owner and dog next to RV

Expert Advice

Tips for Pet Owners at Campgrounds

Our friends at Harvest Hosts give advice their advice for taking your pet on an RV trip. Here's what you need to know to keep your fur babies safe, comfortable, and happy while camping.

RV trips with pets require extra thoughtful planning and preparedness to ensure both you and your fur babies have a great time in the RV and at your destinations. Make sure you and your pets are ready to RV with these tips.

Is Your Pet Ready for the Outdoors?

Something you should consider before even getting in the RV is to prepare your pet. At a minimum, your dogs and cats must be comfortable on a leash. If you have a pet who manages to escape out of any leash you put them in, that will be a huge problem for everyone involved.

Invest in a wire lead or chew-proof leash to make sure your pet is secure. A 20-30 foot wire lead that can be clipped to your RV is a great investment. Your pet can feel like they are freely roaming the outdoors while following any campground leashing requirements.

Campgrounds are often busy places with many other pets walking around. You want to be confident your pet can handle this environment before you bring them to an RV campground.

Give your pet practice at dog parks, outdoor fields, or a big backyard to see how they do. Do they respond to your commands well? Are they okay around other unfamiliar animals? If not, you may need to give them some training and see if they can learn these skills.

Once your pet is ready to tackle a campground, you can start preparing and planning the logistics of your trip.

Get The Proper Safety Gear

Once you’ve determined your pet can handle camping, make sure you have the proper supplies for your pet. There are several things you need to do to keep your pets safe in the RV and at the campground. Be sure your pet:

  • Is Microchipped
  • Is up to date on tick and flea treatment
  • Has a reflective collar, so they are visible when they are outside at night
  • Has a chew-proof leash
  • Has a collapsible water bowl, so you can ensure your pet stays hydrated on the go

By following these safety measures, you can avoid risks such as getting separated from your pet.

Follow Campground Etiquette

Before you book any campsites, make sure you read the rules and can respect the campground’s policies and general campground etiquette before you book. Many campgrounds allow pets, but not all. Most require pets to be on leashes. Even if they don’t have this rule, try to avoid letting your pet wander into other campsites out of respect for your neighbors. You never know who is comfortable with strange pets around or how other people’s pets will respond to yours.

One unspoken rule is to avoid giving your pet squeaky toys. This often annoys your neighbors, so try to give your pet quieter toys to play with when possible, for a conflict-free camping experience.

Prepare for Pet Care

If you never leave your pet alone in the RV, you still need to make sure your pet is comfortable in the RV. They also need to be safe. The solar-powered heating or cooling system is a great idea to make sure your RV can maintain room temperature if it is off or if you lose power.

During your camping trip, you might briefly leave your pet in the RV. The American Veterinary Association does not recommend leaving pets alone in any vehicle without temperature control for any amount of time, so make sure you have air conditioning available for your pet that works when the RV is off.

Investing in monitoring gear is a great option to give you peace of mind if you leave your pet in the RV for a short outing, like a dinner or a wine tasting. With the proper monitoring gear, you can be sure that the temperature control is on the entire time you are gone.

For longer stretches, or in instances where a campground is not pet-friendly, consider hiring a pet sitter or sending your pet to daycare. Your pet will get the enrichment they need while you can enjoy your activity with peace of mind. Especially on long hike days where it may take you a long time to get back to the RV, having a trusted person watch your pet is best.

You’re Ready to Bring Your Pet on Your Next Trip!

Now that you know what behaviors, skills, and supplies your pet needs to get in the RV and head to the campground, you are prepared for your next trip.

For more RV trip planning content, including tips for traveling with pets, check out the GoRVing blog.

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