Road trips and camping with dogs and cats can be easy with a good plan. We’ve been traveling with our dogs in an RV for over seven years and have met many others who travel with their pets, too. However, if you’ve never traveled with your pet this way, you may understandably have some questions about what the best RV is for pets and how to make them feel at home. That’s why we’re laying out the best RV setup for pets in this article.
Keep reading to learn what type of RV is conducive to taking pets along and what kind of setup is necessary. Buckle up, and let’s get going!
Can You Bring Pets In Your RV?
An RV is a recreational vehicle that has living quarters. It typically has a seating area, kitchen, one or more beds, and a bathroom. They come in various shapes and sizes. Some RVs are motorized, while others are pulled behind a vehicle. Their length ranges from under 20 feet to over 40 feet. And some expand wider, providing additional living space with slideouts or having features like outdoor kitchens.
You can easily have pets in an RV. And it’s one of the best ways to travel with dogs, cats, and other small animals because having your home on wheels avoids checking into hotels with pets. It also allows for a temperature-controlled space for them to stay in when you go to the store, restaurant, or area attraction.
What Is the Best RV for Pets?
Since RVs vary in size and features, finding the right option for you and your pets depends on your situation and personal preferences. For example, you may be more comfortable driving a motorhome than towing a travel trailer. But you also want to consider how many pets and people you’ll travel with. Packing in two adults, three kids, and three large dogs into a 19-foot campervan will be overcrowded before anyone can find a seat. So, let’s look at the different RV types to help determine which are best for pets.
Motorhomes are motorized RVs. There are varying sizes of motorhomes, from a large Class A that can be up to 45 feet long to a more compact Class B or campervan that can be as short as 19 feet.
Motorhomes are ideal for traveling with pets because their living space is accessible even when you’re driving down the road. They’re usually the best RVs for dogs and cats, as they can lay in their bed during transport and get to their water or food. Cats can get to their litter boxes.
Although, if your dog or cat is sensitive to vibrations and noises, these vehicles can be stressful for them. Our dog, Luna, gets very nervous on travel days because she hates the sound and feel of the motorhome hitting bumps in the road. She prefers riding in a truck. Our other dog, Solar, couldn’t care less about moving days.
A fifth wheel is a pull-behind RV with a hitch that attaches to the bed of a truck. They can range from 19 feet to over 40 feet and vary in weight. People like fifth wheels because they feel a bit more like an apartment, as they usually have high ceilings in the living area and a cozy vibe.
The most popular size of fifth wheels is around 35-40 feet long with slide-outs. These are excellent for RVing with pets. There’s plenty of room for everyone to sit and walk around. Travel days are just like going for a ride in the truck for the pets.
25-foot or Longer Travel Trailer or Camper
Travel trailers and campers are also pull-behind RVs. They’re anywhere from 10 feet long to around 40 feet. We suggest that travel trailers 25 feet or longer are best for taking pets along. Unless you’re traveling with one cat or a small dog, a camper under 25 feet can get pretty crowded for animals needing room to move around indoors.
When you’re choosing an RV, imagine sitting in a campground on a rainy day. You’ll want to ensure there’s enough room for your pets without everyone getting claustrophobic within the first 15 minutes!
Do Dogs Travel Well in RVs?
It depends on the dog, but dogs generally travel well in RVs. The best RV for pets is one that they feel comfortable in. If your dog is new to RVing, make a short trip to test it out first. Get your pup comfortable with the new surroundings and campsites. Try to keep regular meal times, walks, and bedtime routines.
If your dog does not seem to like travel days (like Luna) or gets motion sick, then talking to your vet or to a dog trainer may help you create a controlled and structured way to approach travel days. Medications can help but may leave your dog feeling groggy later in the day. Crate training can also help make them feel safe and secure. Some dogs may prefer riding in a truck rather than a motorhome, or vice versa.
What Is the Best RV Setup for Traveling With Pets?
Ensuring your pets are comfortable when traveling in an RV is crucial. Take the time to set up the RV so that your dog or cat has space and all the conveniences of home.
Creating the best RV indoor space setup for pets will increase your ability to relax while traveling. We recommend emulating the space your dog or cat has at home as much as possible. Bring some of their toys along, their favorite bed or blanket, and put their food and water bowls in a convenient location. For cats, a litter box that’s easy to travel with is essential. And if your dog is used to being kenneled, we recommend taking a crate along in the RV as well.
Outdoor space when RVing can change each location you travel to, so keeping a routine and the same basic setup on your campsite will help your pet relax. For example, bring an outdoor bed for your dog and have a tie out. Train your pup where you’ll hookup them up to the tie out and where you’ll let them back in the RV.
Pack enough dog gear when RVing. For example, leashes and harnesses for hiking and outdoor water bowls are handy. Also, bring plenty of poop bags because it’s vital to pick up after your dog when traveling.
Car Seats for Cats and Dogs
Some cats and dogs may struggle with anxiety while riding in a vehicle. So, whether you travel in a motorized RV or a pull-behind, consider a car seat for your pet. It can help ease their stress and keep them snug in one place, which may also keep the driver from being distracted. Pet car seats can attach to almost any seat with a seat belt. And some have a strap that goes around the back of the seat to secure it in place.
Can You Live Full-time in an RV With Pets?
Many people live full-time in RVs with pets. We have for several years! It’s very similar to living in a traditional house with pets, except you’re likely on the move more often and have smaller square footage. That’s why the best RV setups for pets we discuss in this article are recommended.
Living in an RV with a dog, cat, or other small domesticated animal is great for companionship. It’s also a good way to meet others when you’re traveling. For example, at dog parks.
Did you know? Lee Asher traveled full-time in an RV with his rescue dogs before founding the Asher House Sanctuary, a rescue internet sensation.
Can You Leave Your Dog or Cat Unattended in a RV?
While you can technically leave your dog or cat unattended in an RV, temperature control is extremely important. Make sure you have the ability to control the heat or air conditioning when you’re away from the RV to keep it at a comfortable temperature for your pet. If you can’t guarantee they won’t be too hot or too cold, we recommend not leaving them. Remember, an RV can heat up just like a car without ventilation or air conditioning.
Some campgrounds have rules again leaving your pet unattended in an RV. So, you’ll want to be sure to read the policies. And, if your dog barks when you’re away, be respectful and considerate of your neighbors. They likely don’t want to listen to a barking dog all day when their campsite is only 10 feet away from yours.
Before you hit the road, be sure to memorize the 5 Golden Rules of RVing with Dogs.
RVing Is the Perfect Way to Travel With Pets
RVing with pets can be a lot of fun! Once you have put together the best RV setup for your dog or cat, they’ll likely get as excited as you to go on a road trip. And having your fur baby by your side while traveling creates memories to last a lifetime.
Are you ready to plan an RV trip with pets? We’d love to see some photos of your trip. Tag us on Instagram @HypePets.
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Our poor pup is terrified of the diesel engine rumble. Nothing seems to help but we did get some sedatives from the vet we use for long days. It helps a bit.
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