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Dogs and Full-time RVing

(Are dogs allowed in campgrounds and RV parks?)

A soon to be full-time RVing dog.

A soon to be full-time RVing dog.

How many RV parks allow you to bring dogs? We would like to start this year as RVers, but have dogs that are a part of the family and they would have to go, too. How receptive are the parks?

Coleen, the RVing editor replies:

Hi Susie,

Many campgrounds and RV parks allow dogs. We've traveled with a dog and at least one cat since day one. We've never had a hard time finding to a place to stay with them.

When you are looking at the listing in campground directories, at park brochures, or on their websites, look for the term, "Pet Friendly" or "Dog Friendly." They'll like provide information on any restrictions, possibly the rules, and on special amenities they may offer such as a dog run.

There are some campgrounds that prohibit dogs altogether and others that have pet restrictions. I think the most common restriction is limiting the number of pets per RV, such as no more than two or three. Some parks discriminate by breed, banning Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, or other breeds with bad reputations. Oddly enough, some parks restrict dogs according to size, allowing only those that weigh less than a specified weight.

Most parks that allow pets have common sense rules. Pick up after your pets messes. Keep them inside your rig, inside a fenced area, or on a
short leash. Keep them reasonably quiet. Keep them out of buildings and away from the pool.

Some parks have special amenities for dogs. A growing number actually cater to dogs. Some parks have areas where you may unleash your dogs to let them run. Other amenities include a doggie bathhouse, wading pool for dogs, hiking trails, grooming stations, dog walking service, and even obedience training and agility classes.

We've stayed at a park that provided pet sitting while we were gone for several days on a side trip. Our dog and cats were able to stay in the comfort and security of our home. Campground staff tended to them, including taking the dog out for walks throughout the day.

You probably already have these, but just a reminder that it is important that your pooches have collars and ID tags, and proof of vaccinations (especially up to date rabies vaccination). I think it is a good idea to have them microchipped, so in case they get lost it will be easier for the person who finds them to get in touch with you. You'll also want to have copies of your pet's medical history and the contact information for your current veterinarian.

For additional information, check our RVing, Traveling, and Camping with Pets index page, that you'll find by clicking here.

Go to the RV Life and Travel blog.

Comments for Dogs and Full-time RVing

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We will always have a pet...
by: Barb & Tom

Colleen and Bob, we can definitely feel your pain.

We are now on our second full-timing dog. The first (Shasta) was about ten years old when we first started full-timing and she was never very comfortable when we were traveling (probably due to years of only traveling to the vet's office), but just fine when we were parked. She was with us until she was 13 years old and it was very difficult to lose her.

Early in our full-timing with Shasta we traveled a great deal and on two occasions in the Perry, FL area, we lost her. One time we were going for a walk and unbeknownst to us she followed us. After a couple of hours of sheer panic, we found her across a busy street being fed and loved on by one and all. A couple of years later in the same general area, she got out of our fifth wheel when we were gassing up and we drove off without her. About 30 min. later we realized she was missing, went back and rode bikes around town looking for her with me saying, "We will be living here until or unless we find her!" And there she was, sitting on a street corner next to the person who found her and waiting for her owners to return (dog people are wonderfully understanding!). After that, when we drove through that area we never stopped -- we were afraid she was trying to tell us something and we didn't want to live in Florida.

About five years after Shasta passed, we got a puppy (over my husband's statement, "She's going to be YOUR dog!). You can guess the rest -- she likes me, but she loves him -- and the feeling is returned! Her name is Lexie, she is a mixed-breed, she is 11 years old, and she is totally relaxed with full-timing. She knows she doesn't go outside unless she is on a leash or in an exercise pen (we carry three exercise pens with us that can be connected into a "fenced yard" as space allows). We carry her health/vaccination records with us and use local vets whenever we need them. She is on heartworm and flea meds because we are occasionally in areas where they can be an issue. I could go on-and-on about how sweet and loving she is and about how happy she always is to see us, whether we're gone five minutes or five hours, but you get the picture.

We realize that although it's devistatingly painful when we lose them, we personally will most likely never be without a pet.

Tom and Barb, Lexie's dad and mom

Try 14 Chihuahuas
by: mike C

First of all, all my dogs were all named "Rover," and all wore the same coat going outside.

I also told many parks that I had a dogs barking alarm. Believe it or not, they believed it. lol

My dogs used a potty patch in the front of our 40 foot motor home. We flushed it all. So they never knew how many dogs we had.

With puppies coming and going, we never knew.

Many parks allow dogs; size and breeds can vary. Pits and Rots can be disallowed. I used to own a Rot who thought he was a Chihuahua. He never understood why he could not fit where they did. lol

I could never see not having a dog on the road with you. If they stick their nose up at a dog, that is a camp ground I don't want to stay at anyway.

Kinda Sad, but a Lesson to be Learned
by: To Add More to The Story

We never said why we had 14 dogs: We were burned out of our house by an arsonist, and we did not have insurance.

We bred Chihuahuas. We love our dogs like our kids.

We moved to Arizona and bought land to try to start over. the plan was to live in the RV while building. We have done it before, but not with that many dogs.

Now beyond the work to keep clean, we never realized the peril traveling put our dogs in. One just fell off the bed and broke her neck. Another gave birth going down the road; she was too freaked out.

Then, when we were sitting still, dogs going some what feral on each other. I started getting rid of the violent ones, and just this last month had two more put down (older males). They killed six dogs in six months, including new puppies that were slated to be sold. And these pups were okay and healthy. I have lost some dear pets and I am paying the price now.

We are down to seven and we rent a building and they get rotated around now, because of county laws (another story).

Make sure your dogs are hearty enough for the road. Some of mine were not. And there is nothing funny about this story, since I am crying for my loss.

Dog Laws in Counties and States
by: MIKE C

I wanted to add this info for all, since we were just hit with this recently. Be aware of dog laws in different states. I suggest you check out the dog laws where you are going, if you have several pets.

We got hit with no more than four dogs per property, even when visiting in the county. They were even going to write a 400 dollar ticket. And campground or not, if someone calls on you.... And if you stay six months or more, you are considered a resident of the state and must get all dog shots and licenses for that state. I lucked out since I still have property in TN and everything I have is TN.

Coleen the RVing editor adds:

Yes, laws so vary from place to place, and it is wise to know the laws for an area before you go there. Besides the number of pets allowed, some parks limit pets according to the type or weight of the animal. Some campgrounds, as well as some cities, counties, states, and provinces have breed specific laws, also.

When traveling with a pet, have proof of current vaccinations -- especially rabies shots -- with you. It's also a good idea for each pet to wear a collar with it's rabies tag, license tag, and an ID tag.

Update 2013
by: Mike C

Were down to 7. We got rid of a few and the older ones went of old age. But, not that I want to admit, but my pack is a lot happier and calmer. They are not on edge. We rent a building and 1/2 stay there. We prevent breeding since AZ has far too many chihuahuas. Where I came from, I had them sold before they were born.

We Learned Some More
by: Mike Again

Something all owners need to know about: parvo. It is a quick killer of pets. And even if your dogs are vaccinated against it, they still can get it. Some areas of the country are concentrated with it. Another dog may be a carrier of it and not die from it. It may be in a campground and they might not know it.

Here are some general, everyday precautions to prevent them from ever getting it.
1. Don't let your dog sniff other dog feces.
2. Don't let them eat grass.
3. Don't let them have contact with never met dogs.
4. It can remain in the soil.

As a breeder, we have lost puppies to this in remote and urban areas to parvo.

We Bought A 40-Acre Ranch
by: Mike C

Now our dogs have lots of room to run, if only the owls, hawks, and eagles leave them alone. We gave a puppy to a gentleman, and saw him a year later, and he had lost his older dog to an owl in 5 minutes (small dogs). If you're in remote areas, small dogs equal a rabbit, which equals food. So keep a left eye on them at all times.

Colleen is right and put it very straight. Know where you're going to. In the state I left (TN), there where no limits. Here in Arizona, it is four. And that even may vary from county to county.

If you are planning to stay three months or more in one spot, and someone complains, there are going to be problems. The dog barking alarm really works, 'till it sound triggered. Plus, I have had them check and the others hide and they only see four. I'm down to six.

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