19 RV Hacks For Dogs

There are many great reasons for RVing with your dog. Some people argue that dogs should be left out of the RV lifestyle, but if you’ve ever seen a happy pup at a campsite, then you know there is no such thing as an unhappy camper! 

Bringing your dog with you in the RV can add a lot of stress onto the trip. Here are some tips and hacks to make your next trip more enjoyable for you and your pup.

Built-in Dog Kennel

Having a dog kennel in an RV is a game changer! It gives your four legged companion a safe space to be when driving, sleeping or left alone in the RV. Dogs love having their own safe space to retreat to and it gives you peace of mind that they are not destroying everything in the RV when you leave them alone for a couple of hours.

It’s safer for them to be in a kennel whilst driving, as it acts as their seatbelt which can save their life and yours if you get in an accident.

This article will show you how to build a kennel under your RV bed, this way it doesn’t take up extra floor space and you can sleep next to your pooch.

Doggie Seat Belts

If you can’t fit a dog crate into your RV for safe journeys then you can always use a doggie seatbelt which will make everyone safer.

It is a common misconception that dogs do not need to wear seat belts in the backseat. It’s important to protect your dog in the event of an accident. Seat belts offer us protection in the event of a collision and dogs should be afforded the same guarantees.

I also feel safer knowing that my dog is buckled in when he has his head out of the window, I know he can’t jump out of the RV then.

This VavoPaw Dog Vehicle Safety Vest Harness is great value and will fit most dogs and vehicles, so you don’t need to worry about your dogs safety whilst on the road.

Portable Dog Pen

When RVing it’s guaranteed that you’ll be spending a good amount of time outside, if you are then a portable dog pen is great for keeping your dog contained.

A portable dog pen will allow your dog to roam around freely without having to be leashed, meaning they can go to the toilet and get exercise outside without you having to worry about them. The pen will stop them from running off after that pesky squirrel or from going under your RV.

Just make sure that you get a pen big enough for your dog. Here is an article with more details about portable dog pens.

Tether and Anchor

If your dog is like mine and is very energetic and a portable pen won’t keep them contained then another option is a tether and anchor. The anchor corkscrews into the ground and then attaches the long leash to your dog’s harness. 

This method will give your dog plenty of room to explore and join in with the outside activities but he won’t be able to run away chasing after the wildlife. This article has more details about the anchor and tether.

Create a Reinforced Internal Walkway

Sometimes the weather doesn’t allow for you to be outside all the time and when you are stuck inside the RV for a while your dog is going to get the zoomies at some point. They will release all their pent up energy running as fast as the can up and down the RVs internal walkway.

Adding some reinforcement to the walkway area will help to keep it looking better for longer. Some rugs or flooring mats will do the trick and stop the area from looking run down. You can take this flooring to your outside area when you’re outdoors so it’s a win win.


Have Plenty Of Treats and Chews

Giving your dog a big chew treat when travelling will help to reduce their anxiety and give their mind something else to focus on. It also helps if they are left alone so they have something to concentrate on, rather than wreck the RV.

Avoid Doggy Boredom

Dogs are naughty when they are bored (mine is anyway) they can become destructive. To avoid this make sure that they have chews like mentioned above and you have plenty of games to play with them.

The more entertained they are the less likely they are to run away or chew your furniture.

Stick To A Routine

Dogs are creatures of habit and if travelling wasn’t stressful enough having a different routine everyday will tip them over the edge. Try to keep your routine as normal as possible to keep their stress down. 

If you walk them every morning at home, go for a walk every morning whilst you’re away. Try to plan your travelling time to sync up with their routine.

Feed At The Same Time Every Day

Like keeping a same routine with walks and toilet breaks make sure that your pup gets fed at the same time every day. This will also help to settle them and it also helps to keep all other routines on track like potty breaks etc.

Pack For Your Dog

Just like you, your dog will need their own things to take on holiday. Make sure that you add your dogs needs to your own packing list, at the bare minimum you’ll have to bring:

  • Leash 
  • Collar
  • Bed
  • Food bowls
  • Poop bags
  • Toys
  • Treats and chews
  • Any Medication

Non Slip Food Bowls

You will need to bring food and water bowls for your dog, having them built in to the RV is ideal but for most of us that’s a luxury we don’t have. The second best is non slip food bowls, this stops them from sliding around the RV when you forget to put them away which will happen at some point.

It also stops them from moving around when stationary and becoming a slipping hazard.

Carefully Plan Your Route 

The most stressful part of RVing for your dog is the traveling part, so plan your RV journey carefully. Make sure that you choose the smoothest, quickest route and plan plenty of stops for food, toilet and exercise.

Try to keep to the highway and not veering around mountainous roads where possible.

Try to cut your travelling time down in the day by stopping at a boondocking spot or RV park on the way to your destination. This will help settle your dog and give them a break from being jostled around by the RV.

Plan For Potty Breaks

All the bouncing around from being on the road is not good for your bladder or your dogs, make sure that lots of potty breaks are planned into your trip. This helps everyone stretch their legs and prevent any accidents.

Be Prepared For All Weathers

Weather conditions are felt twice as hard in an RV, whether it’s rain hail or wind it all sounds so much worse from inside an RV. If your dog is scared of thunderstorms, make sure to keep an eye on the forecast and don’t leave them alone in a storm.

Keep an eye on the temperature too, especially the heat. We all know how hard it is to regulate the temperature in an RV, so make sure that you keep it cool enough for your dog.

Dogs can’t sweat to regulate their body temperature like humans so it’s important to keep the RV at a cooler temperature for them. A spray bottle filled with water will work well to keep them cool.

Keep the AC on in the RV and never leave them unattended in the RV during a hot day.

Use Pet Sitters If Needed

Most towns in the US have plenty of pet sitters, so if you have an emergency or want to enjoy a dog free day sightseeing make use of them. 

You can sign up for free to national pet sitting websites like Rover.com or PetSitter.com so they can match you up with your closest sitter when you are away. This will let you enjoy your adventures or attend to an emergency without worrying about your dog.

Find Your Local Vets

Make a note of the local vets wherever you are staying, it’s always best to know exactly where the nearest vets is and their phone number incase of any emergencies or accidents.

If you didn’t see a vets on the way to the campsite you will easily find the closest one with a quick search on your phone. Jot the address and phone number down and keep it somewhere you will easily have access to in case you need it.

Have Your Vet Info

If the worst does happen and you need to make an emergency trip to the vets make sure that you have your pets vet info to hand. You don’t need any original copies; a photograph or copy is fine.

This will save urgent time and help your vet to treat your dog quicker if anything happens. Your family vet should be able to provide you copies for your trip if you ask them.


Know What Wild Animals Are In The Area

When you’re RVing with your dog you will be spending a lot of time outside, whether thats on hikes or just grilling up a storm. You should be aware of what potential wild animals are in the area like coyotes, wolves, bears etc. If you have a small dog then you should be aware of any large birds of prey like eagles as they have been known to prey on small dogs and cats.

If there are wild animals in the area then you will have to be vigilant and keep your dog restrained either by leash or in a pen. Especially when you are going for a potty break at night, use a flashlight to deter the wildlife.

Small wildlife like squirrels and rabbits may be like a rag to the bull when it comes to your dog. If that is the case then use an anchor and tether or pen to stop them from chasing everything they see.

Remember Your Neighbors 

One of the best things about RVing is the people you meet, it’s a friendly community because there is the unwritten rule of being a good neighbor. 

Keep your dogs barking to a minimum and follow the campsite rules, keep your dog on a leash and never leave dog poop lying around.

Start Small

If you are new to RVing with your dog then start small, going for a ‘test’ run to a campsite that’s close to home for a couple of nights is a great way to get you and your dog accustomed to the RV life.

It will help you know what is essential to bring and what not to bring. You will also know if your dog has a good time or if they are so anxious it’s probably not a good idea. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

Final Thoughts

RVing with your best friend is an amazing adventure and this list of RV hacks for dogs will get you off to a great start. Now go and make some memories with your awesome pooch.

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