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Important Things You Need to Do When RVing with Your Dog

Updated on July 19, 2017
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I have traveled extensively throughout the US for many years and enjoy helping people to enjoy their own vacations.

If you plan to RV with your dog, there are several things you need to do in order to keep him safe, happy and comfortable.

These include overseeing his

  • safety,
  • health
  • comfort,
  • feeding,
  • nurturing and
  • general behavior.

This is no small task, so before you make the decision to travel with him, make sure you are willing to do whatever is necessary to give him the care he deserves.

Remember that although he will enjoy the excitement of doing something new and different, he also will not understand exactly what is going on, so there may be times when he becomes frightened and confused.

Thus, it is up to you to make sure to comfort him when necessary.



Here are some basic tips that will help you to keep your dog safe:

  • Never leave your dog alone in a coach that does not have good ventilation.
  • Keep information on your pet that identifies him and gives people ways of contacting you if your dog gets lost.
  • Always provide him with ample supplies of food and water.
  • Keep your AC running when you leave your dog alone in your coach.
  • Always leash your dog when in public.
  • If you plan to be gone for long periods of time, give someone you trust a key to your coach and ask them to check on him a few times during the day.
  • Clear all counters before you start moving so that items cannot fall on your pet and injure him.

Secure your dog with appropriate restraints when when you are traveling from one spot to another .

You should always use appropriate restraints for your dog when your RV is in motion.

There is only one that is known to work effectively to keep both your dog and fellow travelers safe. You can see it in the attached advertisement.

When I traveled with dogs years ago, I always used some sort of restraint for them, but after watching a video that showed crash tests that involved 16 other brands of dog harness,

I quickly switched to this brand and have informed friends and family to to the same because I now realize how dangerous it is to both dogs and passengers to use the wrong harness.

For safety's sake, I urge you to watch it.

Sleepypod ClickIt Sport Crash-Tested Car Safety Dog Harness (Medium, Jet Black)
Sleepypod ClickIt Sport Crash-Tested Car Safety Dog Harness (Medium, Jet Black)

This dog harness has been proven in crash tests to be the most well designed and safest way to restrain your dog when your vehicle is in motion.



Sometimes pets get sick while traveling.

Problems can be anything from bee stings to ingesting foreign objects that damage intestines and require surgery.

If the problem seems to be serious, don't hesitate to see a local vet as soon as possible.

Under normal circumstances, the best way to protect your dog's health is to

  • make sure he gets plenty of exercise,
  • always make sure you vaccinate him before you leave home, and carry the certificates of proof with you when you go,
  • carry all of his flea, tick, heart worm and other medications, his medical history and his vet's phone number with you,
  • check daily for signs of travel stress such as refusal to eat or lack of energy and deal with these issues as needed,
  • if he gets sick, stop and camp for a few days to give him time to recover or stop often to allow him to rest a bit. It's hard to get well when you're in a moving vehicle!

It’s also a good idea to buy dog tags that you engrave with important information to attach to his collar so that if he gets lost, whoever finds him will have your contact information.

Tags also allow a new vet to have some of the information he may need in order to diagnose and treat your pet.

I like the type referred to above because it allows you to put a great deal of information on it, is inexpensive and will serve your needs. In the past these are the tags my husband and I have used on our dogs, and have always been happy with them.

We did try the type that come in colors but found the engraving on them difficult to read.


Your dog is comfortable at home because he knows your living patterns, but RVing from one place to another is a totally different situation for him.

The surroundings, smells and sounds are not the same as they are at home, and this can be scary for him.

The best ways to keep him comfortable are to

  1. provide him with a special spot, generally a small bed that you bring with you from home.
  2. make sure he has some of his toys available,
  3. keep the TV on when you are absent, or play some soft soothing music on your radio and
  4. only absent yourself for short periods of time, and try to keep your dog with you as much as possible.

Remember that your dog can only hold his bodily fluids for so long.

If you leave him alone for too long a time and he does have an accident, never scold him for doing so because it will be your fault, not his.

If you walk him before going out and then again once you return, an accident should not be a problem.

Better yet, never leave him alone!


Good nutrition is actually more important for a dog when he is traveling than when he is home because of the energy he exerts due to excitement and stress.

For this reason you should maintain his normal feeding schedule and carry an ample supply of his every day food and treats so that you don't have to supplement his diet with scraps.

You should also keep plenty of water available for him.

There is always a temptation to feed him scraps of human food, but doing this can make him sick and will upset his normal feeding schedule.

Dogs are happiest and healthiest when they are comfortable in their surroundings.
Dogs are happiest and healthiest when they are comfortable in their surroundings. | Source


Like humans, animals crave love and attention.

It's important to their well being that you hold, pet, talk to and play with them, rather than just having them "be there" for your own comfort.

Doing these things is fun and will be good for both of you!

Your dog did not ask to be taken on this RV trip, so you owe it to him to make him feel as welcome as possible.

General Behavior

If you plan to travel with your dog,make sure that both he and you practice good etiquette when he's around other people.

  • Clean up after him when he goes to the bathroom.
  • If he's a barker, don't leave him alone in your coach.
  • Keep him leashed when he's around other people.
  • Don't allow him to jump on people or enter their campsites.

People don't like being jumped on or licked by strange animals, and some fear being bitten by them.

They shouldn't have to worry about issues like these, and won't have to if you maintain control over your dog.

Happy, Healthy Dogs Make Great Traveling Companions

RVing with dogs can be a great deal of fun, but doing so requires a fair amount of planning, sacrifice and hard work.

For this reason, you need to make sure that you are willing to do all that is necessary to keep him safe, comfortable and happy and provide for his needs while you're on the road.

If you do what you need to do to provide the care your dog needs, you'll find that both you and he will have great and memorable times together.

Happy Trails!

Do you think following these suggestions will improve your dogs vacations?

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