RVing with Dogs: 14 Travel Tips + 22-Point Gear Checklist


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The idea of bringing your furry friend (or friends) on an RV trip may sound like a dream come true, and it can be– if you plan accordingly.

To travel on the open road, enjoying freedom and adventure, with your dogs in the metaphorical– or literal– passenger seat is an experience of a lifetime. 

However, without proper preparation it can also turn into a nightmare.

If not properly introduced, they may not enjoy their time on their new rig, causing all kinds of issues.

Without the right supplies and gear you might not be able to adequately provide for their needs.

And without knowing what to expect in advance before you set out, you won’t be able to make the most of your time together, ensuring they’re safe and well taken care of throughout the trip. 

That’s exactly what this guide sets out to help with. Below, we’ll take you through tips for RVing with dogs at every stage of your trip, including:

  1. Finding the perfect RV for your companion
  2. Introducing them to your RV
  3. Tips for the trip itself
  4. And an RVing with dogs gear checklist

Let’s start with some tips for finding the right RV for your dog if you’re still in the shopping process (if not, feel free to jump to the next section). 

Finding the Perfect RV for Your Dog


These first two sections will be all about preparing for your trip. And that starts even before you buy your RV.

Here are some things to look for in the RV you choose to ensure it’s well suited for traveling with your furry ones:

1. Easy access

Some RVs offer easy, low-to-the-ground access that’s perfect for pets. Others have higher steps or entryways that would be inconvenient (or impossible) for dogs.

Make sure that the RV you choose makes it easy for your dog to get in and out on their own. 

2. Temperature control

AC isn’t just nice for you, it’s vital to keep your dogs safe and cool. 

Sometimes, you need to leave them in your RV alone, whether it’s taking care of laundry or stocking up at the store. 

In those cases, it can become dangerously hot in an RV on a Summer day, so hot it can be fatal. 

Make sure your RV will have ample AC and a power system that ensures that the AC stays on even when the power goes out. 

In addition to this, consider getting a temperature monitor. They allow you to keep an eye on the internal temperature of your RV remotely any time you need to step away.

3. Vinyl or laminate flooring

Carpet flooring is common in RVs. However, it’s a recipe for disaster when traveling with a dog. 

Instead, you’ll want to make sure that the RV has either vinyl or laminate flooring. This will allow you to more easily clean up any messes and help keep your rig looking clean long-term. 

4. Space for dog beds

There are some things that most RVs just aren’t made with in mind, and that’s pets. 

One thing to look for is that the rig has enough space for your dog bed(s) somewhere, if your dogs are on the larger side or simply used to sleeping in their own bed.

If they prefer to sleep specifically in your bedroom on the floor, make sure that your rig’s bedroom area has space for their bed.

Introducing Your Dog to the RV


Next, let’s talk about the next step.

You’ve purchased your new RV and it’s time to prepare for your trip.

The most important thing to do in terms of preparing your pet is to introduce them to your RV so that they’re accustomed to it long before you set out.

Here are some tips for doing that and preparing for your tip:

1. Take them on short, fun trips

One thing you can do to acclimate them to your new RV is to actually take them for a spin. 

Even if that’s just a few short drives through the nearby neighborhood, this will help them begin to correspond the RV with something fun and exciting that they enjoy doing.

2. Hang out in the RV with them 


Another thing you can do is simply jump in the RV with them occasionally during leisure time or for other activities. 

Whether you lounge around in bed watching something, read on the couch, or make dinner, get them accustomed to hanging out in your RV and seeing it as normal.

3. Get them a quick checkup at the vet

RV travel can be fun but also demanding for a dog. They’ll typically be at least as, if not more, active than they were at home.

You also could be on the road for extended periods without easy access to a vet. For that reason, it’s important to take them to their vet before setting out just to make sure they’re healthy and good to travel.

Prepare to Set Out: RVing with Dogs 22-Point Gear Checklist


Lastly, let’s cover some dog gear that you shouldn’t– or may not want to, depending on the piece of gear– do without on your trip.

Here’s a checklist to run through before setting out:


  • Water bowl
  • Pet food and treats
  • Toys
  • ID tags
  • Leash and safety harness

Weather-based optionals:

  • Pet-friendly bug repellant
  • Dog booties for winter weather
  • Life vest if you plan on letting them get in the water


  • Temperature monitor for checking the heat during Summer days
  • Any necessary medications
  • First aid kit
  • Hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds


  • Cleaning sprays
  • Wipes
  • Extra towels for cleaning them and heavier messes wipes can’t handle
  • Grooming supplies
  • Poop bags
  • Scooper


  • Tie-out
  • Dog bed
  • Toys
  • Pop-out enclosure (depending on the size of your pup)

7 Travel Tips for RVing with Dogs


Now, let’s get ready to hit the road. 

You’ve found the perfect RV, prepared you and your furry friend for blast off, and have everything you need to set out. 

Here are some travel tips for RVing with your dog(s):

1. Make frequent stops


No one likes staying locked away all day, no matter how nice your RV is, and the same goes for your pets.

Make sure to regularly stop and let them get out to stretch their legs, get fresh air, and sunlight. Each is important for keeping them healthy and happy and will help reduce the chance of their being a… messy accident. 

2. Have them ride with you at all times


If you’re pulling a travel trailer or fifth wheel, it’s important never to leave your doggo in your RV while you’re towing it. 

They should be traveling with you inside your truck or SUV at all times as trailers can become quite hot while traveling. In addition to this, in the extremely rare event that the trailer fills with exhaust it would be fatal. 

3. Observe state leash laws

Every state is different, some require that pups be kept on a leash while others don’t. In addition to this, most campgrounds require dogs to be kept on a leash. 

Make sure to check ahead so that you know when a leash is required based on the state and campground you’re currently at.

4. Keep the AC running if you ever have to leave them in your RV unattended


Dogs can and have passed away due to being left inside RVs reaching high internal heats during hot Summer days.

To combat this, make sure that you have dependable AC, set up a temperature monitor to remotely keep an eye on the temperature, and preferably a backup power source for both.

5. Don’t forget their favorite toys and other comforts


Bringing comforts from home can go a long way towards making your pup feel safe and comfortable while traveling.

That could be: 

  • Their favorite toys
  • Dog bed
  • Blanket

Really anything that makes them feel like they’re still at home will help them acclimate to being on the road and keep them happy (and well-behaved).

6. Give them regular exercise

If you’re into hiking and driving deep into nature, chances are you’ve already got this one covered. 

However, depending on your plans your dogs might not get as much exercise as they’re used to at home, especially if you’re spending a lot of time on the road. 

If that’s the case, make sure to give them lots of opportunities to take long walks and mix in short bursts of high-energy play.

7. Join RVing with dogs groups online


One last tip: join groups online! 

We can’t possibly cover everything here as every pet is different, from their breed to their size, personality, and potential health conditions. 

To help with this, join groups online with experience RVing with dogs where you can post questions if and when something unexpected happens.

They’re a great way to find local recommendations from other travelers, such as vets and pet friendly campgrounds. 

Here are two great Facebook groups to consider joining: 

Ready to set out with your pup?

RVing with your dog is an incredible experience that can leave you with years of memories.

However, it’s important to make sure that you plan accordingly so that your doggos have everything they need to feel comfortable, safe, and happy.

They’ll enjoy the trip as much as you will if you plan properly and get them accustomed to your RV before setting out.

We hope this guide helped you make the most of RVing with your dogs!

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out our disclosure for more information.

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