How to Keep Dogs Safe in an RV or Motorhome

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. 

How do you keep dogs safe in an RV or motorhome? After all, you want to ensure they are secure and that if you leave your dog alone while filling up the tank or picking up supplies, they will be safe. That’s where we come in with some great tips and advice. 

RV Pet Safety Tips

Invest in a Tracker to Monitor your Pet

tracker for your dog is essential when driving with dogs and visiting new places. They use GPS signals to monitor their location in real-time, and the tracker’s usually secured to the collar. 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. 

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

You can also use the tracker to set up geofences that 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 standard 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. 

You can also go for a crate if you don’t want to get a seatbelt. Cat carriers are easy to secure, and dog crates are no different. Just ensure 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 must 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 traveling 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 a backup generator is functioning in case of a power outage. 

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

Remember 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 is also worth investing in a pet camera to check in on them while you are out. This is especially useful if your dog suffers from bad separation anxiety.

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

Never leave your pet for an extended period of time, as they will need to go to the bathroom. It is not fair or humane to leave them for more than short periods with the means to relieve themselves.

Going Out with Your Dog

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

Getting your dog to return 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 crucial in 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, making the journey more enjoyable if you work together. 

Leash Laws & ID Tags

Before allowing your dog to roam freely around the campsite or on a hike, check if the state or campground has a leash law. More and more places require your dog to have a leash on at all times in public areas. In the occasion that your dog escapes from your trailer, be sure your dog has an ID tag with their name and your contact information.

Vet Visits & Vaccinations

Before leaving your home and venturing out, ensure your furry family members are up-to-date on all their vaccinations. You don’t want to chance your pet getting sick and having to take them to the vet on your vacation.

Do Most RV Parks Allow Dogs? 

Yes, most RV parks will allow dogs, and it is common to find people and their pets throughout your RV travel experience. While they are dog friendly, you must keep your dog’s 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 your camping trip. 

Check with the campground to see if you need to show their vaccination records upon arrival.

Pack Extra 

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

Pack extra bandage, gauze, tape, and 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. Ensure 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 a seasoned veteran, it is easy to forget that your dog needs their favorite toys, water bowl, dishes, and bedding. After all, they need to stay occupied, and toys are the best way. 

Give them a comfortable RV corner where they can sleep, play, eat, drink, and 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 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 need to tow a vehicle, you have a spare leash you can clip on in an emergency. 

Final Thoughts 

RV traveling 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, avoid leaving them for too long, and make some beautiful memories together. 

If you don’t think your pet will do well in an RV, consider leaving them in a kennel or with a pet sitter.

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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