When we tell people we RV full-time, they’re usually surprised. When we tell them we RVing with dogs – three large dogs, they think we’re crazy. And somedays it is crazy, but we wouldn’t do this trip without them. Here are our 7 favorite products for RVing with dogs.
Aerial Dog Runs
Before we were full-time RVing, we would go on weekend trips and always see people RVing with dogs who had their leash attached to a line between two trees. The dog could walk around without getting tangled, and the owner didn’t have to worry about the dog getting away.
We knew we wanted to have these aerial dog runs (we call them zip lines) for the dogs when we hit the road and planned to make them ourselves. Well if you’re preparing to move into an RV and travel full-time, you know how hectic it gets. We simply ran out of time, but we found exactly what we needed for less than $10. So we bought one of these for each dog: Pet Champion Large Reflective Tie Out Cable for Dogs
These zip lines have been great when we’re drying camping in the woods and even at State Parks. We can typically find enough trees close by to give each dog a little personal space. It’s so nice to leash them up first thing in the morning, so they can get outside before we’re ready to walk them.
If you’re traveling with a dog (or three), I can’t recommend these enough. Just make sure you use them with a harness, so you don’t have to worry about them pulling too hard on their collars.
The Garmin Collars – we bought the most expensive track and train collars out there for a few reasons. They are shock collars, but more importantly, they have GPS tracking, so we can “see” where all three dogs are.
Luke bird hunts with Winnie. When she goes running off into a field with grass that’s taller than her, we need to know where she’s at. Once she goes on point (meaning she’s found a bird), the remote let’s him know.
Our dogs are kinda crazy when they’re running around together, and we’re out numbered. Plus, I don’t 100% trust them to come back right when they’re called. Since we’re in a new spot almost every week, it’s just more comforting. We can put the collars on and walk them off leash. They can run around and get their crazies out without me worrying about them getting too far away. The Garmin remote shows them on a map with exactly how many yards away each dog is.
I love Garmin. We’ve had brands of training collars before, but they didn’t hold up. Living at the beach where the dogs would run around the island and swim in saltwater puts a lot of wear and tear on them. We’ve been really happy with the Garmin collars (and our Garmin RV GPS and my Garmin Vivomove watch)… just sayin!
If your dog comes when called the first time, you may not need to get the super expensive ones, but they have other options. Also, if you plan on using the shock feature of the collars, it’s important for you, as the owner, to be trained.
We adopted Max when he was four, and his previous owner apparently did not use the collar correctly with him. The first time we put it on him (the collar wasn’t even turned on), you could tell he was terrified. With a little retraining and positive reinforcement, he associates the collar with “run free” time. I mean, look at the smile!
Most collars come with a feature that let’s you give the dog a little tone/beep noise instead of a shock. Usually, we can give the dogs a little beep if they are not listening or too far away, and they’ll come trotting back.
It’s an expensive piece of dog gear, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind.
When I first saw the cooling mats in a Camping World, I was a little skeptical, and the weather was still plenty cool. Fast forward to the beginning on July, and it was reaching 100 degrees. Those mats started looking better and better. We finally decided to give it a try, and surprisingly enough, they work.
With a little pressure, you can feel the cooling gel in the mat. They don’t have to be in the fridge or anything. While it’s not extremely cold, it’s much more refreshing than the couch or the floor.
Hudson occasionally scratches it to make it “softer” or “more comfortable,” and we haven’t had any issues with it tearing. Well worth the $25 if you’re traveling to warm climates or have a hot-natured pup. Check them out on Amazon: Indoor Self Cooling Pet Cool Mat
Collapsible Travel Bowls
I love these little travel bowls: Premium Collapsible BPA Free Travel Dog Bowl with Carabiner! They come in a pack of 3, which is perfect if you have three dogs. You can also get them in a single or double pack, but for less than $10, you can get three bowls, just in case you lose one.
These dog bowls are collapsible, so they don’t take up storage room in the RV. They come with a carabiner, so you can just clip them onto you backpack or dog leash when heading out for a hike or walk around town. And they are lightweight and BPA free. Only the best for these puppers.
Water Bowl Mat
This Platinum Pets Food water bowl mat is a must.
We leave the dogs’ water bowl on this mat even on travel days, and it stays put. Of course, we leave the bowl about a fourth of the way full so it doesn’t slosh, but the bowl and mat themselves don’t slide. I think it’s magic.
The other thing I love about this mat is it collects Hudson slobber. I think the dog actually drinks about half of what he laps up. The rest just falls out of his mouth.
Whether you are RVing with dogs or not, you need a Furminator. I can’t image how much dog hair we’d have in the RV if we didn’t use this FURminator deShedding Brush. I think I could brush the dogs for days, and hair would still come off.
We’ve gone from hot to cold and back to hot climates a few times, so their coats don’t know whether it’s summer or winter. It leads to a lot of shedding.
The Furminator does an amazing job getting that extra hair off. It’s worth the money; believe me!
Luckily, all three dogs love getting baths. The only problem is we rarely have an endless water supply. I always try to give them a bath before we leave a place with hook ups, but that’s not often enough.
To keep them fresh and clean, I bought these all natural pet wipes: Snap Naps Natural Pet Wipes. It’s amazing how dirty those wipes are when we’re done wiping the dogs. The best part is they smell like lemongrass. My stinky dogs turn into mini air fresheners for the RV.
Bonus RVing with Dogs Product
A Vacuum Cleaner
As I’m sure you can imagine, no matter what we do, there’s always going to be a layer of dog hair. Why couldn’t just one of our dogs be a shed-free breed?
If you’re RVing with dogs that shed even just a little bit, may I recommend a broom and a vacuum cleaner? After a decent amount of research on inexpensive, small vacuum cleaners, I found the Dirt Devil Vacuum Cleaner Vibe 3-in-1 Vacuum Cleaner. For the most part, it does the job. It’s not great on upholstery, but it was only $20.
One day we’ll upgrade to the Dyson. But for now, we’ll just vacuum every other day.
We love taking our dogs on this adventure with us. Sure it’s a bit more work, but I couldn’t image it any other way. If you RV with dogs, share your favorite products and tips in the comments.
P.S. This post does contain a few affiliate links. Basically, if you purchase one of these products for your dog, you’ll help us add to Hudson, Max and Winnie’s dog treat fund. Don’t worry, we’ll never recommend a product that we (and the dogs) don’t love.