The Dog-Friendly Guide to RV Camping

RV Travel
The Dog-Friendly Guide to RV Camping
Taking your dog on your trip doesn’t have to be stressful


For dog owners who camp by RV, bringing our pets along is part of the vacation fun. Whether you’re headed for a weekend at the lake or a month-long, multi-state vacation, taking your dog on your trip doesn’t have to be stressful. Just consider what your dog needs at home, and find a way to deliver that on the road.

Canine Comfort on RV Trips

Some of us can ride for hours in an RV without needing to take a break. But what about dogs? To keep your dog happy and comfortable, consider her usual schedule while planning your road trip. If your canine stays inside during the day when you’re at work, she’ll probably do well with just a quick walk when you stop for gas. But if she is used to spending a lot of time outside, plan to stop at a local park for lunch and let her run around for a half hour.

Dogs also need their own special space. Pick a spot in the motor home that’s your dog’s exclusive domain. Whether it’s a specific corner for his kennel or a quiet place for his favorite pet bed, your dog needs a place to call home while traveling.

Preparing for comfortable road trips is a breeze if you fill a “doggy backpack” with all the items your dog needs.

Here are some items you’ll want to bring:

·         Food and treats
·         Food and water dishes
·         Medications
·         Leash and car harness
·         Toys
·         Bedding
·         Kennel

Keep your dog’s comfort in mind when planning day trips that don’t include pets. Most campgrounds won’t allow pets to be left outdoors unattended, so figure out how to safely confine your dog in the RV while you’re gone. The temperature should be comfortable, and your dog should have plenty of water. Make sure your dog can’t get into potentially harmful mischief, too.

By the way, when choosing your campground, it’s important to check ahead about pet policies. Most campgrounds and state parks require dogs to be kept on a short leash and not roam free. Many private campgrounds now have dog walks or off-leash dog park areas to accommodate pet owners. Knowing the park or campground rules before you go will keep things running smoothly.

One last canine comfort tip: Build exercise time into your camping schedule. A dog who’s confined for too long without time to walk, run or play can be miserable. Walking laps around the campground, running in the off-leash area or jogging along a trail can help keep both of you happier.

Canine Health and Safety on RV Trips

You love your dog and you want to make sure she’s safe and healthy on vacation, right? You can do both with a little preparation.

Before your trip, make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations and vet exams to prevent health emergencies on the road. Your dog should be treated for fleas and ticks year-round, especially before extended time outdoors. Also, don’t forget to pack vet records and contact information in your doggy backpack.

Another essential prep step: Make sure your dog travels safely. Have either an anchored harness or a pet carrier. Allowing your dog to roam freely in the RV or tow vehicle is dangerous for both of you. Picture your 80-pound German shepherd becoming a projectile in an accident!

Prepare for emergencies like storms and extreme heat, which can endanger your dog when you’re away from the campground. Set up a generator to kick in and run heating or air-conditioning after a power failure. Know the location of your campground’s storm shelter and whether your dog can shelter with you. A weather app on your smartphone will alert you to dangerous conditions and allow you to make lifesaving decisions for you and your dog.

And finally, don’t forget to have fun! RV travel with your best canine friend can create wonderful vacation memories.


Joe Laing is the marketing director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV rental company. Laing has been on the road working within the travel industry for more than 20 years and greatly enjoys exploring the outdoors. He has been camping across the United States from coast to coast and makes a point to stop at national landmarks along the way. He is also actively involved in numerous campground associations, including the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s Go RVing committee, as well as travel industry associations.

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Comments (13)

Oh camping with dogs is so much fun! My family loves it. Here's an additional tip that has saved us a few times. Insure you have a collar or tag that lights up and turn it on at dusk and leave it on until you are all in the camper for the night. Loosing your dog in a campground at night is SCARY. Having a light attached to your dog will prevent that.
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