Whether you’re renting a pet friendly motorhome, opting for an adventure van, or purchasing an RV of your own, these tips for RVing with pets will help make your travels a success!

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

RVing is 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!

The Benefits Of RVing With Pets

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

One of the biggest 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 in new environments. 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.

READ MORE ⇒ Making A Zip Line For Your Dog

Brindle dog sitting in a campground on a zip line

Introducing Pets To Your RV

When you introduce your pet to the RV, start slow and use a lot of treats. Remember, it’s a brand new thing for them, and it’s your job to teach them that the RV is fun! It could take a bit of convincing … but I find bacon works every time.

For pets who seem unsure about this new contraption, build their confidence by encouraging them to sniff around the outside first. Provide a few treats if they seem reluctant.

When they seem ready, put a few treats on the stairs, open the door, and toss some treats inside. Practice this for a couple of days, giving your pet plenty of time to comfortable. As she warms up to the RV, you can start feeding her meals in it.

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

READ MORE ⇒ Tips For Choosing & Using An RV Dog Ramp


Preparing To RV With Pets

While you’re acclimating your pets to the RV, there are some things you can do to prepare for your first trip.

Packing The Right Gear

Making sure you pack everything your pet will need while you’re traveling is important. About a week before you leave, start a list of everything you use to care for your pets, as well as the items that they enjoy. When something new comes up, quickly jot it on your list.

Packing for your pets will be easy with your list in hand. This handy pet packing list will also help ensure you don’t forget anything important. Be sure to pack your pet’s vaccination certificate, and his veterinary records in case he gets injured or sick while you’re traveling.

During your trip, keep your list handy and add items that you wish you’d brought. Also keep track of things you packed but didn’t need. Your revised list will make packing for your next trip even easier!

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

Planning A Perfect Itinerary For RVing With Pets

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 300 pet friendly destination guides for inspiration.

Once you’ve decided on a location, view the pet friendly RV parks and campgrounds, restaurants, hotels, and attractions in the area. Limiting your research to only pet friendly options helps avoid the disappointment you’ll feel when discovering the places you hoped to visit don’t allow pets. With more than 65,000 listings on GoPetFriendly, you’re sure to find plenty you can explore together!

READ MORE ⇒ The Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip

The Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip

Staying Safe When RVing With Pets

Anytime you travel together, the most important consideration is keeping your pets safe. And when you’re RVing with pets, there are a few simple things you can do to guard against potential hazards.

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 might seem natural. But it’s actually very dangerous … for you, your pet, and everyone else on the road.

RVs can weigh more than 30,000 pounds — more than 7 times the average car. 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 pet 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 used the lap belts in our sofas of our motorhome to buckle Ty and Buster up while we were driving. They considered it as part of our standard operating procedure and settled in for naps while we chauffeured them to our next destination.

READ MORE ⇒ Best Crash-Tested Dog Harnesses For Traveling By Car

Buster in Sleepypod Harness
Ty in Sleepypod Click-It Harness | GoPetFriendly.com

Make Sure You 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 watched as a new RV owner clipped the concrete barrier beside the fuel pump at a gas station. He jumped out to assess the damage, and when he opened the door to get back in, his terrified cat bolted!

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

For more peace of mind you might even consider getting a GPS tracker for your pets.

READ MORE ⇒ What Are The Best GPS Dog Trackers For Your Pet?

A dog is wearing a Tractive GPS dog tracker on its collar in a field of grass

Another idea to keep your pets from making an unexpected departure from your RV is to place a pet gate between the living space and RV door. This allows you to come an go without tripping over paws and keeps your pets from scooting out before you have them leashed up and ready to go.

Orange stripe cat in a red harness lounging against a parking barrier

Finally, it’s important for all traveling cats and dogs to 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 contact information where you can be reached while you’re traveling.

READ MORE ⇒ Best ID Tags For Traveling Pets

ID Tags for Pet Who Travel from the Pet Travel Experts at GoPetFriendly.com

Be Weather Aware

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

If you see that threatening weather could be in your area, locate the storm shelters in the RV park or campground. And always take your pets with you in an emergency situation.

Caucasian red-haired woman in a straw hat and striped sweater walks with a small dog in front of a mobile home. Travel in a camper van with your pet.

If you’re traveling where excessive 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 RV, 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 – it’s important to 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 this auto-start feature, one can be installed any time.


Another option is to set up a wireless temperature monitoring device. This allows you to receive text and email notifications if the temperature inside your RV reaches a predetermined level. You can also remotely check the temperature inside your RV while you’re away, so you’re always sure your pets are comfortable.

READ MORE ⇒ The Best Remote Pet Temperature Monitors 

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

Give Your Pets Their Space

Though space is always at a premium in an RV, it’s important to set aside an out-of-the-way area for your pets to relax. Beneath the dinette or on a sofa is a nice spot for your pets to watch the activities without being under foot. Providing a cozy corner for your pets could keep you both from being injured!

Brindle puppy laying on a cushion in a motorhome

The Joys Of RVing With Pets

It’s tempting to put the RV in gear and just keep rolling! But making time for potty breaks and walks in the park is one of the advantages of RVing with pets!

Stopping to sniff the roses or mosey down a trail is a great way to break up a drive. And it’s good for us all to get out and stretch. Plan a picnic or choose a little town to explore along your route, and when you arrive at your destination it won’t feel like you’ve spent the whole day behind the wheel.

Another wonderful thing about RVing with pets is meeting your neighbors. With so many pets in RVs, you’re sure to connect with some fantastic people and perhaps make some life-long friends.

READ MORE ⇒ Introducing Your Cat to RV Travel

Rosie the cat outdoors on a leash as she acclimates to RV travel

Be A Good Ambassador

As more and more places adopt pet friendly policies, 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!

Take care to be a good representative of the pet travel community by keeping barking to a minimum, obeying leash laws and pet guidelines, and always, always, always picking up after your pets.

RVing with pets is all about having fun! The whole point of a vacation is to kick back and relax with your best friends. We hope these tips make your next adventure even more enjoyable for the whole family!

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  • A few years ago my family of five adults, two dogs and a guinea pig rented an RV to travel and it was the best trip I had. We were all together. The pets seemed comfortable and enjoyed the ride and outdoors.

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