One of the many truths about the RV community is their love of pets. An article from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), showed over 65% of all RVers bring their pets with them. 93% of those pet people are living in an RV with a dog. So, of course, we wondered: What are the best RVs for traveling with dogs? Here is our list!
- Highland Ridge RV Silverstar Limited Fifth Wheel SF335MBH
- Thor A.C.E. 32.3
- Happier Camper HC1 Travel Trailer
- Cherokee Alpha Wolf Travel Trailer 26RB-L
- Fleetwood Flair 34J
- Newmar Canyon Star 3927
If you look up antique RVs (pre-1945), you’ll see pictures of early campers with their dogs. Anthropologists are continuing to find new insights into the symbiotic relationship early human beings had with proto-dogs within their camps. It can be argued that it’s almost a genetic calling for us to travel with our four-legged fur babies.
In this exploration, we’re going to examine the six best RVs for traveling with dogs. We’ll show you how their specifications and features were tailor-made with your canine companion in mind. While we look through these RVs, there are some tips we’ll share to make everyone’s camping experience rewarding.
RVBlogger’s Best RVs for Traveling With Dogs
1. Highland Ridge RV Silverstar Limited Fifth Wheel SF335MBH: The Pampered Puppy Palace
The SF335MBH is apart of Highland Ridge’s Pet-Friendly Collection. These floorplans include a myriad of features specifically for dogs. The attention to detail makes this the best RV for pets.
This Jayco subsidiary starts with an all-vinyl flooring interior. The outdoor sprayer has hot and cold faucets making “operation clean dog” more comfortable. They keep the floor pet-friendly by putting the heat registers on the lower sidewall, so claws won’t get caught.
Highland Ridge has a food dish station in a drawer that pulls out. They also provide a tie-down feature so your dog can join you when you want to take things outdoors. This fifth wheel and those apart of the pet-friendly collection come with a MyPillow brand dog bed that provides the ultimate comfort for your fur baby.
Main Specs for the Highland Ridge Silverstar Limited Fifth Wheel SF335MBH
- Average Price: $ 82,000
- Sleeps: Up to 8 people
- Length: 37.3 feet
- Fresh Tank: 51 gallons
- Grey Tank: 58 gallons
- Black Tank: 29 gallons
Preparing Your Dog for the RV Lifestyle
Regardless of breed, dogs are naturally territorial. In their mind, you are their human. Their house, yard, food, and toys exist in a certain location. Car rides to the park and other places can be fun adventures when your dog knows they’re returning home at the end of the day.
RVs are a whole other issue. To them, they are moving kennels that keep them away from their territory for long periods of time. If you’re going full-time, their adjustment period can be quite stressful. It’s always a good idea to consult your vet or a dog trainer for training techniques to help normalize your dog to this new way of life.
A common method for more secure dogs is a week to a two-week-long process that slowly introduces them to your RV. The key is a lot of positive reinforcement. You’ll want to normalize the new RV with familiar scents.
- Before you bring your dog out, place their soft toys, bed, and some of your dirty laundry in the RV. It seems weird, but all of these items have familiar scents in them.
- Bring your dog out on their leash and let them explore the outside of the coach. Keep the entry door open and a scent item at the top of the entry. They may not enter on the first day, but keep encouraging them until they climb up on their own.
- Once inside, they’re going to sniff everything, so make sure you secure anything potentially dangerous. If you don’t want them jumping on certain things, place items to block those areas. Make sure you spread scent items throughout the coach to encourage exploration.
- Once comfortable, if your traveling with your dog in a motorhome, turn on the engine and let it idle. Keep the entry door closed. Your dog may become scared, so comfort them and see them through the fear.
- On a different day, drivable or towable, take them on a short trip around the block. Have another person with you to work with your dog so you’re not distracted while driving.
- Over the next couple of days, make your trips a little longer. Within a week, your dog will eventually normalize and may become excited about the RV.
2. Thor A.C.E. 32.3: Puppy’s First RV
Thor calls the A.C.E 32.3 the most pet-friendly motorcoach in their line up. If you’re going to travel with a dog in a motorhome for the first time, this RV is an excellent choice to consider. There are great features on this class A that’s built on a fuel-efficient Class C chassis.
Your best buddy will have their own designated window to watch the world go by in a safe place. The Bird’s Eye Window by the co-pilot’s footwell will keep your dog secure as your traveling. This space is big enough to place a cushioned dog bed without the co-pilot having to contort their legs.
When it’s time to eat, the Kibble Station drawer pulls out from under the shower. This food and water bowl combo has an F.D.A. approved bowl liner to keep their meal safe and sanitary. Thor’s Pet-Link tie-down feature allows you to keep your dog safe when you bring them outside to soak up the sun with you.
Main Specs for the Thor A.C.E. 32.3
- MSRP Price: $140,850
- Sleeps: Up to 6 people
- Length: 33.5 feet
- Fresh Tank: 50 gallons
- Grey Tank: 40 gallons
- Black Tank: 40 gallons
- Fuel Capacity: 80 gallons
How to Find Dog-Friendly Campgrounds
Many RV parks allow dogs, but there is a significant portion that doesn’t allow them. Many campgrounds must follow these restrictions not of their own making in order to stay in business. Local governments and/or insurance companies have regulations the campgrounds must accept.
Directories like Good Sam’s Club or Bring Fido will help you find campgrounds that allow pets in your travel trailer. Each of these sources has criteria that allow you to focus your search solely on if they are pet-friendly. You’ll have the ability to read up on the individual campground’s policy.
If you have questions about their policies, you can call the campground directly. There are instances where dog-owning RVers have contacted the campground owners/managers and worked something out on a case-by-case basis. In these cases, make sure you return the favor by writing them a favorable review.
How to Find Pet Friendly RV Rentals
It’s really easy to find pet friendly RV rentals on Outdoorsy or RVshare. All you have to do is check the pet friendly RV rental filter and voila! All of the dog friendly RV rentals will pop up.
If you have never heard of Outdoorsy or RVshare they are the Airbnb of RV rentals where fellow RVers rent out their RV when they aren’t using them to make a few extra bucks.
3. Happier Camper HC1 Travel Trailer: You and Your Dog Adventuring Together
As you find those desirable campground destinations, if it’s just you and your dog, the HC1 from Happier Camper will be your second best friend. Small SUVs like the Ford Escape won’t have a problem pulling this ultra-lightweight (1,100-pound dry weight) travel trailer. You won’t have a problem configuring the interior for your storage and comfort with its unique interior versatility.
The water-safe fiberglass is easy to clean and doesn’t absorb odors. The front drain makes hosing out puppy messes simple. The low profile allows your dog easy access through the side door or rear hatch.
The Adaptiv system works like Legos so you can lock in the various cubes and specialty pieces however you need them. At night you and your dog can sleep comfortably on the cushions that fit over the cubes. In the morning, while you’re making your breakfast on the kitchenette cube, you can reach into a storage cube for your dog’s morning crunchies.
Main Specs for the Happier Camper HC1
- Base Price: $24,950
- Sleeps: Up to 5 people
- Length: 13 feet
- Fresh Tank: 5 gallons (removable cassettes)
- Grey Tank: 5 gallons (removable cassettes)
- Black Tank: N/A
Best Practices When Camping With Your Dog
Dr. Stanley Coren released a study in 2009 on dog intelligence. He concludes that dogs have the mental capacity of the average human 2- 2 ½-year-old. Many of us would argue that our fur babies are either post-doctoral academics or hopeless infants, depending on the day.
In either case, there are some expected practices campgrounds and other guests ask of those that bring their dogs. Most campgrounds will state these within their rules. These best practices when camping with your dog will keep the camping experience pleasant with your neighbors.
- Always keep your dog on a leash no longer than 6 feet
- Clean up after your dog, even when your in the campground’s dog park
- Bring toys, bones, and other items to keep your dog occupied
- Plan activities with your dog like hiking
- Don’t forget to bring their medication and dog-friendly bug spray
- Locate the closest vet office
- Bring all of your dog’s vaccination, license paperwork, and a good picture in case they get loose
- They will find a way to get dirty, so bring plenty of cleaning supplies
- Never leave your dog outside unattended
- Have a sticker or sign in your window that informs first responders there’s a dog inside
4. Cherokee Alpha Wolf Travel Trailer 26RB-L: Leaders of the Pack
The Alpha Wolf series by Cherokee was the first to create a tie-down system for dogs. This feature was a game-changer in the RV world. It became a great solution for RV dog lovers who needed a way to keep their fur babies safe outside.
The Leash Latch Pet Safety Technology from Cherokee’s Alpha Wolf series (a subsidiary of Forest River) is a triangle latch that’s connected to the RV’s chassis. This gives the latch strength to hold against the strongest of dogs. Even if your English Mastiff starts pulling against her leash seeing the kids come back from the playground, you’ll feel assured she won’t pull free.
This particular model has an open floorplan, so you don’t have counters or other features dividing up the space. The flooring is all vinyl for easy cleaning. The space around the master bed has plenty of room for your Mastiff to lay down for the night if she doesn’t commandeer the full-size sofa.
Main Specs for the Cherokee Alpha Wolf 26RB-L
- Base Price: $24,950
- Sleeps: Between 5- 6 people
- Length: 32.8 feet
- Fresh Tank: 49 gallons
- Grey Tank: 70 gallons
- Black Tank: 35 gallons
Is Your Dog Safe in the RV When You’re Away?
Leaving dogs in your RV alone can create problems. Due to the many complaints in the past, campgrounds are starting to prohibit leaving a pet in an RV alone. Other guests complain about dogs barking at the campground incessantly and pets have died due to heatstroke from electrical outages.
Our article, Is It Safe to Leave a Pet in an RV goes into detail about the possibilities and dangers that happen while you’re away. If you do have to leave, try and keep it to quick trips that aren’t longer than an hour. Problem-solving toys are great solutions to keep your dog quietly occupied.
If you’re going to be longer, making arrangements with a friend to check on your dog is a good idea. If the power goes out, you can instruct them to turn on your generator. Another solution is an auto-start up device that turns your genny on when you lose power.
If you have an RV alarm system, many of them allow you to conduct two-way communication through your mobile device. RV dog owners like to use this feature to check in with their dogs. Between the video and audio, they can interact with their dogs to calm them down.
There are even dog treat dispensers that work in a similar manner with your mobile device. Some can send you text messages when your dog starts barking. You can respond by activating the camera, talking through the device’s speaker, and giving them a treat when they calm down.
5. Fleetwood Flair 34J: The Multi-Dog Bed Motorhome
The Fleetwood Flair 34J is a medium to large-sized dog’s motorhome of choice. There are so many places to lay down and plenty of windows to watch the great outdoors. With the biggest furniture features in this entry-level class A, there’s plenty of places for them to snuggle with you.
The front jackknife sofa gives you and your basset hound buddy plenty of room curl up to watch your favorite show on the 39-inch LED TV. Even if you choose the theatre seating option, they’ll find their spot without pushing you out. Hopefully, your dog will let up for bathroom breaks.
The bottom bunk makes a great dog bed. If your dog must sleep with you, each version of the Flair comes with a king-size bed, so their’s plenty of space for that side sleeping bed buddy. While he’s on the bed, he’ll have a great vantage point to look through the big rear window for his daily squirrel watching.
Main Specs for the Fleetwood Flair 34J
- Average Price: $104,250
- Sleeps: Up to 10 people
- Length: 36 feet
- Fresh Tank: 50 gallons
- Grey Tank: 37 gallons
- Black Tank: 37 gallons
- Fuel Capacity: 80 gallons
Traveling With Your Show Dog
If you watch the Westminster or American Kennel Club Dog Show, you’ve seen competitors from all over the country (or world). Many of them use RVs to travel to competitions. If you do a quick online search, a lot of these dog owners have made sacrificial customizations to their coaches for the stars of the show.
For those looking to upgrade their RV or get into the circuit, a toy hauler could be the best option for you. The garage space has tie-down points that can secure dog kennels when you’re traveling. These RVs keep pets cool in the garage with designated air conditioners just for that space.
The entire space has a slip-resistant floor and wall lining making your grooming mess a cinch to clean. The fold-down benches and removable tables are just what you need to keep your dog at the perfect height while your cutting, clipping, and cleaning them to perfection.
6. Newmar Canyon Star 3927: Your Secret Weapon To The Blue Ribbon
The 8 by 10-foot garage in the 3927 is perfect to prepare your standard poodle. The space comes standard with climate control, electrical outlets for your equipment, and an optional entertainment center to keep track of the event. You’ll never run out of hot water since this is the only model of the Canyon Star that comes with a standard tankless water heater.
At night, if your contender needs to stretch out, The front jackknife sofa measures 74 inches. The exterior and interior storage bays will give you plenty of space for all of your equipment. The garage has washer/dryer hookups if anything needs to be washed in a hurry.
You won’t have to worry if you can’t plug in or turn on your generator. The Canyon Star’s dual house batteries have 120 amp-hours. This will give you plenty of power to finish your grooming regime.
Main Specs for the Newmar Canyon Star 3927
- Average Price: $ 201,000
- Sleeps: Up to people
- Length: 39.11 feet
- Fresh Tank: 75 gallons
- Grey Tank: 60 gallons
- Black Tank: 40 gallons
- Fuel Capacity: 80 gallons
We hope you like our list of the 6 Best RVs for Traveling with Dogs. All of them are great for traveling in your RV with your pets.
Please let us know what you think about the RVs we found. And let us know of your favorite RV for traveling with dogs!