The Wandering RV

Close this search box.

RVing With Pets: What You Need to Know (2023 Edition)

Sponsors help keep our quality content free!

Sponsors help keep our quality content free!

Let’s start with some visualization…

Close your eyes and picture yourself sitting outside of an RV.

Now imagine hearing the waves crash against the sand, or the birds chirping in nature, or even cars driving in the distance.

But, wait… what just nudged your leg? Aren’t you supposed to be relaxing?

Your pet is demanding attention. At this moment you think:

I could never go RVing with pets. It wouldn’t work!

Not to call you on your bluff, but you are able to travel with pets if you spend the time researching how to go about doing it (and, of course, you have to be patient with them).

Whether you have one, two, or three pets, you’re able to live (or vacation) in an RV stress-free.

In this guide, I’ll teach you how. 

Pro Tip: These tips apply whether you’re staying in your own RV or renting an RV!

Table of Contents

Note: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This doesn’t cost you any more than normal. Read our disclaimer for more info.

MarCELL RV Temperature Monitoring System to Keep Pets Safe

Keep your pets safe!

One of the most common threats to pets in RVs is heat exhaustion. In just 70°F, the sun can cause the inside of your RV to reach over 100°F! Keep your pets safe from power outages and extreme heats with a MarCELL temperature monitoring system.

*Use code wanderingrv25 for $25 off your purchase
of a MarCELL Temperature Monitoring System!

RVing with Dogs & Cats: The Essentials

So, you want to spend some time in an RV. That’s awesome – you won’t regret the RV life! Before you spend an extended period of time in an RV though, we recommend you check out our RVing for Beginners guide. It’ll teach you how to live in an RV (which will make you feel more comfortable bringing your pets into it with you).

You will regret putting your traveling dreams on hold if you decide you “can’t do it” because you “have to take care of your pets” and “they just won’t like it”.

All animals are able to adapt to their surroundings if you give them time to get used to the changes.

Imagine hiking, kayaking, and sightseeing with your furry companion. Doesn’t it sound like a blast? This can happen frequently if you adapt to an RV traveling lifestyle!

Now, let’s talk about how to do all that with your pet while staying safe.

5 RV Pet Safety Tips

When it comes to traveling, pets can be somewhat temperamental.

I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that bringing a pet with you on the road is one of the best and worst things in the world.

Living out of an RV with a pet is, dare I say it, harder than you may think.

You see, you’re not just uprooting your life…

…you’re uprooting theirs, too.

Think about where you’re living now. Are you in an apartment? A house? How many rooms do you have? Are your pets active? Do they sometimes annoy you because they run around the house too much?

Now think about the RV you’re going to be staying in. There’s a huge difference in square footage and space!

Thankfully, we’ve thought about random (yet important) things most people would forget about so you don’t have to.

Which is why we’re going to provide you with 5 RV tips to follow when traveling with dogs, cats, and other critters that we’ve found extremely helpful to have on hand.

1. Rules of the road.

Whether you’re full-timing, part-timing, or just wanting to go on a road trip, your RV is your home. It may feel natural to allow your pets to roam about when you’re driving to your destination, but this is one of the most dangerous things you can do.

You could be as confident as you want when it comes to your driving skills but let’s face it, not everyone follows the speed limit signs (and don’t get me started on how many people try to pass you when you’re in an RV).

If you were to get into an accident and your pet was roaming about, they could be seriously injured. Also, pets that are out and about may come up to you while you’re driving and distract you.

At the end of this article, I’m providing a list of essential RV accessories you should have on hand when traveling with pets. Be sure to check it out—you’ll find some nifty items to use while partaking in a pet friendly road trip!!

2. Remember the essentials.

I’m a firm believer in writing lists. Not because they make me feel productive (or because I love to “check off” the items I have) but because they help me remember everything I need.

Keeping a “Pet Essentials” list is a must.

Sure, you know your pet needs food and water (and treats – if they’re lucky). But what about…

  • Their leash?
  • Their waste pick-up bags?
  • Their litter?
  • Their toys?
  • Their brush?
  • Their crate?
  • Their fuzzy sweater that you love (but they could care less about)?

If you’re able to remember all of this without writing it down and hanging it on the fridge, well… kudos to you.

3. Take your pet to the DMV (kidding, but make sure they have an updated ID).

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard,

“Hey! Have you seen my {insert animal here}? They ran outside and I can’t find them!”

To which we usually reply:

“Oh no! I haven’t, unfortunately. Is your phone number on your pet’s tag in case someone finds them? Are they chipped?”

Eight out of ten times, we get a “No” to each question. Which breaks our hearts every single time.

Guys, if you’re going to travel with your pets… please make sure you chip them or give them a proper ID tag.

Pet ID tag

Go to your local Walmart or PetSmart, find the pet ID kiosk, type in their name on one side with your name and phone number on the other, print it, stick it on their collar, and voilà! Your pet has his/her own personal ID.

4. Keep your pet’s information with you at all times.

This includes but is not limited to…

  • Vaccination records – a lot of campgrounds ask to see recent vaccination records (to ensure your pet’s health is up to par). Such as rabies shots!
  • Proof of ownership – God forbid your pet runs away and the wrong person finds him/her. They can easily say the pet is theirs, leaving you baffled and screwed unless you can prove otherwise. Let’s hope this never happens to you!
  • Photographs – you’d be surprised at how many people don’t keep any pictures of their pets while on the road! While having pictures on your phone is great, print one or two good-quality pictures of your pet in case they run away.

These are the top three documents I keep on hand at all times, but if your pets have any allergies or medical ailments be sure to bring the paperwork for that, too. And don’t forget the first aid kit!

5. Incorporate exercise into your new lifestyle!

Regardless of who your travel companion is, driving is a drag. After a while, no matter what you try to do to pass the time, driving becomes irritating and the sound of your partner’s voice will set you on edge.

No one wants to be cooped up in a car for hours on end, your pets included. Sure, the frequent bathroom break stops are nice, but unless you plan to stay at a rest area for an hour or two to play with your dog (or allow your cat to wander the RV), they’ll wind up being bored out of their minds, too.

Being stagnant at a campground is no different. While you’re out exploring new areas, your pets are locked inside your RV patiently waiting for you to come home to play with them.

If you’re traveling with a dog, make it a point to take daily morning and evening (and maybe afternoon) walks. Allow them to explore the area! If they want to sniff that bush ten times, by all means, let them!

Keep in mind, if you’ve never taken your pet on a long road trip before, they’ll get really antsy!

If the campground you’re staying at is big enough (and the owners don’t mind your dog running around), play fetch for a while! There might even be a dog park nearby.

And, whether you believe it or not, cats love going for walks outside.

It may take your cat a while to get accustomed to a leash and harness, but in due time, they’ll come to love it.

Now that I’ve gone over the tips and tricks of RVing with a pet, let’s talk about the five most asked questions asked…

RVing With Pets FAQs

While we’re only providing you with five questions, there are tons of RV pet forums filled with questions that you may have.

The following are questions most people ask us, which is why we feel confident enough to answer them!

Can I leave my dog or cat unattended in an RV at a campground?

The short and sweet answer?

You can!

The longer, more in-depth answer?

You probably shouldn’t leave them unattended for too long.

Both dogs and cats need interaction! Not to mention, dogs need potty breaks and a decent amount of time outdoors. They may get some serious separation anxiety if left alone for too long.

It’s more than okay to take the occasional day trip into the mountains (or city), just be sure to give your fluffy companion a lot of love and attention when you get back!

Cats on the other hand? They’d probably like a bit of alone time! Luna sure does 🙂

Disclaimer: Even on cooler sunny days, the inside of your RV can reach over 100°F! Make sure you leave your AC on. We also recommend getting a MarCELL temperature monitoring system to keep track of the temperature. If the power goes out or the temperature reaches a certain threshold (set by you), it will alert you so you can get back to the RV ASAP and save your pet’s life. Use code Wandering20 for $20 off!

How can I find dog friendly RV parks near me?

Dog Friendly is a great place to find pet friendly RV parks in the following areas:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • South America
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Oceania
  • Africa
  • Middle East

Dog friendly RV parks

More often than not, if a dog is allowed at a campground, a cat will be able to tag along too.

It’s always a good idea to ask the campground owners before automatically assuming, though! Just because these campgrounds are dog friendly doesn’t necessarily mean they’re 100% pet friendly.

What should I do if my pet gets carsick?

While you can’t exactly prevent motion sickness the first time around, there are a few key signs to look out for in hopes to prevent it in the future, such as:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Non-stop whining
  • Consistent yawning
  • General uneasiness

While some people are keen on using essential oils to calm their pets down, they can be detrimental to their health. I’ve heard of people who dab a bit of lavender essential oil on their pets collar before traveling and, each time I hear this, I cringe.

Oils can penetrate through your pet’s skin, causing multiple skin abrasions and in extreme cases, brain damage. If you’re looking into essential oils, make sure you do your research and talk to your veterinarian before using them.

A few other ways you can prevent car sickness in pets:

  • Make frequent stops. Give your pets a few minutes to get some fresh air, eat and drink food, and use the bathroom.
  • Peppermints work wonders. Allow your dog to eat a peppermint treat to calm down. Multiple vets have said that peppermint eases nerves but, like always, talk to your veterinarian before giving your animal peppermints.
  • Crack the windows in your RV. Those daunting “Next rest area in 150 miles” signs make me want to cry. I can only imagine how Luna must feel! If you’re unable to stop for a few minutes to get some fresh air, crack a window in your RV for your pets. Don’t forget to stop at gas stations to let your pets use the potty! If all else fails, find a safe place to pull over for a few minutes.

I’ve also heard that the “Cone of Shame” works really well when RVing with dogs. I’ve never tested it, but there are so many success stories that I couldn’t help but throw it in!


E-Collars don’t have to be wide and plastic, they can be warm and fluffy!

Pro Tip: Be sure to look up where the local vet is wherever you’re staying in case of serious emergencies. Write their number and address down and stick it on the fridge.

Is there a way to eliminate the smell of cat litter?

Cat litter is a pain in the ass… in more ways than one.

First of all, cat litter smells. It doesn’t matter what brand you purchase, it’ll smell eventually. To eliminate the smell a little bit, I buy cat litter with Glade Tough Odor Solutions.

Second, I’m not sure if Luna is the only cat that does this, but whenever he finishes his business, he flicks litter around! It’s almost as if he grabs litter in his paws and throws it around like confetti.

To help with this, I always keep a small handheld vacuum while traveling. It comes in handy, that’s for sure!


Can I travel with smaller animals?

Traveling with smaller animals can be a challenge. Finding the counter space to put their enclosure on would prove to be harder than you originally thought (and running a heat lamp in an RV is going to make the room a bit warmer than you might like it to be).

However, if you’re comfortable with lizards, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, etc. in your RV, by all means, bring them!

RV Accessories for Dogs

1. Car Seat Belt Harness

As I mentioned in the RV tips section, practicing pet safety is a must when RVing with pets. For dogs who aren’t used to kennel training, I recommend buying this adjustable car seat harness. Another option is this booster seat.

Simply attach it to your pet’s harness and buckle it in! It’s easy as pie. It also works with the belt buckles in most RV couches.

2. Outdoor Bathing Tool

Outdoor shower for dogs

Dogs love getting into things we’d really rather them stay away from (mud, ponds, etc.). Because not all RVs come with a bathtub, bathing your pup might cause a few problems.

Thankfully, this outdoor bathing tool is able to connect directly to your water hookup in just a few seconds.

3. GoPro Harness

Pet Go-Pro harness

If you have a GoPro (or you plan on getting one), I highly recommend getting your pup a GoPro harness. It allows you to see what your pet sees (which is super awesome because they tend to look at things that you wouldn’t notice).

Pro tip: While this is a great harness, I wouldn’t put it on your pup unless you were with them (or watching them closely). Otherwise, they may roll over and break it!

4. Toy Bin

Dog toy storage bin

So, I put this under the “Dog” category because dogs naturally have more toys than cats. However… Luna would be lost without his toys and I’m sure he’s not the only spoiled cat with far too many toys!

Pro Tip: This toy bin is easily storable, which is what an RV owner needs (especially if you have little space to work with).

5. LED Harness

 LED harness for dogs

I’d go as far to say that this is a must if you and your dog take nighttime walks (which I’m sure all dog owners do).

You can never be too careful, and by getting your dog an LED harness, drivers will be able to spot you and your pup easily!

6. Travel Water Bottle

Whether you plan on taking your dogs for a hike in the woods or just want something easily accessible during rest areas, this travel water bottle will come in handy.

You’re able to purchase this in multiple colors, too!

7. Hiking Accessory Pack

There’s nothing better than taking a walk (or hike) with your pets. However, if you leave your camper without dog food and plenty of water (and maybe a toy), your pets will start dragging after a while.

This hiking pack has room for toys, comes with a food dish and water bottle, and is super comfortable.

8. K-9 Float Coat

K-9 Float Coat

I see so many people kayaking with their dogs, but too few have float jackets on! I know, I know…

Why would I put my dog in a float jacket when he/she can swim?

Because, dear reader, your pup’s legs will eventually get tired and not all dogs can swim well. I’d rather you (and your pup) be safe than sorry!

9. Collapsible Food and Water Bowls

Collapsible bowls for dogs

I am such a fan of collapsible bowls. They’re easy to clean and when I’m back on the road, I can easily collapse them to store them in the cupboard.

Related Post —

10. Just For Fun – Doggy Selfie Stick

Pooch selfie stick

This dog selfie ball is friggin’ genius. If only they made one for cats with a bird attached instead of a tennis ball…

RV Accessories for Cats

1. Portable Cat Carrier

Portable cat carrier

As all cat owners know, cats are far too antsy for a strap-in harness. This portable cat carrier is perfect for cats of all sizes and is big enough to put their litter box inside of it!

2. Litter Trap Mat

Litter trap mat

This litter-trapping mat is absolutely amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, we still have to vacuum around his litter box daily, but it’s so much easier to manage with this mat.

3. Grooming Kit

There’s nothing worse than your cat stepping all over you with their talons claws digging into your skin.

This grooming kit will help you keep your pets’ nails in check! If you don’t have one already, get one. It’s a total game changer.

4. Playful Cat Scratcher

Because you’re not always going to be in your RV with your cat, it’s important to have something that will make them feel like they’re being pampered and pet enough.

If you spoil your cat with an abundance of love and they don’t have anything to simulate their senses, they may feel a bit of separation anxiety until you return!

This cat scratching grooming kit is amazing and your cat may start to prefer this over your pets (probably not though)!

5. Cat Harness

Cat harness with leash

If your cat has an unexplainable need to go outside and you’re willing to take the time needed to leash train your furry feline, a cat harness may be a good buy for you!

6. Outdoor Enclosure

If you want your cat to enjoy the great outdoors but don’t think they’ll be comfortable walking on a leash, this outdoor enclosure will come in handy.

Bonus: The fluffy mat is included with this outdoor enclosure. Score!

7. Mini Organic Cat Grass

Mini Organic Cat Grass

Some cats are just not interested in being outdoors. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring the outdoors to them, though!

This grass will grow within five days of planting (according to the seller).

8. Catit Senses 2.0 Wellness Center

Catit Senses 2.0 Wellness Center

With this wellness center, you’re able to store catnip in the green thing on the top (which will promote kittens and cats to clean and massage their gums trying to get it).

Pamper your furry feline with this wellness center and they’ll be forever grateful!

9. Travel Cat Backpack

Want to go on an adventure with your travel cat? Duh! This travel backpack is perfect for cats of all sizes, but be warned… if your cat is a bit on the heavy side, you may end up hurting your back on your hike!

10. Just for Fun: Wine Catnip Toys

Wine Catnip Toys

After a long day of traveling, both you and your cat will need to unwind. While you’re able to drink a bottle glass of wine, your cat is not.

These wine shaped catnip treats are the next best thing, though! Plus, they’re funny and will make guests laugh when they see your cat playing with them.

RV Accessories for Small Critters

1. Critter carrier

Small pet carrier

This critter carrier will allow you to bring your hamster, mouse, chinchilla, guinea pig, and practically any other small animal outside without having them freak out in your hands.

2. Critter playpen

This critter playpen is fun, easy to set up, and will allow your pet to play outside without accidentally running away. Another soft option here.

Your critter’s favorite thing may be to go outside and play in the leaves, but you’d never know if you never take them outside!

3. Little critter harness and leash

Harness and leash for small critters

I don’t know about you, but this is one of the cutest pictures I’ve ever seen in my life.

This harness and leash is perfect for hedgehogs, guinea pigs, etc. Just be careful putting it on—I’m not sure what they’d think of this at first!

Keep your pets safe!

Marcell Temperature Monitoring System

One of the most common threats to pets in RVs is heat exhaustion. In just 70°F, the sun can cause the inside of your RV to reach over 100°F! Keep your pets safe from power outages and extreme heats with a MarCELL temperature monitoring system.

*Use code Wandering25 for $25 off your purchase!

That’s all, folks!

We’ve reached the end of this guide to RVing with pets. Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot and you feel better about traveling with your furry critters!

But now, it’s your turn!

What pet accessories do you bring along when RVing? Do you have any tips and tricks to share when traveling with pets? What do your pets like the most about the RV life?

Drop a comment below!

Read Next: 30 RV Experts Reveal Their Must-Have Camper Accessories

Latest Article


These help keep our quality content free!

Keep Reading

Related Article

Our Sponsors

Thanks for reading! Make sure to check our some of our sponsors below, all revenue we get is used to produce quality content for fans of the RV lifestyle like you!

Sign Up for Our Newsletter