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5 Rules for RVing with Pets

5 Rules for RVing with Pets

RVing can be a great way to travel without leaving your furry companions at home or at a boarding facility, which can often stress out your pet (and you). Before you go RVing with pets, however, there are several things you need to consider to prepare yourself and your pet for a successful RV road trip.

rving with pets

In our years of RVing with our two dogs Mocha and Bella, we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, including losing Bella when she jumped out of the truck during a thunderstorm.  

Today we want to share with you the Top 5 Rules for RVing with Pets.  

#1. Pick Up After Your Pet – Always!

Always, always, always pick up after your pet! This is by far the #1 complaint about pet owners and can get pets banned from certain areas that were once enjoyed by all. 

Leaving your pet’s waste can also spread diseases to both other pets and to wildlife and humans that share the same area.

Don’t spoil it for everyone else – pick up your dog’s poop!

#2. Keep Your Pets On Leashes

Many municipalities have leash laws which mean your pet MUST be on a leash, and breaking these laws can have serious consequences.

Without looking up every town’s laws, there are several great reasons that you should just keep your pet on a leash at all times unless you are in a dedicated off-leash dog park:

Leash Laws For Your Pet’s Safety

Off-leash, a dog can roam freely and may encounter other dogs who might not be dog-friendly – even if these dogs are being kept on-leash. 

They could also encounter wild animals that they aren’t used to interacting with and may be injured or killed – think skunks, porcupines, elk, or bears.

They could also find something rotten or poisonous to eat – if you aren’t there to keep them from getting to it in the first place pets are notoriously fast at scarfing down something they shouldn’t!

Leash laws also frequently apply to RVing cats!

Leash Laws For Your Safety

If your pet gets into trouble off-leash, you may get in harm’s way to get your pet out of it. If they get in a fight with another dog or animal, it can be dangerous to break it up.

Pets have also been known to lead dangerous animals, like bears, moose, etc, back to their owners. 

dogs on leashes

#3. Check Campground & Park Rules

All campgrounds are different, but everyone we’ve ever gone to has had rules for pets. 

Some have limits on the number of pets, some have pet breed restrictions, and others flat-out prohibit them altogether. 

Every campground has formal leash rules, too.

Can I Bring My Dog to National Parks & State Parks?

​As for visiting State and National Parks, almost all of these natural places also prohibit pets on trails and outside of developed areas. Pets can leave scents that disrupt the ecosystem, spread disease, and even injure or kill wildlife. These are the very thing the parks are intended to protect and preserve.

​For National Parks, check out the National Park Service Website. Here you can learn where your pet can go, which parks allow what, and how your furry friend can become a BARK Ranger.

#4. Identification Tags & Microchips

Even if you’re pet is good at “coming home,” when traveling in unfamiliar places they might lose their way. 

It is absolutely critical that your pets have collars and identification tags. This helps reunite them with you should you become separated during your travels. 

​Microchips are also incredibly important – what if your pet loses its collar? 

Microchips can be read by animal control offices, humane societies, and veterinarians, so your pet’s home can be found even if they slip their collar. You can easily get them done at any veterinary office, PetSmart (that has the Banfield Vet inside), and sometimes even at low-cost vaccination clinics. You can find these held periodically at Tractor Supply or pet stores, through services such as VIP Pet Care. 

That said, there is still the potential that you can become separated from your pet. Read our article Lost Your Pet RVing? Here’s How To Find Them so you know what to do if it ever happens.

camping dog with leash and identification tags

#5. Don’t Leave Your Pets In Hot Vehicles

Temperatures can quickly rise to uncomfortable and deadly heights in vehicles left in the sun – even if the windows are cracked! NEVER leave your pet unattended in a vehicle.

Similarly, your RV can heat up in the sun. Unless you’re hooked up to power and can run vent fans and/or the A/C, you shouldn’t leave your pet in your RV alone. While RVs typically have better insulation, they can still get pretty warm pretty fast. Try to avoid parking in the direct sun and without proper ventilation. 

traveling with pets

More Resources for RVing with Pets:

There are many more tips and etiquette guidelines to RVing with pets that we encourage you to read about. Here are a couple of places you can start exploring:

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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Vicki Conley

Monday 3rd of August 2020

We have enjoyed Go North. We were going to go this summer but because of Covid we had to cancel. We bought a Lance 1172 year ago for this trip. Ho hum. Anyway what brand dog backseat hammock did you buy? Thanks Vicki

Caitlin Morton

Monday 3rd of August 2020

Hey Vicki! Thanks so much for the kind words and glad you enjoyed Go North! You can find the exact pet hammock we used here:

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