vet clinics close to your campground should the need arise.

Emergency antihistamines are another good item to keep stocked while RVing with dogs. These can easily be purchased over the counter in the human form (such as Benedryl) so long as you ask your vet for a dog specific dose. This is great to have on hand for any bee stings or allergic reactions your dog may experience along the way.

Tip #9: Be wary of wild animals

When bringing your pop on an RV camping trip, you’re sure to run into wild animals sooner or later. You’ll want to train your dog to wait for your okay before exiting the RV.

It’s also important to keep your dog on a leash or in a pen while at the campsite; you don’t want the dog chasing a wild animal or engaging in a dangerous encounter.

Don’t let your dog harass, bark at or chase wildlife while camping or out on a hike.

Tip #10:  Have fun!

RVing with dogs has a lot of advantages for both you and your pet. You get to explore amazing natural places while also having your beloved companion along for the ride. While bringing dogs to national parks can be more challenging, there are plenty of national forests, Bureau of Land Management recreation areas, and other parks and natural areas that are more than accommodating to dogs.

If you plan on taking your dog in the RV, you’ll want to make sure they are clean and smelling good so contact us for an appointment.   Please book early because we are sometimes booked up to a month in advance!

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