We’re on dog number 4 and 5 with our RV, so we’ve found out a few things we’d like to share.
We’ve been RVing in our Airstream for 13 years now, with dogs all throughout that period. Anywhere from one to two to even three, RVing with your favorite furry friend can sometimes be a challenge.
Originally, our “RV family” consisted of me and Debbie, sometimes our daughter, Niki, and our three, original dogs, Ginger, a full-sized collie, Maddie, a sheltie, and Phoebe, a Maltese. From large to medium to small, three dogs were sometimes a handful, but always an adventure. All three have since passed and, for some reason, we now have two collies — Trey, an even bigger male, and Fiona, a super energetic female. Trey is getting up there in age, and Fiona is in full “I’m still a puppy” mode, despite being six years old.
There are some things you need to think about when RVing with your dogs.
Room for everyone
Yeah, we’re not sure what we were thinking with two large dogs and two adults in our 28′ travel trailer. Is living tight sometimes? Sure, especially when the weather outside is icky and you all feel a bit cooped up inside. Be sure to think about the size of a dog, number of them, breed, and their relative habits (ours like to dominate the one couch) when choosing either your RV or your dog.
We’ve found that plenty of walks keep our pets tired and then they are more likely to rest quietly outside, giving us a bit more space when we’re in our RV.
Walking, walking, walking
So why RV if you don’t enjoy being outdoors? Our dogs love to go for long walks (Trey, less so these days as his hips are starting to hurt). We’ve found walking the dogs a few times each day — shorter walks early when we get up and late before bed, along with a couple of longer ones during the daytime hours — keeps them happy, excited about RVing, and, frankly, exhausted so everyone sleeps better.
On travel days, we always try to go for a long walk before we leave. This way, the dogs get all their business taken care of and are a bit worn out before we start driving.
Traveling with dogs
I don’t know about you, but just driving our truck and trailer long distances can be exhausting. For everyone’s sake, we try to drive a couple of hours and then take a break, like at a rest area. It’s a great way for everyone — including our two dogs — to get a break from the monotony of the road, a chance to stretch a bit, and for everyone to do their business.
We’ve found that that driving more than six hours makes our dogs start to get anxious. Even with frequent potty breaks, they get bored, start to whine, and move around a lot in the back our truck. Remember, it’s not only the destination, but the journey, but keep that journey reasonable in length.
We (okay, my wife) really do try to keep up with the fur, dirt, and who-knows-what from our dogs. For peace of mind, give extra effort to keeping the fur cleaned up if your dog sheds. A small, handheld vacuum works well for quick touch-ups.
Leaving your dog alone in the RV
This is a tough one. Ideally, we RV to places that we know are dog-friendly. Two big, excited and active dogs can be a bit of a handful, but we sure do appreciate outdoor cafes, bars, and other places where we can bring our dogs (a collapsible water bowl and couple of bottles of water is key!).
If you have to leave your dogs, think about the “what if’s.” What if the heat or air conditioning goes out? What if they have an accident? What if you’re gone longer than you think?
If the weather allows, keep a couple of windows open so air can be fresh and the dogs comfortable. Take them for a long walk before you leave and then make sure they have plenty of fresh water, something to play with, or a chew bone to keep them occupied. We sometimes leave the TV or radio on too. And it’s always a good idea to give the RV park manager or owners a heads up if you think you might be out late or a long time. Some places will let your dogs out or recommend a local service that can help petsit.
RVing with dogs doesn’t have to be difficult. With just a little forethought, planning, and consideration, your pets can join you on your adventures too!