Monday, May 29, 2023


Easy tips to help your pet adapt to the RV lifestyle

We don’t need a lot of statistics to tell us that pets are good for our health. They keep us active by taking care of them and they can spark conversations between owners and lead to new relationships. Pets can also operate as protectors or warn us of dangers.

If you do want a couple of stats, The Washington Post reported Americans adopted millions of dogs during the pandemic. A connection is there whether we understand it or not. The University of New Mexico studies revealed pet owners had 30 percent fewer visits to doctors, higher serotonin levels, lower blood pressure and less depression. But we already know this as pet owners!

What we may not know is how to adapt to the RV lifestyle with pets.

What if you have a complicated care arrangement? I know an RV couple that is dedicated to providing information, support and access to resources specifically for animals who have had an amputation. If your pet gets cancer, then what? Another RV couple has a dog recently diagnosed. They look at the positives of RVing with their family pet – that they can travel and stay close to the best care and their dog gets to gently explore life. Try FETCH a Cure for support and education.

Shiba Inu dog on leash watching a large green frog
Our dog, Cozy, enjoying the discoveries of RV living.

No matter what type of pet we travel with, it is important that we do some simple things to ensure their comfort and safety in an RV. Here is a list of things we do and others suggested to us by RV friends with pets to help you and your pets get used to the RV lifestyle:

  • If you need to leave your pet behind in the RV, tape a note to your door that reads, ”Call this number in case of an emergency.” If you can afford to go high-tech, install camera monitors in your RV and use the corresponding app on your phone to monitor temperature and activities.
  • Arrange a spot in the RV that is solely for your pet. They need the security of having a “place to be” in your RV. It is also the spot you can direct them to when they need to be safely tucked away.
  • Watch your pet’s eating habits. Sometimes going into a new environment will disrupt the number of times they eat or the amount. Make adjustments to their food and feeding times slowly so they can adapt.
  • Always carry a full shot record with you. Sometimes you need to show it to RV campgrounds or parks. You want it handy for medical needs or veterinary appointments too.
  • If you have a pet you walk, do NOT let it off the leash. It doesn’t matter how much you think you know them. There are so many extenuating circumstances such as: 1) You don’t know the other animals freely roaming the area, and 2) I can’t tell you how many dogs have attacked our dog and we hear the owner say, “They never do that, I’m so sorry.” It is irrelevant—put them on a leash!
Shiba Inu dog in front of gated pet area with pick up after pet sign
Make sure your pet is protected in shared areas

As a consideration to other RVers, health safety, and for our pets, pick up their waste.  According to DoodyCalls, a dog leaves about 0.75 pounds of poop each day. You might think you are only leaving behind 0.75 pounds of poop because you are only staying at the campground one night. But, there are about 23,000,000 fecal coliform bacteria in 0.75 pounds of dog waste! What is that bacteria? The presence of this bacteria can cause serious intestinal illness and serious kidney disorders in humans. The EPA has labeled dog waste as a pollutant like herbicides, insecticides, oil, grease and other toxic chemicals.  Plus, in most counties, it is the law to pick up poop.

Hopefully, there are some tips here that will help you and your pet get adjusted to the RV lifestyle. You might have some tips of your own you would like to share. Please feel free to do so in the comments below. I’d like to hear them!


Lucinda Belden
Lucinda Belden
Lucinda has been a full-time RVer since 2019. She draws daily inspiration from the full-time RV lifestyle, motorcycling and world travel expeditions. Lucinda is also a part-time Program Director for MyRVRadio, a non-stationary radio station for RVers broadcasting news, events, culture, expert advice, humor, and entertainment. As a skilled entrepreneur, promoter and travel industry consultant, Lucinda also organizes national events for the outdoor industry.


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2 months ago

Hey! We have 2 Shibas! When we move to a new campground they like to walk the whole place to get the lay of the land and check out other dogs. They seem more comfortable after that. And you know how curious they are!

Paula M. Hubbard
2 months ago

I travel with cats, one has traveled since she was a kitten and is perfectly at home in her truck and trailer. The other is a recent addition and has needed time to adjust. For the newbie, blocked off places that were not good, places where she could interfere with retracting the slide, etc. I still let her have her safe space behind the sofa. She started coming out more as she became more comfortable in the trailer. Some of the problems were because the two cats weren’t exactly friends.

2 months ago

Try as we may to get our 3 legged cat to travel comfortably, it has come down to her vet prescribing kitty Valium. Basically 1/3 of a 5mg human Valium. That and her 2 sisters (maltipoo & another cat) cuddling her for comfort. A lot of trauma early in her precious life (ergo lost leg). Not the whole leg tho, still has a 5 inch stub that works more like a boat rudder to help her with quick turns while running.

2 months ago

As a full-timer traveling with a tri-pawed, thank you for the link to the Tri-pawed group. I didn’t know about this resource and appreciate it.

2 months ago

I would also suggest being cautious about the dogs parks where pets are let off-leash; many owners seem to think it is not necessary to pick up after their pets in a dog park!

Bob p
2 months ago

In the pic of her dog in front of the dog walk area unleashed, a violation of her own words, journalism at its finest, do as I say not as I do!

2 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

I think you may be mistaken. Retractable leash is hard to see against the grey pebbles.

Angela Klinger
2 months ago
Reply to  Fox

Yes you are correct. If you blow up the picture you can see the leash 🐾

2 months ago
Reply to  Fox

Agree – dog is definitely leashed in that picture. You can easily see the leash if you click on the pic to make it larger.

Don H
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Blow up the picture – the leash is clearly there…

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