We love our pets. They greet us at the door every day like they haven’t seen us in weeks. Man’s (and women’s!) best friend isn’t meant to stay at home while you and your family are exploring the outdoors. They love the outdoors just as much as you do! And they’re part of the family. This dog-friendly guide to RV camping will help ensure an enjoyable and safe trip with your pup.
According to a Recreational Vehicle Industry Association study, furry friends serve as excellent companions on the road for 61% of RV owners.
Tips for a fantastic time with your furry friend:
- Introduce your dog to the RV.
Before you hit the road, park your RV in the driveway and pull all the slides out, bring in the dog bed and food and water bowls. Don’t coax with treats right away. Be patient and just hang out inside and see if they’ll come and join you (I’m betting they will).
Once they’re comfortable, go for a drive locally. Then take a local weekend trip, close to home. Before you head back home for the weekend, consider tiring your dog/s out before bringing them back in for the long ride home.
- Pack and prepare for your pup.
Take care of any vaccinations, vet visits and give your pup a good wash before you go. Treat your dog for fleas and ticks year-round, but especially before extended time outdoors.
And while it’s likely that Daizie (my adorable black Australian Shepard and lab mix) would be fine, it’s best to find local vets in the area you’re traveling to, just in case. Keep in mind vets are licensed in the state that they practice, so keep in mind getting a prescription filled across state lines may be a bit tricky. Pack your vet records and contact information with you.
Utilize your mobile phone and download one of the many vet finder apps.
MyPet.com – you can keep all of your pet’s appointments and treatments, to keep track of important dates, vaccinations and more. And by just entering your zip code, you can find a veterinarian near you. They even have seasonal tips, health and nutrition care to help for everyday ailments.
VetFinder – allows you to search vets who currently have emergency service and open office hours. You can search for mobile veterinarians or vets that offer home (campground!) visits.
Don’t forget all his or her basics:
- Leash: the Ruffwear harness for hiking is something to consider. Ruffwear is dedicated to enhancing outdoor adventures with dogs and their dog’s gear is designed from a dog’s perspective. When you’re hitting the trail for a hike with your best friend, we share our dog walking wisdom with hikers and dog lovers.
- Food: Okay, duh, right? But how will you store Daizie’s food? Try Vittles Vault travel collection – they’ve got portable pet food containers.
- Camping World has a slew of items perfect for your RV pet. From retractable cable tie outs and self-warming pet cots to portable pet steps and pet cooling mats, they’ve got your pooch covered.
- Medications: be sure to bring along a pet first aid kit.
- Toys: you bring games, bring some for Daizie too!
- Stay at a dog-friendly campground
It’s important to check ahead about pet policies. Most campgrounds and state parks require dogs to be kept on a short leash and not roam free. However, many private campgrounds now have dog walks or off-leash dog park areas to accommodate pet owners.
Here’s a list of some of the top pet friendly parks. Good Sam Campground listings list pet restrictions per park.
- Good Life RV Resort, Mesa, Arizona. This RV resort has 56 acres of space with pools, ballroom, fitness center and of course hiking and biking trails. Check out the nearby world-class 18-hole golf course too.
- Riverside Campground & Cabins, Big Sur, California. If you have a big group meeting you there, you can take advantage of their cabins as well. Fishing is seasonal and catch-and-release November through February. The grounds are dog-friendly, and your pooch will enjoy the nearby beaches and river-access points.
- Sun Life RV Resort, Mesa, Arizona. pets per site are welcome and encouraged at all Cal-Am Resorts in the pet section of the resort. Breed restrictions do apply.
- Escondido RV Resort, Escondido, California. Home to a massive fenced on-site dog park, this is one of the friendliest beaches for dogs in Southern California.
- Circle RV Resort – Sunland, El Cajon, California. Along with their pet-friendly areas, they provide heated pool and spa, a library, resort gym and of course scenic surroundings.
- Rio Bend RV & Golf Resort, El Centro, California.
- Garden Of the Gods RV Resort, Colorado Springs, Colorado. This park allows leashed dogs and has a bark park where Daizie can chill out with other pups. And of course, in true Colorado form, there are plenty of nearby trails to explore.
- Four Paws Kingdom, Rutherfordton, North Carolina. They bill themselves as “The First and Only Dog Dedicated Campground in the US.” There are multiple off-leash play parks, hiking trails, doggie bathhouse with grooming stations and more. Some sites even have fenced yards. Four Paws Kingdom has continuously qualified as a top-ranked park from the Good Sam Club.
- Royal View at Royal Gorge Campground, Cañon City, Colorado.
- Ocala Sun RV Resort, Ocala, Florida. Centrally located between Gainesville and Orlando, wander over to their numerous restaurants, clear water beaches, shopping and more. This pet-friendly RV resort also offers a fenced dog run area.
- Deer Creek Valley RV Park, Topeka, Kansas. Located less than 2 miles away from Lake Shawnee, you and your pooch can take part in fishing, boating, jet skiing, paddle boating. On site, they offer a large fenced pet play area.
- Evergreen Park RV Resort, Mount Eaton, Ohio. Nestled in the heart of the state, there is vast amount of open space for you and your pet to explore and there’s even a dog-grooming facility on-site.
- Horn Rapids RV Resort, Richland, Washington. Dubbed as a family destination vacation resort, Horn Rapids also has a great Good Sam rating. There’s a self-dog grooming and fenced run and for their human companions, check out their golf packages and winery limo tours!
- Pet comfort.
Does your RV have easy access for your four-legged friend? Make note of the number of steps. Where will Daizie sleep? Bring a dog bed that shows where he/she will lay its paws. Install dog friendly flooring and furniture. Let’s face it. They can be a little smelly and they shed, so consider installing vinyl floor.
If your camping in the dog days of Summer, make sure you have a good temperature control unit to keep the RV cool on hot days. A powerful ceiling vent fan can make a big difference for good ventilation.
- Safety first.
You put seatbelts on you and your loved ones, why not your best friend, too? Have either an anchored harness or a pet carrier. Allowing your dog to roam freely in the RV or tow vehicle is dangerous for both of you.
Take your dog on your next adventure and provide them with a safe, dog friendly environment for memories that will last a lifetime for you both.
Image credits: ThinkStock, Circle RV Resort, Vittles Vault
About the Author:
Erin Peters is the offspring of a nuclear physicist & one of the founding fathers of phone-to-phone VoIP and a Mensa mother. She has over 20 years of marketing experience, having worked for Internet giants, biotech leaders and Fortune 500 companies. She also created digital media departments at two online advertising agencies. Erin is also a renowned beer writer and judge, that has been enticing beer drinkers for over a decade through her blog, The Beer Goddess.