Everyone can use a few tips for RVing with pets! Whether you’re renting a pet friendly motorhome, opting for an adventure van, or considering purchasing an RV of your own, it’s a great way to make traveling with your furry family members easier.

And, rest assured, you won’t be alone. By most estimates, over half of RV owners bring a pet along!

Small dog with his head sticking out the window of a motorhome

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The Benefits of RVing With Pets

There’s nothing better for pet friendly trips than a vehicle that provides all the comforts of home, but comes on wheels.

One of the primary benefits of RV travel is that your pets can enjoy the great outdoors all day and always sleep in the same space at night. Providing that consistency helps pets get comfortable with their new environment. It’s also easier to develop and stick to a routine. With a bit of patience, most pets quickly accept the RV as another “home.”

Of course, there’s also the advantage of large storage compartments for stowing all your pet’s necessities! And don’t forget the added conveniences – like outdoor showers – to keep pet messes to a minimum.

But traveling by RV can also present some unique challenges in caring for your pets. After years of traveling full-time with our dogs in a motorhome, we’ve picked up a few tricks to keep pets safe and happy along the way.

Introducing Pets to Traveling In An RV

When you introduce your pet to the RV, start slow and use a lot of treats. Some pets might be unsure of this new contraption, so encourage them to sniff around the outside using treats to build their confidence. Then put a few treats on the stairs, open the door, and toss some treats inside.

Practice this for a couple of days, and don’t force your dog to anything that makes her uncomfortable. As she warms up to the RV, you can feed her breakfast and dinner near it, then inside when she’s ready. It’s a brand new thing that she’s never seen before and it’s your job to teach her that it’s fun! It may take a bit of convincing … but I find bacon works every time.

READ MORE ⇒  Introducing Your Cat to RV Travel

Tips for RVing with Pets

Pack The Right Gear

Before your trip, spend a week making a list of all the things you use to care for your pets. Whenever something new comes up, add it to your list. When it’s time to go, grab the list and pack all those items for your trip. (This handy pet packing list will help ensure you don’t forget anything important.)

During your trip, add items to the list that you wish you’d have brought, and cross off things you packed but didn’t need. Your revised list will make packing for your next trip a lot easier!

Be sure to pack your pet’s veterinary records in case he gets injured or sick while you’re traveling, his vaccination certificate, and a picture of him in case he gets lost.

Packing the right gear for your pets is important for any pet friendly road trip.

Plan A Perfect Itinerary

Planning your trip should be part of the fun! But finding pet friendly places to go and things to do can be frustrating. Begin your search at GoPetFriendly.com where you can peruse more than 200 pet friendly destination guides for inspiration.

Once you’ve decided on a location, view pet friendly RV parks and campgrounds, restaurants, hotels, and attractions in the area. Focusing your research on pet friendly options helps avoid the disappointment you’ll feel when choosing places only to discover pets aren’t welcome. With more than 65,000 listings on GoPetFriendly, you’re sure to find plenty that you can do together!

Always Buckle Up

Your RV will feel like a home, so holding your cat on your lap, or letting your pup roam around while you’re driving may seem natural. It’s actually very dangerous … for you, your pet, and everyone else on the road.

RVs can weigh more than 30,000 pounds, and driving a vehicle that large requires your full attention. Pets should always ride in the same vehicle as you – not inside a camper you’re towing – and be buckled up in a crash-tested seat belt harness or a carrier that’s been secured in place.

This protects your pets from being injured in an accident. It also keeps them from distracting the driver and causing a crash.

We use the lap belts in our sofas to buckle Ty and Buster up anytime the motorhome is in motion. They see it as part of our standard operating procedure and settle in for a nap while we chauffeur them to our next destination.

Buster in Sleepypod Harness

Ty in Sleepypod Click-It Harness | GoPetFriendly.com

Come Home Together

Another reason to use seat belt harnesses or secured carriers for your pets is to keep them from getting lost. We once saw an RV owner clip the concrete barrier beside the fuel pump at a gas station with his brand new rig. He jumped out to assess the damage, and when he opened the door to get back in, his terrified cat bolted out!

Luckily, he managed to catch her in midair. But without sharp reflexes, that little bump could have turned into a disaster.

READ MORE ⇒  Renting An RV Allowed Four Rescue Dogs To Go On Their First Family Vacation

Using a folding barrier is another great way to keep your pets from making an unexpected departure from your RV. Placing a pet gate between the living space and door of your RV allows you to come an go without tripping over paws and keeps your pets from scooting out.

Traveling cats and dogs should also have up-to-date ID tags on their collars. As an additional precaution, verify that the service where your pet’s microchip is registered has your current contact information.

Sniff the Roses

We know how tempting it is to put the RV in drive and just keep rolling! But making time for potty breaks and walks in the park is one of the advantages of traveling with pets!

Stopping to sniff the roses or mosey down a trail to break up the drive, and it’s good for us all to take a break. Plan a picnic or choose a little town to explore along your route, and it won’t feel like you’ve spent the whole day behind the wheel.

Our pet friendly trip planner allows you to map your route and make sure you don’t miss any gems along the way!

Find a nice picnic spot along your route and it won't feel like you've spent the whole day behind the wheel.

Be Weather Aware

For as homey as RVs can be, when it comes to weather extremes, you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. Always watch the forecast and keep an eye out for storms, high winds, or dangerous temperatures.

When you arrive at your RV parks and campgrounds, locate the storm shelters, and always take your pets with you in an emergency situation.

If you’re traveling when heat could be an issue, some additional precautions are required. You should never place 100% confidence in your RV’s air conditioning system.

From mechanical failures, to power surges or outages at your campground, to another camper inadvertently cutting the power to your unit, there are many ways your air conditioner can fail. When you leave your pets unattended – even if it’s only long enough to pick up a few groceries – have a back-up plan in place to protect them.

Many RVs have generators that can be set to start automatically if the power supply is interrupted and the interior thermostat reaches a predetermined temperature. This allows the air conditioner to run even when there’s no electricity to your RV. If your RV generator doesn’t have an auto-starter, one can be installed any time.

You can also set up a wireless temperature monitoring device. This allows you to remotely check the temperature inside your RV so you’re sure your pets are always comfortable while you’re away.

READ MORE ⇒  The Best Remote Pet Temperature Monitors 

Happy young woman sitting with her black dog in the doorway of a camper van

Make Your Dog Comfortable in the RV

Though space is at a premium in your RV, set aside an out-of-the-way area for your pet to relax. Beneath the dinette or on a sofa is a nice spot for your pet to watch the activities in the RV without being under foot.

If you’re RVing with pets who have mobility issues, also consider that steep RV steps can be difficult to navigate. A collapsable ramp makes a world of difference!

READ MORE ⇒ Choosing An RV Dog Ramp

Be a Considerate Neighbor

More and more places are adopting pet friendly policies and welcoming pet travelers. But we all need to keep in mind that bringing our pets along is a privilege. Bad behavior by one pet owner can affect us all!

Be sure that you’re a good representative of the pet travel community. Keep barking to a minimum, obey leash laws and pet guidelines, and always, always, always pick up after your pets.

Park City, Utah

That’s How We Roll

The most important part of RVing with your pets is to have fun! The whole point of a vacation is to kick back and relax with your best friends. Staying relaxed will help you and your pets enjoy your RV trip to the fullest.

We hope these tips for RVing with pets makes your next adventure even more enjoyable for the whole family!

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  • I can’t get my dog into my class A. I’ve tried everything but forcing him in. He’s 80lbs. We had no problem with our class C so we got caught off guard. Help

    • Hi Glenn! I’m sorry you’re having trouble getting your pup into your new rig. The first thing to consider is what’s causing your dog’s hesitation. Is there some physical reason he doesn’t want to go up the step? If so, you might consider a dog ramp (there’s another post about that). The second reason he might not want to go up the stairs is that it’s different and he’s scared. My advice is to break out his favorite reward … bacon, a special toy, a t-bone … whatever it takes to allow him to overcome his fear. Place decent-sized pieces on the steps and a “jackpot” at the top of the steps. Once he does the stairs on his own a couple of times, reduce the size of the rewards a bit until he’s comfortable navigating in and out on his own. I hope that helps. Good luck!

  • Category: Travel Tips / Tagged with: Health and Safety, RVing With Pets