One of the benefits of RV travel is that your pets can enjoy the great outdoors and travel experience with you. According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, pets serve as companions on the road for 61% of RV owners.
One of the many benefits to RV travel is the ability to bring along our dogs. For many people, their dog is more than a pet but a member of the family. This is the case with us and our Shih Tzu Mason & Mini Schnauzer Missy. They are like a furry little children to us. Over years now we have lived and traveled in our fifth wheel and they have gone everywhere with us.
Over the years, we’ve learned a few things to make sharing the rig with our pups a little easier and enjoyable for us both. I hope you find the following tips and advice helpful if you are also planning on RVing with a dog.
Avoid Fabrics in the RV Décor
Unfortunately, many of our best friends tend to smell, drool and shed large amounts of hair. They also have been known to get sick and have the bathroom-related accidents. They are just facts of life when you are a dog. For these reasons if I was buying the rig all over again I would have paid more attention to the amount of fabric present in its décor.
We ended up with two fabric swivel chairs, a sofa with fabric cushions and several areas of short cream colored shag style carpeting. All turned out to be magnets for the dirty spills and doggie odors. We actually have been renovating the interior and top of the list of upgrades with all leather furniture and plan on installing vinyl flooring for easy clean up. This should dramatically reduce our rig cleaning chores and smells.
Removing Pet Smells
Dogs are going to smell up the rig, no doubt about it, some breeds worse than others. Our dogs are not super smelly as breeds go but as other dogs do, they get into some unwanted smells outdoors.
In my attempts to remove smells, we’ve tried many different cleaning products, some claiming to be pet specific and super-duper extra strength, blah blah blah. But in our experiences, a few simple tried and true cleaners do the best job. For fabrics like the furniture and carpeting, I use a little Bissell portable cleaning machine and fill it with a solution of half water then half and half of cleaning vinegar and detergent. For walls and hard flooring, we use good old Pine-Sol.
Ventilation for the Pups
We have found ourselves out dry camping in our RV without the luxury of air conditioning. This is where having a means to properly ventilate the RV becomes very important to our furry companion. We’ve recently installed a powerful vent fan and it has made a huge difference, especially on those days with little or no wind.
If we have to leave our pups in the rig without AC, we open a window and turn on the vent fan creating a nice breeze. Our fan has a built-in thermostat so it automatically comes on as the heat rises.
We also place a wireless thermometer in the RV to keep them safe with the RV would warm up to unsafe temperatures. We had to learn when its safe or not to leave them depending on the weather and how the RV is placed in relation to the sun.
Doggie First Aid Kit
Our final tip for you today is put together a first aid kit specifically for your dog. Your vet should be able to guide you as to what to stock for their personal needs. Examples of things I have in mine are pain medication specially formulated for the dog, allergy medication, doses of flea/tick/heart-worm prevention, vet wrap for bandaging wounds, eye and ear cleaner, etc. Also have the medications ready to go in the proper doses so you don’t have to think about it when the time comes.