RV’ing with your Dog: Tips, Ideas and Products to make it Enjoyable

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RV’ing with your dog can be a rewarding experience if you plan and prepare for it. Otherwise it can be stressful and take away from your overall camping enjoyment.

RV'ing with your dog

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Below are tips, ideas and products that can make RV’ing with your dog fun and safe.

First off…Does the campground allow dogs?

If so, will they allow your dog?

What I mean by that is some campgrounds have restrictions on size of the dogs they allow.

Perhaps they only allow small breeds like a Pomeranian, and you have a Great Dane. 

It is best to find this out before hand: before you drive 8 hours.

Apparently who ever created the sign above, doesn’t like Scottish Terriers? Or maybe Airedale Terriers?

Nobody wants to hear your dog bark all day

If you are leaving your RV and going on a day-trip to sight-see, and plan on leaving your dog alone in the RV make sure the dog doesn’t bark his head off all day.

No camping neighbors want to hear that.

(They just got away from their boss barking at them all day!)

Camping with your dog - no excessive barking

Acclimatize the dog to the RV before you travel. Get the dog used to the RV.

You may instantly view it as home away from home, but that doesn’t mean your dog will.

When the RV is still parked in your driveway slowly start spending more time in the RV with your dog.

Have some meals out there. Feed your dog in there.

Stay consistent with your dog’s food.

I learned this the hard way while visiting my father-in-law’s house.

He had a can of wet dog food in the pantry that was for his girlfriend’s dog. He said I could have it, so I gave it my dog.  Big mistake. I spent the next couple hours trying to get puke and poop out of his carpet.

RV'ing with your Dog Tips - Keep food consistent

So if you want to spend your camping trip scrubbing your RV carpet or bedding I suggest you stay consistent with the dog food.


Health of your Dog


If your dog will be socializing with strange dogs then make sure it’s vaccinations are up to date. You don’t want your camping trip shortened because your dog caught an illness.


When you go RV’ing with your dog, make sure you pack your dog’s medications.

Enough for the planned trip, plus extra just in case you have to spend a few more days away from home.

(Unfortunately RV’s do break down sometimes.)

Do you have an old or disabled dog?

My sister’s Golden Retriever has hip problems and isn’t able to climb their steep travel-trailer steps.

So when they go camping with her, they bring plastic steps from their hot tub for the dog to use instead. That way she can safely get in and out of the trailer.

If your dog is old, or has mobility problems then try to plan ahead and determine any special supplies your dog may need.

Shade for your Dog

If your dog will be put outside make sure there is shade available, and water to drink.

You wouldn’t want to be left out in the direct sun all day. Neither will your dog.

You could position its folding exercise pen (see below) under the shade of your awning.  But remember, if you are gone for several hours the position of the shade will change with the passing hours.

Some folks string up tarps between their RV and nearby trees to provide extra shade for their pets.

RV'ing with your dog - make sure to provide shade


Make sure your dog has a dog tag on it’s collar

The fear or excitement of being in new place can cause some dogs to bolt out the RV door, past their owner, and they run off to places unknown chasing smells that we can’t even comprehend.

So make sure you have a dog tag with your cell phone number on it.

And if you are frequently camping, it would be a good idea to include the license plate number of your RV on the dog tag.

That way if you are out of cell service  they can find your RV parked in the campsite, or they can check in with the campground operator.

Pack some Dog Poop Bags

Be a responsible dog owner and clean up after your dog.

You can purchase these leak-proof dog waste bags from your local retailer, or from Amazon.

RV'ing with your dog - dog poop bags
Photo credit: Earth Rated

Folding Exercise Pen

You can purchase a folding exercise pen like the one pictured below. It is quite popular on Amazon.

If you want to get your dog outside, but don’t want to tether it with a leash, check out this option.

As we mentioned above, make sure it’s in the shade. And don’t leave your dog unattended.

RV'ing with your Dog - Folding Exercise Pen

Click here to see details of the portable dog pen on Amazon.

There are different sizes of panels (and heights) that correspond to different dog sizes.

So make sure you buy a size adequate to contain your dog.

Spiral Dog Anchor to tether your dog

I purchased one of these spiral screw anchors for my Jack Russell- cross dog.

You screw it into the dirt and then attached a rope or leash to the metal ring.

Not only is it super useful while camping, but it’s handy when visiting friends that don’t have fenced yards.

RV'ing with your Dog - Spiral Screw Anchor to tether dog
ground screw dog tether (aka spiral dog anchor)

The one thing you have to look out for though, is that if your dog is curious like mine, then they may wrap themselves around trees and create a tangled mess. So choose your tethering spot wisely.

If you want more details on this ground screw tether, click here.

I hope this list has helped you.

Remember to be safe and err on the side of caution. Don’t leave your dog unattended. Even if it is in an air-conditioned RV, what if the A/C broke or battery died or generator runs out of gas. Just be careful.

If you like RV’s then you might like these other posts.

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