Tips for Traveling With Dogs

You don’t have to leave your dog at home when you travel by RV.

Whether you’re living in a recreational vehicle full-time or part-time, or taking a short vacation, traveling with dogs can make your adventures even more enjoyable.

Traveling with your dog can be rewarding for you and the dog but the key to a successful camping trip or any mode of vacation travel is advanced planning and preparation, common sense, and sometimes a dose of creativity. Only friendly, non-aggressive dogs should be brought to campgrounds.

Adequate exercise is essential when traveling with pets. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adequate exercise is essential when traveling with dogs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVing with dogs is much the same as living with them at home, with a few notable adjustments. When training your dogs for RV travel you’re also training yourself. You must change your time schedule to accommodate your dogs and be available to take them out for a potty break even when you have to be up earlier than normal in the morning.

You will need to stop for bathroom breaks as often as you would let them out at home, so don’t expect to cruise down the highway for hours and hours; make sure to plan adequate pit stops along the way.

Most dogs feel comfortable when they have a routine. Although life on the road can be unpredictable, you can create a sense of stability by feeding your dogs and scheduling potty breaks on a regular and consistent schedule. Bringing along their dog bed and favorite toys can also make the RV feel more like home.

Adequate exercise is essential when traveling with dogs. Not only does exercise keep them healthy, it prevents bad behavior stemming from boredom or anxiety. Plan for at least an hour pit stop for each day of driving so that your dog can let out some energy.

It's dress-up day for your family dog. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s dress-up day for your family dog. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be aware of the habits of your dog. Dogs are barkers. They will rip the screen off your door if you leave them and will literally tear your RV apart trying to get out. This is normally known as anxiety separation. Every animal is different and requires different training.

Puppy training is a whole different ball game; housebreaking is the same in an RV as at home.

To get them used to your RV, start by camping locally. When camping with a pet for the first time, plan a shorter trip so the animal can get used to being away from home. That way, the trip can be ended early if needed.

When packing for pets, it’s important to remember food and water dishes, an extra collar and leash, licenses, medical records, medicines or supplements, brushes, tie outs, shampoo, and something familiar from home like a toy or blanket. If a dog is comfortable sleeping in a crate at home, that should be brought along too. Consider giving your pets bottled water for continued consistency.

Carry a photo of your dog. You’ll be glad you did if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of making, photocopying, and posting “lost dog” notices.

Some RV parks and resorts organize a pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some RV parks and resorts organize a pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When sitting around at your camp site, tie your dog to a leash. When you’re away from the RV leave the shades and blinds down. They should quickly learn to accept this as most dogs are quick learners.

There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to where and how to secure your dog while your RV is in motion. For some dogs, being secured in a kennel is most calming, while others feel most at ease being buckled in a harness out of their carrier; you’ll want to test out what works best for your dog. The important thing is that your dog is secured in some way to protect them in the event of an accident, and to prevent them from distracting the driver.

The most important thing to remember is they are your pets and you must make some changes to your RVing lifestyle to ensure their comfort.

If you plan ahead and are prepared, camping can be a rewarding, memorable experience for both owners and pets.

If you travel with pets, pet first aid manuals are also available. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you travel with dogs, pet first aid manuals are available. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.
―Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

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