What Not to Do When RV’ing with Dogs

If you are a dog owner, you likely consider your pets to be part of the family. Of course, when you set out on an RV vacation, you want to be able to take them with you for the experience. And, in fact, that is one of the best advantages of owning an RV – you can take your dogs with you without having to worry about finding a ‘pet-friendly’ hotel or some other accommodation.

what-not-to-do-when-rving-with-dogsWhile it is great fun to travel with your dogs, there are some things you need to avoid doing in order to make sure everyone has a fun trip from start to finish. Take note of the following points and you should be able to look forward to a fun and memorable vacation for all involved.

Don’t Let the Dogs Roam Free in Transit

You might think that you can just let your dog walk around the motorhome while you are driving to your campsite, but that would be a bad idea. Not only are you putting your pets at risk when you let them roam around, but you could also be creating a dangerous situation for yourself (and everyone else on the road) if your dog comes up into the driver’s area while you are on the freeway.

Instead, make sure your dogs have a place in the RV where they can be secured during the trip. They will likely be more comfortable this way anyway, and they may just nod off to sleep until you reach your destination. The sofa in an motorhome is often a good place to secure them, but you can look for a solution that works for your needs based on the size of your dogs.

Don’t Forget a Pet Gate

The nature of RV travel is coming and going from indoors to outdoors on a regular basis. You likely travel in an RV because you love being outside, so the door to your RV is going to be opened and closed frequently. With that in mind, it is a good idea to use a pet gate to keep your dogs contained while you come and go. You can use the gate to keep them in the back of the RV, for example, so they aren’t able to slip out the door while you are packing/unpacking.

Don’t Drive All Day Without a Break

Just like humans, dogs should get out of the RV from time to time during a long day of travel. Make it a point to stop at least once every couple hours during a long road tip to let the dogs run around for a minute (and go potty, of course). There are usually rest areas along the freeway with specifically designated areas for pets to stretch their legs.

Don’t Take A/C for Granted

Even if your RV has air conditioning, don’t take it for granted that you will be able to keep your dogs cool enough on a hot summer day. If the grid is overloaded at a campground (from everyone running their air units at once), you could lose power and your dogs could suddenly be stuck in a hot rig (if you are away). Be careful and always error on the side of caution to make sure your pets are safe throughout the trip.

Don’t Assume Everyone Loves Dogs

This last tip is out of consideration for your neighbors in the campground. Even if a campground is dog friendly, and even if you love your dogs and know they are harmless, you shouldn’t assume that everyone around you feels the same way you do about pets. Some people are afraid of dogs, and others simply don’t like them. Whatever the case, show consideration for those around you and keep your pets under control at all times.


  • Be sure to put a sign in your window that your “family” member is inside. We purchased a book long ago that even suggested giving the RV park a note as to where you are going if leaving the pet in the RV. What really made us AWARE was an incident that occurred with friends. They were traveling and both were killed in an accident. What if you didn’t return? How could the RV park help? We created a letter giving the RV park “in case of emergency” instructions which included both of our daughter’s contact information. AND, we would always notify our daughters of the name of the RV Park where we were staying. We got to thinking: nearly everywhere we go, we are both in the vehicle. BTW, not only letter to RV park but also carry one in my purse. Better safe than sorry.

    • Wow, I never thought about doing that. I will start doing all the good idea’s for my 2 large dogs. Use to have 4 n it was pretty easy when we started using a fence,put around campsite n they aren’t tied up ,getting tangled up. !!!!
      We have fence sections we p u to up around whole site

  • Ya know the last tip in the comments about emergency contact info & pet inside notice is a good one and maybe for those of you who own/manage camping parks you should include that info on your sign in stuff. Great idea!

  • And, PLEASE, pick up after your dog. I always walk my pups carrying a roll of ‘doggie poop’ bags. It irritate me to no end to see a large pile of dog poop right under the sign that asks you to pick up after your dog. Be kind to your fellow RVers and pick up after your pooch; even in place not marked. It is just the nice thing to do.

  • Forgot to mention that dogs are NOT public property so, regardless of whether you think a dog is friendly or not, you should NOT approach/pet/distract a dog unless specifically invited by the guardian ….

    • I love dogs! In have a seasonal site in a Campground which I pay $5500.00 a season, plus utilities. I bothers me when people walk their dogs and let them poop on my lot! It is stoned! The poop get stuck in the stones, therefor it smells and draws flies! I have a sign in my Gardens saying no poop zone! Some people need camping edicate!

  • My traveling buddy has a large pet bed that fits between the driver and passenger seat in my
    class c. He has been good at staying there and since he is close to my radio speakers I seldom
    put the radio on.

  • What does everyone do as far as when camping season is hot and you take an excursion away from your rig but leave your fur babies at the trailer with the A/C going … have you thought about what would happen if the power goes out or you trip the breaker for one reason or another and there is no more cool air? Thoughts??

    • At most state parks, their rules say not leave pets unattended. It is not right to leave them alone, many bark the whole time your gone, making it very un-enjoyable for those around your rig.

      • Jennifred: Can you please give an example of a product listed on Amazon. I must be looking in the wrong place on Amazon. Thanks.

    • I have 3 small dog crate fans that run on D batteries that I turn on facing the couch where they sit. Plus leave some high windows open and vents open.

    • I have a Ford diesel excursion (The Beast) so I just take them with me and leave them in the Beast with the air on. That way I can check on them and there’s no rush to get back to walk them.

    • My ?? Also. I usually leave a fan going but, I don’t know if there is a good answer except to not leave them. Then you can’t go anywhere unless u have a sitter.

    • There are monitoring systems you can buy with apps that will let you know if there is a change in temperature, loss of power, etc. Some have monthly monitoring fees like a security company. I was planning on making this investment for the safety of my pup (and peace of mind for myself). However, our new RV has an In Command monitoring system built in, which includes an app for my cell phone and I can monitor the temp from anywhere in the world. Well worth it for me!!

  • You can add your emergency contacts and special instructions and medical information such as allergy to nova Caine. Just label you information under the title ICE , ( in case of an emergency )…police and EMTs check your cell phone for a ICE HEADINGS in the I column..

  • We’re full time RVers and we also make a copy of the RV park map designating our site number on it along with a picture and names of our two dogs and our I.C.E. information and carry it in our car.

  • Wish everyone would pay more attention to the last tip! As a runner I encounter many dogs and they all are”friendly and will not hurt you”. I can’t tell you how many times these friendly dogs wanted ro attact me. I am (1) afraid of dogs (2)allergic to them and (3)don’ want to have anything to do with your dog. Most RV parks have a degisnated dog walk for dogs to poop, but it seems most rather take them to neighbors site. I pay the rent on my site and don’t want to have to walk where dogs have poop or urinated .

  • I bought a pack of 20 metal edged paper tags, with metal hang rings, at the Dollar Store. When I arrive at a new campground, I write the name of the park and my space number on the tag and attach it on my Zuma’s collar. If, God forbid, he should somehow wander away, it’d be easy for folks to bring him “home”!