There is nothing like the freedom of exploring the open road in an RV. Traveling in a camper allows you to live out of your home while visiting new and exciting places. One of the best things about RV travel is that it makes it relatively easy to bring along your best furry dog friend! No expensive airplane flights, no worries if the hotel accepts pets – you and your dog road companions! Read our post on best ways to introduce your dog to your RV here.
If you are planning to start traveling with your dog in your RV, you’ll want the right gear to keep your pup safe and happy on the road. Living in a small space for extended periods of time requires some creative solutions to everyday problems (like where to put dog waste when you aren’t stopped near trash cans), but with the right gear, you’ll be cruising the roads in no time!
When you are first starting out RVing with your dog, you’ll be able to get by with a few essential item beyond the normal pet supplies. If you plan to RV more extensively or for longer periods of time, there is gear you may want to invest in to really help make RV travel enjoyable.
Bring your dog’s regular food when traveling.
As you travel, you may not be able to find the brand of food that your pup is accustomed to, so its essential to keep a full supply of dog food for your trip. The last thing you (or your dog) wants to deal with on the road is an upset tummy from new foods. Keep in mind that your dog may need more food than normal if you have a lot of exercise planned and they are burning more calories.
If you plan extended RV travel, you may want to consider mail-order dog food that can be sent to rented PO boxes, or shifting your dog’s diet to brands of dog food that you know are always in stock at certain stores or vet offices.
Keep a Sealable Pet Food Container in Your RV.
Keep your dog food in sealed plastic containers to prevent insects and mice infestations. Some campers keep the large bag of dry food in a storage container in the cargo space of the RV and just keep 1 or 2 pounds of food in a small plastic container in the kitchen – its easier to handle this way.
Keep 2 Sets of Food/Water Dishes in Your RV.
Inside the RV you should always have water available for your dog. Investing in a spill-proof water bowl will keep the area tidy. Outside make a habit of always having water available to help keep your dog hydrated. Having a designated indoor set and outdoor set makes it easier to set up your camping space without having to constantly move bowls around.
Pack your dog’s favorite bedding and crate if you use one. The familiar smells of their own blankets or bed will comfort your dog for better sleeping and less anxiety. To read a more in-depth article on creating your dog’s space in your RV, see this post here.
ID Tags & Microchip.
Every dog should have a collar with an ID tag with your cell phone number. In addition, make sure you microchip your dog (and keep the contact information current). If your dog loses their collar while lost – any veterinarian or pet shelter will have the scanning equipment to quickly check for a microchip – you’ll have your pup back with you much quicker! Many RVers also invest in a GPS tag for their dog’s collar.
Bring Veterinarian Records on all RV Trips.
If you need to board your dog or seek medical care, you’ll need a copy of your pet’s veterinarian records showing recent vaccinations as well as any medical care.
First-Aid Kit for Pets.
When you are camping you dog can get into trouble with wild animals or have an accident. Having a first aid kit especially for your dog will allow you to treat wounds or accidental ingestion of poisonous plants.
Grooming Supplies – Brushes, Wipes, and Dog Shampoo.
Pet fur is constantly shedding and it can build up quickly in a small space like your RV. Regular grooming each day will help keep the flying fur to a minimum. You may also want to invest in a small hand vacuum designed for pet hair. Wipes are great for cleaning paws off before entering the RV.
Outdoor Area for your Dog.
Most RV parks require dogs to be on leash or in a fenced area when outside the RV. If you use a tether to keep your dog secured, you may find that he gets tangled up. A better option is to create a dog corral out of portable fencing. Depending on how much fencing you travel with, you can make an area for your dog like a fenced backyard – with a place to do their business, a place to eat, and a place to rest. Add an outdoor rug like this one to keep the area clean from dirt and mud.
Compostable Dog Poop Bags and Plastic Sealable Container.
Of course you will be courteous and clean up after your dog – and using biodegradable dog poop bags are the best for our environment. For times when you make a pit stop that isn’t near trash cans – store the poop bag in a sealed plastic container to empty at the next rest stop – this will eliminate smells!
Security Camera System with Temperature Gauge.
If you plan to leave your dog unattended in the the RV, even for short amounts of time – the safest thing is to install a security camera system so that you can keep an eye on your pet. You also need a remote thermometer to keep tabs of the temperature inside your rig.
Pet Seatbelt Harness.
Its tempting to allow your dog free reign of the camper while you drive, but this is very unsafe for your pet. During any sudden stops, swerves, or accidents – your pet becomes a projectile inside the RV. Pets don’t have the ability to ‘brace’ or or grab onto a handrail to secure themselves. A seatbelt harness or dog crate is the safest option for pet RV travel.
Jennifer Hillberg is the Founder and Creator of Mountain Mat, LLC, the USA’s first 100% recycled plastic, reversible, outdoor recreation mat. As an avid outdoor recreationalist, Jennifer has hiked and camped in some of the world’s most remote places alongside her husband and three children. Learn more about The Mountain Mat Story.