“There is something so inviting, about packing up belongings, while in transport to a vacation or having a new lifestyle of a home on wheels, with a stocked kitchen, accessible bathroom, comfy bed and bringing along family and/or your beloved pet, all while getting to the destination of choice”. C .Star. V
While out Camping or RV-living, caring and concerns for your pet is much the same as when you are living in a house. If you are having to leave your pet for any length of time, you want to make sure to check for or put away anything that your pet could get a hold of or into (like foods that may be toxic garbage can, etc.) or that would be dangerous or destructive. Living in the RV, we do have to consider that and other issues, such as turning off our gas-propane and water when we leave. We ensure all food is away and garbage is taken out.
Have a schedule of some type: “Whether you live in a house, an RV (on the road or camping), it is always best in keeping a schedule of some-type, this is a must (whether it be for them to eliminate or a feeding schedule). It is important that your dog (pet) is being taking out to be able to daily eliminate (or for some pets that use litter boxes or other areas and keep those areas cleaned-up). Your pet needs to get a chance to go out often enough and have some-type of consist schedule (so they can learn to depend upon it and will get to go out and “eliminate” when they are out) and if not, then they will go wherever they will, when they can’t hold it anymore. Same goes for feeding your pet, if you don’t have some type of consistency in schedule (as a morning feeding & a dinner-time feeding) of enough and proper nutrition, they may not get what they need and get into other foods they shouldn’t..
**A method we use with our dogs: I call “the transition technique” in addition to last thing before bed & first thing in the morning) adjusted to a schedule or routine for elimination needs and whenever we are going to get ready to go somewhere and have to leave our dogs, we make sure to take them out shortly before we leave. This way they can get some fresh air, exercise and eliminate. Then, whenever we get back from being away from our dogs (whether they are with us or if they’re home or in RV waiting for us ) we always take them out promptly, so they don’t have accidents trying to hold it for anymore length of time..
Having a routine, a consistent schedule or a method will ensure that your dog can depend upon and know that they will get to go out to eliminate. Sometimes they’re not feeling well or they have a stomach upset or something else wrong with them and they could have an accident, but it’s not the dogs fault and they should not be punished.
Keep poop bags with you out on walks: There are little holders of doo doo bags that can attach to the leash and you can refill them, so you never are without and dog-safe wipes to clean their paws from coming in when after taking them and outside. You need to make sure to clean up their poop after your dogs go, even if you have to come back with a doo doo bag to pick it up, unless another Rv-er or camper around close by can give you one (not only to be courteous to others), but so dog lovers and owners don’t get a bad name and not welcome to places with their dogs . As well, picking up after you dog helps us to know that our pet went poop and if it has a good consistency or not (if your pet has a upset stomach or any other issue, that they may need something in helping them). As well, when you do take your dog out, watch and make sure they did actually go to the bathroom. One of our dogs goes like clockwork whenever we take her out and our other dog, we usually have to walk a bit more with him or wait, even if he finds a good spot as he will sniff and look around a little bit before he squats and poops!! Many dogs go poop once a day (around the same time-especially if fed on and around a schedule time) some dogs go poop twice or may need to go out because of a possible upset stomach. It all depends and many dogs like to urinate a few times when they get to go out, even if they only out for a short walk. Let them empty those colons and bladders!!
Have your pets needs, food, treats, toys & water: Plan to bring along extra food for your dog (pet), in case the worst should happen and you break down or are away longer than you initially expected and bring plenty of fresh water, along with flea and tick remedies. Keep their water & food bowls clean and accessible at all times (I use white vinegar and water put in spray bottle, spray and wipe after each feeding and clean water bowl too, both get slimy). Pack your dog’s (pets) favorite blankie, toys and treats, to ensure they will be happy and have something to occupy themselves when you are relaxing in the RV. Some dogs will need help in getting in and out of any type of RV, travel trailer or 5th wheel, do there are ramps for assisting them. If there’s several dogs with your travel, create a routine to bring them in last and take them out first or whichever works best, so other dogs can’t trample on them. Make sure to be aware of what safe options of treats and foods are, for you to give your pet. Rawhide should not be given to dogs under 1 yr old and rawhide is not a good option anyway, never give them much of it and especially if dog is left alone while eating it, this can be dangerous. I give bully bones, once in a great while as a treat or bones I get at the grocery store wrapped in plastic for dogs, but when they get to a point of sharp points it broken off shards I throw that all away ( as those could get logged in throat if your dog). Always think to use common sense to keep your pets safe
Exercise & mental stimulation is needed: Your dog (pet) may be accustomed to frequent exercise in a backyard or other exercise routines. If you are staying in a campground or Rv resort, you likely will not have a fenced in area for him to play. Some RV parks and campgrounds have fenced-in, off-leash areas or doggie parks. If not you could find a local off-leash dog park or just remember to take your dog for a nice long walk to get them exercise and easier to relax when back inside. Some campgrounds are near beaches, and other bodies of water and may allow pets to go with you to that area. Many people is that all dogs do you know how to swim and that isn’t necessarily true some dogs need to be taught how to swim and some are terrified of water, a dog needs a life vest just like a child and owners must know for sure that their dog knows how to swim and can swim to safely . If not the dog must be taught to. Be cautious when walking your dogs in wooded areas, critter tend to live in them and keep your dog close to the path or street sides you are on, as ticks also lurk in path and wooded street side areas.
Keep pet safe & comfortable in travels: Traveling in an RV is most likely entirely new for most dogs and owners may not know what all to expect. Our pets need to have a place for them that they can be comfortable and safe when the Rv is moving from one place to another. Designating a place (such as the couch for some dogs) or others may need to be crated In case they have travel anxiety. Most dogs enjoy riding in a car, but moving along in a motor home can feel a bit different and your pet may need time to adjust. You should have your dog (pet) near where you’ll be riding in the Rv motorhome and possibly encouraged them to relax on a couch or choose a location for your dog (pet) to ride. Create or designate a safe (in traveling) and comfy place for your dog (pet). No matter where you choose for your dog (pet) to ride, be sure that they are comfortable when driving long hours and plan to stop every few hours for bathroom breaks, water and feedings. If you are towing a fifth wheel or travel trailer, your dog will need to ride in your truck with you, as it is never safe for anyone to ride in the trailer while towing. When it’s bedtime, be sure to have a similar routine as you did at home, when it’s time for your pet to sleep. If your pet typically sleeps in your bed, allow the same in the RV. If he has his own dog bed, be sure to bring it along for your trip. This will help your pet and you, to get a good nights sleep.
Have a plan, whenever you can’t bring your (pets): When having to leave your dog (pet) when you can not bring them or it’s not dog-friendly, is one of the biggest factors when having your dog (pet) along camping or on an RV trip. Especially, when you will have to leave your dog (pet) alone for more than a couple hours at a time. RVs may have room for your dog to walk around and most dogs should be fine with being left behind for a little while. After all, most dog owners leave their dog alone at home whenever they are working or running errands, so this is something your dog should be accustomed to. You should put all the blinds down and play some soothing music or TV show to block out extra light and sound. This will encourage your dog to spend more time snoozing and less time barking while you are away. We have used a baby gate put between the kitchen area and bedroom to make an area for our dogs to be in and boundaries to keep our dogs out and calm, if we need to separate them from guests or such. If you are truly uncomfortable with leaving your dog (pet) alone for hours, try to plan and seek out a local pet-sitter or dog-walker to spend time with your dog while you are away. Possibly, (when camping) if you know of a fellow camper out with you or even notify the camp host to have either check on your pet, if need be. I don’t think I’d ever trust some kind “technology” just yet, in leaving my pet in the RV and going away and just assume the AC will kick in at a certain temperature and keep it running to do so. If pets are left inside a vehicle with windows 1/2 down or an RV with windows open, it can still be too hot for a pet to handle if the weather is hot outside, especially if not parked in the shade (and you also have to think about when it’s too cold and must not leave any propane on). If we have to leave our pets, we always turn off the propane gas. We try to never leave our dogs for more than 2 hours or so, but with our routines with them every now and then we have had to leave them 4-6 hours and they do fine because they know we will take them out and (if time to eat) we will feed them as soon as we get back . If we had worries, we would let someone around know to check on them and make sure they are ok and that the AC is running. We take our dogs with us, most of the time even if we have to do errands and let them stay in our vehicle with the AC on or windows down sufficiently for air and that we can see readily see them or we do the errands while we take turn sitting with them in the vehicle.
Pets & Common Sense: Most campgrounds are pet friendly, some allow pets in all areas and some have restrictions. Some have dog run or dog parks and some have restrictions of bigger dogs (usually rare though). However, pet owners should know what their pet is capable of and of their pets personalities. Pet owners should know what can trigger them into an aggravated or stirred up situation and know how to prevent these or what to do in that event. As campgrounds have become more crowded, campers and RVers must practice social etiquette, pet etiquettes and common sense, with their neighbors. However most do, but sometimes you may run into those whom just don’t. Dogs are going to bark, that’s what they do and for the most part that’s their job and protecting and if they see other dogs or commotion going on they may bark and they shouldn’t be punished or hit because of that. I want to believe that pet owners might not know how to properly deal with some issues and yet, etiquettes are just common sense. Perhaps they have not trained their dog(s) and some think the portable pen outside of their RV (as their dogs running from side to side) or on a tether line and stake in the ground or in the pen (possibly barking) while the owner(s) are nowhere to be seen, is adequate. This can be dangerous and not to mention, that one’s personal space is important to everyone, pet owners, the pet and those whom no longer or have never owned pets. What I noticed is some dogs will just bark at everyone passing by or if they see another dog and this is a common thing, but some pet owners just ignore the dog completely or yells at the dog(s) to shut up. The better thing to do, is to take action and remove the dogs from sight of seeing each other and they will calm down. Training dogs the “Quite Command” (by being rewarded) is also good and this can be learned how to do this by searching it on google and following carefully the instructions and steps in doing so.. I have always been an animal lover and really enjoy meeting new dogs, especially if they are well-behaved, but stray dogs can pose risks. You should NEVER assume all dogs are friendly.
Pet Etiquettes: We walk our dogs often and try to find or choose the road, areas or path in the campground that’s more private, has less crowded by campers and are on the lookout for other dogs at campsites as we pass by or approach them and this helps too. As I mentioned, often dogs will bark and some get overly excited and stirred-up when they happen to see or sense another dog (or animal). If we happen to see another owner and their dog(s) coming our way, we usually just turn onto a different way if we can. Best not to look at a dog if your trying to get pass them with your dog, just get control of your dog and with leash, direct them to keep going as you pass them. My one senior dog just goes crazy when she sees another dog approaching (there was even a time where I had to ask another camper, if I could go behind his car and wait till some people and their dogs had passed so my dog didn’t see them and the coast was clear)!! She’s a small dog, so I can also just pick her up and walk the other way.. Every once in awhile we experienced noisy pets and have witnessed those whom leave their dogs (pets) alone in their tents or Rv’s and take off and are gone the whole day and meanwhile their dog(s) are barking the whole time and I mean for hours. This should not be allowed. I realize that people have things to do, places to go and sometimes they can’t take the dogs, but some type of arrangement should be made and especially for dogs that have separation anxiety or that tend to bark when left alone (there are things to get to keep dogs occupied and also dog CBD and such to keep dogs calm if needed). Sadly, I’ve watched owners that don’t even seem to talk nicely to their pet or gently show patients or love to their dogs. Please don’t be one of those people.
Have a plan in case an emergency : If an emergency situation should arise, it is always good to be prepared. Have the number for a local veterinarian handy just in case the worst should happen. Be careful not to let your dog (pet) slip-out when coming in and going out, from your RV and keep an ID tag on your pet’s collar at all times (put cell phone number, where you can be reached on pet’s tags). This will ensure that someone can find you, if your dog (pet) were to escape. There are also magnetic signs or stickers that can be placed on the outside of one’s RV that states information about your dogs (pets) that are inside and how to reach owners in case of emergency while away from RV. Keep a prepared folder of our dogs (pet) info with Vet information, all legal documents, even current COLOR printout pictures of your with lost dog (pet) info, (hopefully never needed), but readily available for instant handing out to Police, Park Campground Hosts and surrounding areas.
Keeping your dog (pet) safe outside: Dogs (all animals in general) are nosey and that’s what causes a risk. If you are going for their last bathroom walk for the night and it’s beginning to get dark or is dark outside, you must bring a flashlight of some type of lighting to be able to see what’s on you and your dogs pathway. There could be something you don’t want to step on or that your dog could get a hold of or such that needs to be avoided for safety reasons. Our dogs are ALWAYS on a leash when outside and I keep their harnesses on inside just in case I have to grab them from heading out the door, when not supposed to go (I’ll take it off to bath them or occasionally when they go to sleep for the night, but generally their soft harness is always on). My one doggie is an older senior dog, but she’s still quick as a whip, she loves to get outside and if she got loose, she’d run everywhere and would love to get away to explore! We always locate where ours dogs are at, before we open the door and since there’s only one door that we have to come in and out and three large steps to get down and another three steps to get out, it has been fine. Being that we’re full-time RV-ers, it has been a major concerns of ours with our one doggie possibly getting out and escaping, one because there are dangers that are in the woods and campgrounds, as well as cars and even with a gps tracker the fact is, it would be still be dangerous and a stressful strain to try and go after her to try and find her. So, I keep a collar and a harness on her and I have created a method of putting the harness on in a more secure fashion (where the opening of the harness is at the top and clipping the harness loop and the collar loop clipped together with the leash clip). Neither has to be real tight and some harnesses you may have to back your dog into it (to have that clip up top). When out walking with her, if she sees another dog or something that excites her, she cannot easily get out of the harness (not without allowing me to have enough time to pick her up). We travel where there are all kinds of wild life and critters, that can pose potential risks. If we go hiking with our dogs, we keep them short leashed and I always walk with a tall rod or wood staff and use it to tap or move brush or bushes out of way and tap the path in front of us (for anything that could jump out). The staff also could serve me in an emergency, if I had a ankle injury while isolated.
Be patient and if can do trial runs: Give things time to adjust and remember that RV travel is likely brand new for your dog (pet). Some may adjust immediately, but may also need some time to become fully comfortable in the RV or the camping scenarios. If you plan to bring your dog along for a long trip, consider practicing with a few shorter trips first. Perhaps you can plan to spend a few hours in the RV while it is parked in your driveway or? This way, your dog (pet) can get familiarize with the new environment. You could even plan to spend a night in the RV ahead of time, so that your dog knows what to expect. Every dog (pet) can be different and you will recognize and learn to know the best for your pet and create a plan of action that works best for you too. Then, things can become more predictable and enjoyable, just as we have created for our dogs making sure they eliminate, get fresh air and exercise (on somewhat of a consistent schedule). Along with all I have shared here, as it’s been so rewarding to have their companionship and their love, as they enjoy camping and RV-life with us and we love their cuddling, snuggling and sleeping in our bed with us in the RV!!! 😃
RVing with your dog (pet) may seem like a hassle, but it’s worth having them around and many of us have support animals and need them. Most dogs are fairly adventurous and enjoy experiencing new things with their owners. Learn the hazards where you are going. Learning the how and what’s in being prepared. This will help make things less anxious during travel. Do research and thoughtful considerations, plan out your trips and lifestyle that both you and your dog (pet) will enjoy together.
Thanks again for taking the time to read this post and safe and smart travels to all !! As always, any questions about anything mentioned here or about having your pets with you in your travels. Let me know.
C .Star. V