Is there anything better than going on vacation with your four-legged best friend? Often, people need to leave their furry friends at home with a friend or at a doggie kennel when they go out of town. But, taking a trip in an RV allows you to bring your pup along with you. This way, you can have your fun getaway with your best friend at your side. It’ll allow you a change of scenery and getting to go on an adventure together.
In preparation for this trip, there are several steps an owner can take to keep their furry friends safe, comfortable, and happy while on the road. From the necessary RV maintenance to making a pet-friendly itinerary, there are plenty of tips you can use to make this the best RV trip ever!
Choose Your Destination
The first item on your agenda is to choose your destination. A popular destination for many RV travelers with pets is a national forest. Many of them allow dogs in at least some areas, though leash restrictions do apply.
According to the Travel Channel, here is a list of the most pet-friendly national parks in the U.S.:
- Acadia National Park
- Shenandoah National Park
- The Grand Canyon (Dogs are only allowed to hike the perimeter, not the canyon itself.)
- The Appalachian Trail (There are three restricted areas for dogs.)
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Their list also includes national parks that may not be ideal destinations for people with pups. While dogs are permitted to enter most of these parks, restrictions may cause you headaches. Some of these parks only allow dogs in campgrounds, parking lots, and roads, and some entirely ban unruly pets. This means that you may want to avoid these destinations so that you can bring your dog on the trail with you and won’t have to worry about excessive restrictions.
National parks that are not recommended for pets include:
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Zion National Park (except the Pa’rus trail)
- Arches National Park
- Mt. Rainier National Park (except the Pacific Crest Trail)
- Yosemite (except the Wawona Meadow Loop)
If you are looking for a more festive trip, you can consider taking your pup to a festival or other event. Mardi Gras, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, and the SXSW (South by Southwest) festival are popular RV events for many travelers in America. They may be the perfect festivals for both of you to go to. Keep in mind, however, that while it’s okay to leave your dog in your RV for a short while — with permitting conditions — you may need to reserve a spot for them in a local kennel if you plan to go on a longer event. Leaving them in the RV while you go out for dinner is sometimes okay, but leaving them alone while you attend a festival is not.
You can also check out pet-friendly cities Phoenix, AZ and Portland, OR. However, do research first, especially in regards to weather. While Phoenix offers pet-friendly places to visit, the heat may be too hot for your pup to handle. On the other hand, Portland may be rainy, which may result in muddy, if not closed, trails.
Plan Out Your Trip
Once you have chosen your destination, you can start planning out the details of your trip. Before you start planning out your activities, you need to plan out your route. Not only is it important for you to know which exits to take, how long the drive will take, and other key details, you also need to know how often you need to stop for your pet. This includes walks and bathroom breaks.
A great tip is to look at your route and mark all the rest stops, towns, and other opportunities for your pup to get out of the RV. You may not need to stop on all of these places on your drive. By looking at your map ahead of your trip can save you some trouble. For example, depending on where you are starting and ending, there may be a long stretch of the freeway without towns or rest stops — aka safe places to walk your dog. Taking them out to do their business on the side of the highway is less than ideal and can be dangerous.
Stay safe on the road!
Additionally, take a look at the map beforehand can help you have a better idea of what the road will be like. Driving in unfamiliar places is not easy, and driving an RV only adds to the challenge. It’ll give you a better feel for what the drive will be like and can help you avoid accidents.
Once you have a good idea of what the road will be like, you can plan out your activities. This may be a simple task if you are planning a simple trip out in nature at a pet-friendly national park. However, if you are planning on going to a festival or long event, you should know that in advance. This way, you can look for a dog kennel in your area and make reservations so your furry friend is safe and happy while you’re out.
If you are visiting a city, you can do some research to find pet-friendly places. Some restaurants, cafes, and bars may allow you to bring your dog along if you sit at the patio. You can bring Fido to find pet-friendly restaurants, hotels, activities, and events that you and your dog can enjoy.
Make a Doggie Space in Your RV
Now that you know where you’re going and what you will be doing, you can make sure your RV is pet-friendly. If you have your own RV, you can do this a few days in advance to make sure you have everything your pet needs. If you are renting one, you should know in advance what the model looks like and make a list of items that you will need in your RV.
Of course, for the safety of your animal, you should not let them roam around while you are driving. However, your pup should have a comfy area to sleep in at night or to rest in during non-driving hours in the daytime. Make sure to bring a bed, toys, food, treats, towels, and bowls for the RV. You should also have a travel pack where you can bring extra food, water, treats, bowls, and toys for your dog when you venture out.
Making a doggie space for your pooch in the RV can also help relieve their anxiety if they have nervous tendencies. A familiar blanket from home or their favorite toy can make them more comfortable in the RV while they’re away from home. This may also help to minimize barking and other disruptive behavior that may not be appreciated by neighbors.
RV Pet Safety
In addition to their relaxing doggie space, your dog will also need a designated traveling space where they can buckle up. Here are some additional safety tips for you and your dog:
- Get a harness or pet carrier to properly secure your pet to their seat.
- Avoid eye injuries by not rolling the windows down all the way.
- Never hold your pet in your lap while driving. It’s illegal in some states and may cause an accident with serious injuries to everyone in the vehicle.
- Keep your pup inside if the weather gets extreme.
Additionally, you should make sure that your RV is clean and well maintained before hitting the road. This includes typical RV maintenance, like checking the plumbing, gas system, tires, and more. It also includes making sure to have emergency cleaning supplies on hand in case of any accidents. You don’t want to be confined in a small space after your dog relieves himself without the ability to clean up.
Prep your RV accordingly
You should also look for emergency vets in the area you will be traveling to. Ideally, you can print out a map of them before you head out on vacation in case you need to find a vet and you don’t have service. Having a resource on hand can make a stressful situation a little easier to get through.
You never know how comfortable your pup will be in the RV, and you don’t want them to bolt suddenly without being able to find them. It’s even better if they are microchipped. Keep in mind that while your dog may like to roam, it’s always best to keep them leashed. In unfamiliar territory, you don’t want your best friend to run after a wild animal and get lost suddenly. It’s better to be safe than sorry in these situations.
Planning the perfect puppy vacation is easier than you think! By taking the time to research locations, plan out the road, and look into pet-friendly activities, you can make sure you and your doggie have a trip to remember forever. Always prioritize safety to make sure you and your pet both get home safely. By following this advice, you are guaranteed to have an amazing vacation with your best friend at your side.
About the Author
Frankie Wallace writes about a wide variety of different topics, from environmental issues to politics. Wallace currently resides in Boise, Idaho