Are you a dog owner thinking about purchasing a RV? There are positives and negatives to RVing with your four legged friend. Following are some items to consider before taking the plunge.
Stop and Smell the Roses (While your dog smells other things!)
When traveling with a dog you will need to stop more often to give them a chance to exercise, drink and have a potty break. While your dog sniffs around for the right place to go, you can enjoy the surroundings and scenery of a place you may have otherwise passed by. Many times your short break will turn into an hour or two stop as you find a trail to hike, a body of water for the dog to enjoy or other attractions.
Keep You Active
Dogs require regular exercise along with their owners. Not all of us are very consistent about getting our daily dose of exercise. There are time when the weather isn’t favorable, we’re lazy or just forgetful about getting outside and being active. None of the reasons matter to your furry friend. Dogs will insist on several walks a day regardless of your feelings or the weather. Visit a campground in the evening and you will find many dog owners taking their dog for a walk after dinner, rather than the alternative of sitting in the RV watching TV.
Dogs are great at protecting their territory. They bark when people walk past your RV, knock on your RV door or otherwise encroach on your camp space. Not always ideal when you are in a crowded campground, but a definite positive when you are boondocking with no one else for miles around.
Dogs Are Great Travel Companions
Dogs are loving, loyal, cuddly, eternally happy, never hold a grudge and are always excited to see you. They make great on the road companions especially for single RV owners. Dogs might rely on us for their basic care needs, but we rely on them for their steadfast devotion and endless positive energy. Dogs provide a huge source of happiness for their owners and have the marvelous ability to turn a casual walk around a freeway rest area lot into a roaming adventure.
Dogs Aren’t Always Welcome
There are places that dogs aren’t allowed. Visiting National Parks is a big negative for pet owning RVers. Typically dogs are only allowed in the parking lots and campgrounds, which severely limits how much of the park you can enjoy with your dog. Other places that dogs are often not allowed are swimming beaches, wildlife areas, historical sites and botanical gardens.
Leaving Them Alone in The RV
As mentioned above there are places your dog is not welcome. While leaving your dog home alone in your conventional home is part of your normal routine, many RVers are concerned about leaving their dog alone in the RV. First of all, the environment around your RV is always changing (different sounds, people walking by etc.) which can make some dogs anxious. Second is you are on vacation and never know what adventures await you while you are away from the RV. You may encounter setbacks (road construction, admission / tour hours different than anticipated, etc) while away from the RV for the day impacting when you can return to your dog and RV. Finally it can put an end to any spontaneity while exploring a big city (staying for dinner, taking in a movie or a play, discovering an interesting museum, etc.) as you have to return to the RV to let the dog out.
RVing In Hot Weather
RVers typically head to the sunny areas to vacation, leaving your dog in the RV while you explore (as in the examples above) where heat becomes a concern. Unlike your home, RVs have a tendency to heat up and can become a potentially dangerous place for dogs. One solution is to leave the air conditioning operating in your absence. But what if the power at the park suddenly goes off (which can easily happen on a hot day when every RVer has their air conditioner on)? Or what if you like enjoying public parks with no hook-ups or boodocking in the wild where battery power can’t run the AC? Leaving windows open can help, but will that be enough cooling and will your RV be secure?
Hair & Dirty Paws
This is a huge element of RVing with a dog. No matter how particular you are about cleaning or how often you brush your dog outside of the RV, there will always be dog hair in the RV and dirt tracked in on those furry paws. Unlike home, the hair is much more noticeable in the small space of a RV. It can be a never ending battle to keep the floors clean and the furniture fur free. Dog owners contemplating a RV purchase will want to consider the type of heat vents in the prospective RV. Floor vents will let copious amounts of dog hair fall through and require regular removal of the vents and vacuuming of the ducts, while wall vents will be virtually trouble free.
Just like RVs, dogs come in all sizes, with some breeds obviously more suited to RVing than others. Large dogs will hog up a bunch of space when sprawled out on the floor of the RV leaving you stepping over them when cooking, making nightly trips to the bathroom, etc. You will also need to find a place to carry / place all of their stuff. Dog food, treats, dishes, toys, dog bed, leashes, etc.
Most dog owners find the positive benefits outweigh the negatives when RVing with their four legged friends, keep the items mentioned above in mind when making your RV purchase and enjoy your time on the road with your dog.