Tips for RVing With Dogs


Lindsay McKenzie

Favorite Trip

Our favorite trip was when we first hit the road full-time and drove all the way up the coast of California and into Oregon. Our first 3 months as full-time RVers we drove the entire Pacific Coast Highway and camped at different beautiful beaches along the way. We then drove through the towering redwoods in Redwood National Forest and continued on through Oregon and Idaho on our way to Glacier National Park in Montana. There was so much stunning scenery and adventure around every corner that entire trip.

Home Base

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Favorite RV

We loved our Winnebago Navion 24D. It was nimble so we could park it pretty much anywhere but it still gave us a comfortable living space with the Murphy bed. We drove it all over the country!

About Contributor

Lindsay McKenzie travels full-time in her Winnebago Navion with her husband Dan and their 2 dogs. Originally from Colorado, they have been seeking adventure together for 10 years now and have done a lot of international traveling, including living in Costa Rica. They took the leap into full time RVing after experiencing life-altering news. They viewed the news as a life “detour” and started a travel and inspirational blog called Follow Your Detour. Lindsay has grown more passionate about pursuing her dreams and a leading a fulfilling life, while inspiring others to do the same. She loves that RVing allows her to be in nature and do more of what she loves. You can usually find her on the river fly fishing, hiking to sunset spots, or at a local brewery. (All photos by Lindsay McKenzie, except where noted.)

One of the many benefits of RVing is being able to bring along your furry family members. It can be so rewarding watching your dogs experience new places, sights, and sniffs—they’ll love the adventures just as much as you will! 

RVing with dogs doesn’t have to be stressful either, as long as you are prepared, know what to expect, and have planned a dog-friendly road trip. Here are some tips to make your next trip the best trip:

Plan Ahead

Dog Treat for Sitting Outside RV
Photo: Shutterstock

Research pet-friendly destinations ahead of time. Some campgrounds and RV parks do not allow pets at all, so you’ll want to know this before showing up. It’s also not enough just to verify that they allow dogs, because some have breed and weight restrictions. Check the park’s website or call beforehand to confirm and understand their rules and regulations for pets. It’s also not uncommon for parks to allow pets only on certain sites and/or charge a few extra dollars per day per pet.

Check out the pet-friendly destinations below to plan your next trip:

National Parks

Travelers are often caught by surprise when they discover that many National Parks do not allow dogs on the trails. This is usually to protect the environment of the park and ensure visitors’ safety. Dogs are typically allowed in the park and campgrounds, just not on trails, so you’ll need to plan accordingly when you head out for a hike or bike ride. It’s important to brush up on any national park pet restrictions before visiting to ensure your visit is smooth and easy once you and your furry friends have arrived.

Safety Must-Haves

Having an emergency situation with your dog can ruin your RV adventures, so it’s best to be proactive and do everything you can to avoid these situations. First off, bring a first aid kit for your dog along with their vaccination records and any medications they need, including flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Be mindful of where the nearest vet or animal hospital is from your campsite. Also, ensure that your dog is always wearing their collar with identification tags and that he/she is microchipped. Dogs are good at navigating their way home within their neighborhood, but they’re not always as successful when out in the wilderness.

For short periods of time, it is okay to leave your dog alone in the RV. After all, you can’t bring them everywhere. You could hire a pet sitter to stay with your dog in the RV if you plan to be away for an extended amount of time, just like you would with a house. You may also want to consider hiding a key to your RV somewhere in case an emergency comes up and you are unable to get back to your RV. Someone from the park’s office would then be able to get your pet out of the RV and keep them safe until you can return.

More information regarding pet safety:

Recommended Dog Gear

When it comes to hitting the road or taking the path less traveled with man’s (and woman’s) best friend in tow, while they love a pet-friendly interior update, it’s the extra gear that they really look forward to whether they realize it or not. Check out a few items below that are worth packing before heading out. Doing so will ensure the only thing rough ruff about your trip is your dog’s bark.

Pet Camera

iJoy Spy Wireless Mini Camera
iJoy Spy Wireless Mini Camera

Similar to baby monitors, a pet camera is often equipped with night vision capabilities and can connect to your phone through an app. The convenience and peace of mind that comes with being able to keep an eye on your dog while you’re away from the RV is unmatched. With the iJoy Spy Wireless Mini Camera, you get all the high-tech perks like motion detection, infrared night vision, 360-degree rotation, and more. For those moments when you simply cannot have your dog with you, at least you’ll be able to keep them safe by keeping an eye on them.

Temperature Monitor

pet temperature monitor

This RV Command Remote Monitoring System allows you to remotely check the temperature of your RV and will send you a text/email alert when the temperature exceeds a permissible level. This is important because even if you are hooked up to electricity at your site, it’s not uncommon to experience brief power outages at campgrounds, which may turn your A/C off. Prioritizing your dog’s comfort is just as important, if not more important, when you’re not physically with them as when you are.

Shop all security gear.

Dog Pen

Pet Fence
Pet Fence

It’s always nice to provide your dog with a little freedom and fresh air at the campsite or during an extended stay somewhere. Giving them a small fenced-in area to walk around in and spend time outside without being leashed up keeps them from going “stir crazy” in the RV. A dog pen, or pet fence, is easy to set up and folds flat when not in use for convenient storage. Keeping your pet safe and keeping them happy should always be synonymous. 

Light-Up Collar Accessories

Pet Safety Light
Pet Safety Light

Campgrounds can get extremely dark once the sun goes down, and if your dog happens to wander off, it can be difficult to see them. With light-up collar accessories, like the Glowing Rechargeable LED Pet Collar or the Pet Safety Light, you’re able to follow them wherever they go. Designed to work alongside their regular collar, so there isn’t any switching of security tags or identification tags – simply throw it on at dusk and watch that little light of yours shine.

Shop all collars, leashes, and harnesses.

Portable Water Bowl

collapsible water bowl

Portable water bowls, like the Guardian Gear Handi-Drink, are great for hikes because you can fit them in your backpack and share some of your water with your dog while on the trail. They’re also great to keep in the car for travel days or when your dog gets to tag along with you around town. It’s one of those items you’ll find yourself reaching for over and over again.

Shop all pet bowls and feeders.

Keep Them Busy

Just like humans, dogs can feel a little cooped up after long periods in a small space. To avoid boredom, which can lead to destruction and naughty behavior, ensure you get your dog out of the RV every couple of hours for a walk or run. Stretching of the legs, theirs and yours, is always a good idea. It’s also nice to keep some chew toys or bones on hand to occupy them between stops.

Be Considerate

dog family hike

Keep these general “rules” in mind and you, your neighbors, and your dog will all be happy campers:

  • Keep waste bags on hand at all times so you can pick up after your dog
  • Don’t allow them to bark at people walking by your RV all-day
  • Don’t leave them tied up unattended outside
  • Respect others who may not love your dog as much as you do by keeping them on a leash at all times

We hope you and your four-legged friends enjoy your RV adventures together and use these tips to be prepared and stay safe. You might be surprised how quickly your dog adjusts to life on the road, as long as you plan ahead and make it a smooth transition for them. Happy trails…or “tails”…to you!

  • Comment (3)
  • Karen Scruggs says:

    Most veterinarians will help you set up an emergency pack for your pet (if you are a customer). Ours contains eye rx, ear rx, emergency antibiotic, diarrhea rx, something for allergic reaction, wound salve and vet wrap. We keep a copy of the vet records along with the microchip number. Flea products and don’t forget heartworm Rx. So far so good!

  • Hey Cindy! How exciting!!! Love that you just took the risk and went for it without having a definite plan but a whole lot of faith! The RV community will embrace you, if you need anything. Yes, things will break, but they always work themselves out and the adventures are so worth it. We would love to connect with you and maybe our paths will cross. Happy and safe travels to you and your four legged babies!

  • As an “Army wife” ( hubby is actually a civilian working on a Military ship) travelling alone with 3 large working-breed dogs, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been around several campgrounds, but 2 weeks has been the longest stay so far. Tomorrow begins our fulltime RV adventure, as we sold the house and have not yet found a new one; I’m excited and scared, but am plunging into this new thing with optimism! We have a 30′ class C, an old rental unit we bought from Cruise America a few years ago. Lots of things are apt to break down, but hoping the old unit does right by us! ❤

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