raytronx

My tips for RVing with Dogs

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We RV with 2 beagles, now unfortunately only one. :(

 

I wrote up a blog post recently with some tips from what we have learned RVing all over the country with them.

Hopefully it can help out those that are new to the whole RV scene and bring their dogs with them.

 

Introduction

Anne and I have traveled many times with our two beagles along with us, Oscar a 45 lb. male and Angie a much smaller 20 lb. female. It is one of the reasons we decided to see North America in an RV. We desired to embark on a one year trip and couldn't imagine leaving our beloved pets at home. We don’t have children and our two dogs are very much part of our family. After 2 years living full-time in the Fifth Wheel Trailer and countless short trips in our camper van we have learned a few things about RVing with dogs. In the following sections you’ll learn some of the main things to consider when RVing with Dogs and tips we have discovered along the way.

SW-Utah-187-800x600_thumb.jpg Angie and Oscar relax in the campsite
Food and Water

The basics for life. Make sure you have your dog on a brand of food that is available in many locations. Switching a dog from brand to brand can many times cause digestive problems, not something you want on a road trip! We made sure our dogs were eating and accustomed to a type and brand of food that was available in the PetSmart chain. This chain is located all over North America so it was ideal for us. They also stock a vast assortment of foods. Generally we buy enough for 1 month or more and store it in a plastic sealed bin in the basement storage compartment. As far as water is concerned we tend to only drink purified purchased water and give that to our dogs for much the same reason as above. If you can keep yours and your dogs digestive system running smoothly then your trip will be much more enjoyable for all the reasons you can imagine.

Tips
  • Use plastic bins to store the dogs food in.
  • Feed the dog at the same time everyday so you know when the bowel movements will happen

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PacificCoast-018-800x600_thumb.jpg Anne and her best friend Oscar


Papers and Vet Info

Always travel with your veterinary records. We include these in the same place we store our passports. Make sure your dog has all the vaccines and shots needed for your journey. This may take a little research if traveling internationally. Most customs websites have sections on dogs. Rabies is always a given almost anywhere but be aware certain states or provinces may have their own specific rules. Also think about the area your going to and what parasites it may have. IE. - You may not have heart-worm in your local area but are traveling to somewhere it is a problem. The internet is always a good source of information. One time in Georgia I notice a weird oval-shaped object in Angie’s fur. Turns out it was a tick and by searching the web I was able to find out the best way to remove it and disinfect the sore.

Veterinarian services is another thing you may need, especially on a long trip far away from home. When heading to a new area we do a quick Google search for local Vets and read any reviews we can find, if they are required. Don’t get a false sense of security thinking your dog will be fine on the road, things come up. Our big dog Oscar one day thought it would be fun to eat a whack of carpet when we were out. Soon enough we were whisking him off to the local vet office. You just never know what they might do, they are dogs after all. Not the sharpest tools in the shed but we love them anyway.

Tips
  • Put copies of your veterinary information, like X-rays, papers, history etc., on a CD and USB Key. That way it is easy to store and give to a Vet while traveling if need be
  • Have your dogs ID chipped and contact details on the collar if they are lost while traveling.
  • Keep a good first aid kit handy with pet associated meds and bandages, you may not be close to an Animal Hospital all the time.
  • Make sure you take along enough prescription medicine for your whole trip, our dogs are on prescription flea control medication.
  • If you can kennel train your dog it helps when vet visit is required. That way you can take the kennel and they will have some familiar surroundings if a vet stay is needed.
Glacier-022-800x600_thumb.jpg They always do it at the most inconvenient times


Exercise

You know what they say “ A tired dog is a good dog” and this is even more true when RVing. Dogs like to explore and move. Our beagles need to sniff new things, it’s in their breed and if deprived from that they act out in some annoying way. Your breed may need to fetch or herd or run. Give them some time every day to do it. If we can take our dogs with us to a hike or day trip we will, but if not we always make sure they get a couple good walks and some mental stimulation.

Tips
  • We taught our dogs to fetch, this allows them to get a great work out and have fun play time.
  • We hide a treat somewhere and make the beagles find it. They love doing it and it really stimulates them mentally.
  • Dogs like to chew so routinely give them a healthy chew treat, great for their teeth health too. It's amazing how tired they are after a good chew.
  • Great Ipad/Iphone App is the Dog Park Finder app
SW-Utah-019-800x490_thumb.jpg Angie having a blast on the Coral Sand Dunes


Routine

Dogs are happiest when they have a routine they can count on. Try to give them their meals, exercise , treats at similar times each day. Not only will it benefit you by them having very regular bathroom times but they will be much calmer when knowing what to expect. I try to have a morning and evening routine and include the dogs needs and activities with mine.

VirginiaSC-019-800x600_thumb.jpg Angie checks out the sunset on the Blue Ridge Parkway


Leaving the Dogs in the Rig

This one is a concern to all folks RVing with Dogs. Many times the dogs will have to stay behind in the rig. Sometimes it’s because we are going shopping and they can’t be left in a sunny truck or it’s a hike in National park and no dogs are allowed. We have found the best way to do it is to leave them inside their kennels in the rig. This really made sense after the carpet eating incident. If they are in the kennels they feel secure, won’t be trying to see out the windows causing stress or if they fall an injury, and most important with beagles…. won’t eat stuff. When leaving the less fuss the better soon they will know the drill and if properly exercised will likely curl up and sleep till you return.

Make sure it is a comfortable environment for them while you are gone, if it’s a cold day set the furnace to come on , if it could get hot set the AC. Generally we are most worried about the heat. We have learned how our rig reacts to the sun and when it will get too hot. If it’s that type of day we just cancel our plans and stay with the dogs. I never really trust the AC to work flawlessly in a campground, many lose power so if it is going to be a hot day we will do our exploring in the cool morning and evenings if the dogs can’t be with us. This works well for us because Anne is a photographer and likes to be out there during dawn and dusk.

Tips
  • If you have a neighboring RVer with dogs see if you can switch off with them on checking out the dogs while your out.
  • Just before leaving make sure your dog gets a good walk so they are tired and have relieved themselves.
  • Keep all the binds down and maybe a TV or Radio playing so they are not worried about things outside.
  • If you have to leave them for extended periods or overnight consider hiring a pet sitter. Petsit.com has a great online search. Also many Vets will take in the dogs or recommend local pet sitters.
Texas-008-800x577_thumb.jpg Let's go for a hike!

 

Campground Etiquette

This is super important! We as RVers with dogs don’t want to lose the privilege of bringing our dogs. In some places, parks are starting to ban dogs. Everyone must do there absolute best to have a quiet, well-behaved dog. Your dog should not be barking constantly when your gone. Many people are totally unaware that little fluffy is yapping constantly when the are away. I always ask my camp neighbors to let me know if my dogs do anything to annoy them. Things a dog owner would not even think about may annoy someone. By encouraging the neighbors to let you know beforehand it really breaks the ice and sets the relationship up well. Always, always have poop bags or a scoop and use them. Watch where your dog urinates, never let them go near another persons camp area or near manicured lawns and flowers. Tie your dog well away from the traffic areas and never leave unattended outside your rig.

Tips
  • My little beagle Angie has separation anxiety and would bay when left alone. I purchased an electric shock collar and it worked almost instantly to control it. She is happier and less stressed with it on.
  • Use a video camera and record what goes on in your absence, you may be surprised.
  • Consider doing some boondocking. Nothing more fun than having your doggie out in an open isolated space where it can have some freedom.
  • Too give the dog a little more freedom in the campsite consider getting some light metal fencing to form a dog pen for them.
DSC02315-737x800_thumb.jpg Ray and Angie boondocking
Cleaning the Rig

The worse part by far of RVing with Dogs is the extra cleaning that is needed inside the trailer. Ours is worse than others because we have two dogs and they both are a shedding type of breed. This is where the kennel training comes in handy. The more time they spend in the kennel the less time they spend lying around elsewhere. Also if it’s a nasty rainy, muddy day you can isolate their mess to just the kennels. We clean the hair out fairly often as my wife has allergies and if it builds up with hair and dog dander she knows way before me. We leave a towel right at the rig door and wipe them all the time if they get wet.

Tips
  • Use a wire brush, like for cleaning metal or a BBQ, it is great at grabbing the hair from the carpet.
  • Buy a small portable shop vac and use it often.
  • Get yourself a portable Steam Cleaner. The best mix for pet smell I have found is Borax detergent and vinegar. Cheap and effective and wont hurt the dogs.
  • Use Sham Wow towels, they are super absorbent and work really well for cleaning a muddy wet dog.
  • Set boundaries in side the rig where the dogs may go. We don’t allow dogs in the bedroom and on our two swivel rockers. This helps keep the dog dirt confined to a smaller area. We let them have the sofa and the main floor area.
  • Give your dog lots of baths, ours get them on the truck tailgate. It’s a perfect height and a lot of fun.

 

Lake-Superior-013-800x600_thumb.jpg NewEngland-001-800x701_thumb.jpg

On the Road

While moving from place to place with the rig we keep the dogs up in the truck with us. We tried at first putting them in their kennels in the trailer but soon found out it was too rocky in there during travel and was traumatic for the dogs. Also it can get too hot and cold at times. In our pickup the rear bench seat folds down, so we have a nice piece of 4 inch foam covered with vinyl for the dogs to lay on. Along with their blankets it makes it into a nice flat dog bed. Also we installed netting so they can't jump around from the rear to front of the truck. This makes the trucks rear area like a large dog kennel. It also keeps them isolated from the front and less likely to be a distraction while driving. I also had a rear window installed with a sliding window to give some extra ventilation if needed.

Tips
  • Carry in the vehicle some form of sun blocking material to put in the windows
Final words

As you can see we love our dogs and love to have our little furry companions with us while traveling. Unfortunately near the end of our last trip our older beagle Oscar succumb to a variety of ailments and had to be put down. If anyone has been through this you know how traumatic that is. He loved the beach and on our trip got to see many and his last was his favorite on the Oregon Coast. RIP good buddy.

 

PacificCoast-036-800x565.jpg

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Great information, thanks for sharing your experience. We have two senior dachshunds. I know it will be a challenge to travel with them and all their issues but we wouldn't dream of going without them.

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In some places, parks are starting to ban dogs. Everyone must do there absolute best to have a quiet, well-behaved dog.

 

Wow, that is interesting. I know most parks have rules regarding pets but I have never come across one with an outright ban on dogs. With the percentage of the RV crowd that travels with dogs, that would seem to me like a poor business decision. Maybe I'm wrong.

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We've run into many RV parks that do not allow dogs. There are even more that don't allow certain breeds. We, of course, don't stay at the parks that don't allow dogs, but they are out there.

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We too have seen the outright ban, and the breed ban at most that do allow dogs. We have had periods of time after the death of our pets where we could have stayed in "dog free" parks. We will not support those campgrounds even if we have no pet.

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In some places, parks are starting to ban dogs. Everyone must do there absolute best to have a quiet, well-behaved dog.

 

Wow, that is interesting. I know most parks have rules regarding pets but I have never come across one with an outright ban on dogs. With the percentage of the RV crowd that travels with dogs, that would seem to me like a poor business decision. Maybe I'm wrong.

Many of the parks in Arizona have areas that are "no dogs allowed". My Llahsa Apso and Schnauzer love to go with me to take the trash to the campground dumpster. We left this one park in AZ after just s short stay when we discovered that the dumpster was in the no dog area.

 

Joe

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In some places, parks are starting to ban dogs. Everyone must do there absolute best to have a quiet, well-behaved dog.

 

Wow, that is interesting. I know most parks have rules regarding pets but I have never come across one with an outright ban on dogs. With the percentage of the RV crowd that travels with dogs, that would seem to me like a poor business decision. Maybe I'm wrong.

I don't come across many out west yet, but back East I seen a number of them especially in FLA when looking up RV Parks, and many had weight and breed restrictions.

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I've seen a lot of "no dog parks" and those with size and breed restrictions. I won't go to a park that doesn't allow dogs even if I can take Jin in legally.

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We too travel with two beagles. Whenever we can stay at a park that has a dog run area we pick that over a park that does not. We also check each dog run before we let the dogs off leash to insure it is Beagle proof. We have taken time to whistle train our 2 dogs so that if they ever get out and they hear the whistle the know they get a doggie cookie when they come back. Found out is works well in the dog park as well. AS well we always leave music on when we leave and never leave them for more than 3-4 hours during the day. Each dog has their own crate and when they go in the get a cookie and when we return they get a cookie so everyone stays happy. The only time we leave them in the car is if we are some place where the windows can stay open and parked in the shade.

 

We got our little girl (Rita) as a 5 week old puppy but or boy (Lucky is a shelter rescue). We were very fortunate to get a dog as well trained has he is from the shelter.

 

Sorry to hear about the loss of Oscar.

 

Chris

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We too travel with two beagles. Whenever we can stay at a park that has a dog run area we pick that over a park that does not. We also check each dog run before we let the dogs off leash to insure it is Beagle proof. We have taken time to whistle train our 2 dogs so that if they ever get out and they hear the whistle the know they get a doggie cookie when they come back. Found out is works well in the dog park as well. AS well we always leave music on when we leave and never leave them for more than 3-4 hours during the day. Each dog has their own crate and when they go in the get a cookie and when we return they get a cookie so everyone stays happy. The only time we leave them in the car is if we are some place where the windows can stay open and parked in the shade.

 

We got our little girl (Rita) as a 5 week old puppy but or boy (Lucky is a shelter rescue). We were very fortunate to get a dog as well trained has he is from the shelter.

 

Sorry to hear about the loss of Oscar.

 

Chris

 

 

Thanks Chris, we still miss him. Looks like you got a couple good little beagles there. They are fun dogs.

 

Ray

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Great tips.

When I started fulltiming, I was torn between my love of dogs and my concern for caring for one as a traveling single. I didn't have a dog at that point since running my business required constant travel and with no one else at home I didn't think it was fair to a pet

Soon after retirement, fate intervened and a young stray who someone had dumped on the rural road leading to my ranch, found and adopted me.

Miss Blackie has been a cherished member of the family for 3 yrs now. Although I'm no longer fulltime, Miss Blackie and I continue to travel together, and swim, hike & ATV together. We haven't yet worked out a way to take her along on the Harley rides, so she sits on the porch and pouts every time she hears me start the Harley up.

DSC_0007.JPGDSC_0002.JPG

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Has anyone ever had to produce a health certificate or vet records/proof of vaccination when traveling from state to state?

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Other than the doge having crates, we pretty much follow everything the OP said. Thanks for posting it.

We travel with two Miniture Schnauzers. Both are well trained, though we sometimes wonder who is training who. Neither is crated now though both were cate trained for there first two years. DW and myself enjoy nature and stay mostly at state parks around the country so the dogs usually gets lots of excercise. When left in the coach we close all of the blinds, turn on the TV and put the A/C fan to ON. We also put a note on the door with our cell number and ask to be called if the dogs are barking inappropriatly in addition we alwasy ask the neighbors if they were barking. So far we have not had a problem.

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Great post Ray. I'd like to add something if I may :etiquette. I have mentioned this in relation to service dogs but I saw something the while sitting at an outdoor cafe in Palm Springs that along with this post gave me a thought.

 

This photo appears on Jin's page. It sort of relates.

 

th_SDMannersjog_zps549d2893.jpg.

 

This is for for the safety of everyone here whenever you are around any dog.

 

Do not reach for any dog. Let them come up to you and give you a sniff. If they touch you then it's okay to scratch under the chin. Do not pat on the head. Dog's don't like that.

Never pat or touch a dog unless they are aware of you. Surprising a dog is another good way to get bit.

Never put your face close to a dog.

Don't stare a dog down, that's a very aggressive move on your part.

Watch a dogs mizsle and lips. If the lips curl even a little curls just move your hand away.

 

Friendly happy dogs that want to meet you will wag tails, ears forwards may have mouth open and be smiling.

Unfriendly or unhappy dogs have ears back, tails tucked or wrapped around the left side of their bodies.

 

Lastly just because a dog barks does not mean it's being aggressive. There are many reasons dogs bark and growl, from love to warnings. It takes practice but you can definitely tell how a dogs feels by it's vocalizations.

 

 

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Just a couple of additions to a great post-

When you go to any vet, have them scan the chip. Only takes an extra couple of seconds. They DO go bad occasionally, mine did. Home Again paid for a new one AND the vet's charge to put it in

Try to get your dog comfortable with handling their feet. Ours are because they were shown. If you trim the hair between the pads with a blunt nosed scissor, it really cuts down on the dirt tracked in to the rig.

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I live in northeastern Pa, the state parks here do not allow any over night camping with pets. You can only bring a pet for day use only. So yes there are many campgrounds and state parks that do not allow pets.

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I love Beagles. Then again I love all Dogs. My very first dog as a youngster was a Beagle.

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Has anyone ever had to produce a health certificate or vet records/proof of vaccination when traveling from state to state?

No. But when we found a need to board our dog for a few days or just a few hours most good boarders will require a vaccination certificate and a statement by a vet of good health. We have gone on adventures that took us away for a whole day and one that took us away over night, so boarding was necessary.

Also, illness or an accident that left one or both of us in the hospital could conceivably create the same need. It just seems prudent to be prepared.

David

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Something I just found out yesterday......we've moved, so wanted to take Oliver to a different groomer than the one we had been using. They told us we need to provide proof of all the necessary vaccinations/shots and gave me a list of them. When I went to find my documentation, I realized he hadn't been given a Bordetella vaccination (kennel cough). I called our vet, who is now 40 minutes away, and was told that they only need this if they're going to be boarded or groomed, so it's not a "usual" vaccination that is given. Our former groomer had never asked for any documentation, which I now know is not wise (hence they don't fall into the category David mentioned as "good" groomers). We had to quickly dash 40 minutes to our vet to get him a Bordetella vac in order to have him seen by the new groomer. So, a heads up to make sure you have a Bordetella vac in addition to DHPP & rabies. As stated above, an illness or accident could make it necessary to unexpectedly board your pet while you're on the road, and if you don't have all the vacs, it could be a huge hassle.

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Great post Ray. I'd like to add something if I may :etiquette. I have mentioned this in relation to service dogs but I saw something the while sitting at an outdoor cafe in Palm Springs that along with this post gave me a thought.

 

This photo appears on Jin's page. It sort of relates.

 

th_SDMannersjog_zps549d2893.jpg.

 

This is for for the safety of everyone here whenever you are around any dog.

 

Do not reach for any dog. Let them come up to you and give you a sniff. If they touch you then it's okay to scratch under the chin. Do not pat on the head. Dog's don't like that.

Never pat or touch a dog unless they are aware of you. Surprising a dog is another good way to get bit.

Never put your face close to a dog.

Don't stare a dog down, that's a very aggressive move on your part.

Watch a dogs mizsle and lips. If the lips curl even a little curls just move your hand away.

 

Friendly happy dogs that want to meet you will wag tails, ears forwards may have mouth open and be smiling.

Unfriendly or unhappy dogs have ears back, tails tucked or wrapped around the left side of their bodies.

 

Lastly just because a dog barks does not mean it's being aggressive. There are many reasons dogs bark and growl, from love to warnings. It takes practice but you can definitely tell how a dogs feels by it's vocalizations.

Thanks, those are some good tips regarding dog behavior.

 

Ray

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Something I just found out yesterday......we've moved, so wanted to take Oliver to a different groomer than the one we had been using. They told us we need to provide proof of all the necessary vaccinations/shots and gave me a list of them. When I went to find my documentation, I realized he hadn't been given a Bordetella vaccination (kennel cough). I called our vet, who is now 40 minutes away, and was told that they only need this if they're going to be boarded or groomed, so it's not a "usual" vaccination that is given. Our former groomer had never asked for any documentation, which I now know is not wise (hence they don't fall into the category David mentioned as "good" groomers). We had to quickly dash 40 minutes to our vet to get him a Bordetella vac in order to have him seen by the new groomer. So, a heads up to make sure you have a Bordetella vac in addition to DHPP & rabies. As stated above, an illness or accident could make it necessary to unexpectedly board your pet while you're on the road, and if you don't have all the vacs, it could be a huge hassle.

That's a good one to remember, thanks.

 

Ray

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If you take your pet for grooming, any good grooming facility should also ask for proof of at least rabies vacination.

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I have a health passport for Jin I got at Petsmart. It has a service dog team ID card in it, photo copy of his tags and every time he gets a vet visit it's logged in there and signed off by the vet. That includes all of his vaccinations so it's current. Since Jin wears a vest he always has it. At least when he's wearing his green vest he has it. :lol: Every place I've ever taken Jin to be groomed I've been asked for proof of rabies and bortadella vaccinations. I was also asked to provide proof by his trainers whenever we take a class with other dogs.

 

A word about bortadella or kennel cough. A couple of years ago Jin got his vaccinations and 6 weeks later he caught kennel cough at a dogpark. Bortadella doesn't always take so be careful.

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