How to Keep Dogs Safe in an RV or Motorhome


There isn’t much better than hitting the open road with your best friend. What more do you need than your RV, a cooler full of snacks, and your dog riding shotgun as you journey somewhere new and exciting? But there is a question on the minds of many dog owners. 

That question is how to keep dogs safe in an RV or motor home? After all, you want to make sure that they are secure and that if you leave your dog alone while filling up the tank or picking up supplies, they are going to be safe. That’s where we come in with some great tips and advice. 

Invest in a Tracker 

A tracker for your dog is essential when driving with dogs and visiting new places. If your pet runs off or goes missing, you will want to be able to find them again, and a tracker can do just that. They use GPS signals to show you their location in real-time, and the tracker’s usually secured to the collar. 

In many places, microchipping your dog is a legal requirement as they will be able to reunite you when the dog’s scanned and the chip shows your contact details. However, you cannot track your dog using a microchip and so have both the chip and the tracker is integral. 

You can also use the tracker to set up geofences which send you notifications when your dog is getting close to the boundary – the best way to keep your pets safe when you are at the RV park and relaxing with them in the evening. Check out this Whistle Go Explorer on Amazon.

Get a Seatbelt

Dogs need seat belts just as much as humans, and if you want to help keep your dog safe, you’ll invest in the canine version. It usually comes in the form of a harness that can then be clipped in like a normal seatbelt to keep them safe and secure while you are driving. 

In areas where it is illegal to have an unsecured dog in your vehicle, it can also help you to avoid hefty fines. It might be your home on wheels, but road safety still applies, and even a sudden stop can cause serious injury to you and your dog if they are not secured. 

If you don’t want to get a seatbelt, you can also go for a crate. Cat carriers are very easy to secure and dog crates are no different. Just make sure your pet is comfortable and moving around as little as possible. 

Secure the Campground 

Once you have found a suitable campground that will fit your RV or motorhome comfortably, you need to make your section secure for your dog. A pet-friendly campground isn’t hard to find, but you still need to make sure they stay close to you to prevent anything from happening to them. 

They will want to stretch their legs after travelling in an RV, so make sure that you build a fenced area outside the RV that gives them enough space to walk around and relax. Many owners have foldable metal fencing that can be put around the door and outside for maximum security. 

Going Out Without Your Dog 

It does happen; you might find a nice restaurant or a museum that won’t allow your dog to come with you. While you should do your best to avoid leaving them alone in the motorhome, there are some ways you can make things easier on your pets. 

One of these is keeping the air conditioner on while you are out, but also ensuring that there is a backup generator functioning in case of a power outage. 

If the air conditioner were to turn off due to a loss of power, temperatures will rise dramatically for your pet. 

Keep in mind that air conditioning is not always enough, and you should also park in the shade while leaving them access to plenty of clean water. It may also be worth investing in a pet camera so you can check in on them whilst you are out. 

If the weather is very hot, do not leave your pet alone in the RV as they could end up very sick from heatstroke or even die. In some places, it is completely legal to smash vehicle windows (including an RV) to rescue the pet inside if they appear to be in distress. 

Going Out with Your Dog

You want to have a great time with your dog, and travelling in an RV is only part of the adventure. There are sure to be loads of dog-friendly locations near your camp, so walking and hiking is an absolute must. However, you must also consider your dog’s recall. 

Getting your dog to come back is not always easy, and it can feel like they will never run back. You may need to entice them with a tasty treat, which is a great way to positively reinforce their return to you. 

Training is key to stopping your dog from running off on walks, and if your dog’s recall is suffering, try finding a secure dog park to practice in. 

When you travel with your dog, you want to know that they will never leave your side and be well-behaved – watching them can feel like a full time job. This is where treats and practice come in, and it makes the journey more enjoyable if you are working together. 

Do Most RV Parks Allow Dogs? 

Yes, most RV parks will allow dogs and it is not uncommon to find people and their pets throughout your RV travel experience. While they are dog friendly, you still need to have your dog keep their distance and ensure you clean up after them. 

Your dog may also feel nervous as they know they are not home, and having a secure area helps them get used to their new surroundings and relax a little. After all, you want them to feel comfortable and at home for the duration of your camping trip. 

Pack Extra 

This applies to you and your pet. You should always make sure you have extra supplies for every situation as you are far from home, and you might also end up quite a distance away from civilization. The RV is great because you can store multiple medical kits inside for emergencies. 

Pack extra bandage, gauze, tape, and basic essentials that come with the kit. Bring nail clippers for your dog and double of any medication they are taking in case you get stranded. Both you and your pets can use the bandages and gauze in standard kits, which is why you need several. 

The same goes for food, and it is wise to provide you and your pets with an extra week of food just in case the worst happens and you cannot get home. Make sure they are non-perishable goods that can be carried in a pack if the situation arises. 

Toys, Leashes, and Dishes 

Whether you are riding in your first motorhome or you are a seasoned veteran, it is easy to forget that your dog needs their toys, dishes, and also their own bedding. After all, they need to stay occupied and toys are the best way to do that. 

Give them a comfortable corner of the RV where they can sleep, play, eat, and drink as well as unwind after a long day. RV travel can be hard on dogs too, so a space to be alone and chill out is something that they will welcome. An occupied pup is one that stays out of mischief.

You should bring at least two spare leashes and collars on your trip, especially if you decide you want to go hiking together. If one snaps or becomes damaged, you need to be able to secure your dog so that they stay safe. Similarly, if you end up needing to tow vehicle, you have a spare leash you can clip on them in an emergency. 

Final Thoughts 

RV travelling with your dog is an adventure that you will both enjoy, but keeping your dog safe is equally important. You want your pet to be secure, and while that includes basic things like locking the RV when you aren’t in it, there are other tricks of the trade to keep in mind. 

Each piece of advice listed in this guide will help you and your pet to have a more enjoyable trip, but also ensure that you are not left feeling stressed and overwhelmed about their safety. Keep them close, try not to leave them for too long, and make some wonderful memories together. 

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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