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Best RVs for dogs

Top RVs that Make Traveling with Dogs Easier

Published on December 21st, 2022
This post was updated on February 3rd, 2024

Dogs are man’s best friend, and it’s natural for many to see them as family members, too. Some dog owners enjoy taking their canine companions with them during road trips. Among the best ways to do so is with an RV.

Pet-friendly RVs are the best solution to traveling with dogs while they keep your furry friends safe and secure. However, not every RV is suitable for pets. You need to consider the features of RVs best for dogs.

What Is a Pet-Friendly RV?

A pet friendly RV

Pet-friendly RVs are vehicles that allow our dogs and other pets to live inside without getting hurt or being afflicted by inconveniences. While living in an RV is always somewhat inconvenient, pet-friendly RVs try to make the owners’ lives easier. Therefore, it’s crucial to have these features:

  • Pet-friendly entrances and exits
  • Temperature control
  • Enough space to play
  • Pet-friendly flooring

If an RV fulfills most of these requirements and more, it can be considered pet-friendly. However, not all RVs are created equal. You can reach out to an RV transport company to help you choose the best that suits your needs.

Pet-Friendly RV Features

Here are the primary requirements you should look out for when choosing a pet-friendly RV for your canine companion. Having all of them is unnecessary, but the more features are on an RV, the better it tends to be. 

Accessibility

Dogs, young and old, are prone to injury, especially if the RV’s entrance is too high for them. Sometimes, your pup or senior canine can get a little excited and jump out. This act can hurt them if they don’t land properly. 

Other times, giant steps make entering or disembarking the RV more challenging. Sadly, most RVs aren’t inherently designed for pet legs, but an alternative is to get some dog ramps. These devices are highly beneficial for your pets. 

Otherwise, look for RVs with retractable steps, also called magic steps. They’re usually not very steep and can be great for all but the tiniest dogs. Tiny breeds are best carried onto the RV unless they can make it up the retractable stairs. 

Temperature Control

Traveling with a pet

Modern RVs allow owners to control the internal temperature, which means the model you’re looking at should have this feature. Nevertheless, it’s best to have a control device that allows you to monitor the exact temperature inside. Dogs can get overheated sooner than we think, and it’s necessary to prevent that from happening. 

Breeds like huskies have thicker coats, which necessitate lower internal temperatures. Other dogs are bred for warmer weather, and you need to accommodate them. 

Temperature control must extend to the entire RV area so as not to put your dogs at risk of excessive heat or cold. Temperature monitors are usually aftermarket products, and installing one is in your best interest. 

Non-Carpeted Floors

Even the most well-trained dogs aren’t prone to bathroom accidents, so pet-friendly RVs are almost always free from carpets. Carpets can also attract hair if your dog is shedding, making the vehicle difficult to clean unless you spend hours removing hairs only to find several more. Pee and poo odors are easily retained, making fixed carpet floors a nightmare.

That’s why a hard floor is much better for pets. They’re much easier to clean and don’t attract hair. Plastics don’t absorb foul smells, and you can clear the air with an air freshener in no time. 

Common hard floor materials are tiles, wood paneling, and vinyl floors. These are easier to clean. A removable small stain-resistant carpet is acceptable. 

Similarly, beds and couches in the RV should be stain-resistant. These can be made of vinyl or synthetic leather. 

Overall, hard floors and pet-friendly furniture will only make life in the RV more pleasant. It’s a massive factor in deciding the perfect RV. 

Space

Camp with a dog

It’s not advised to take dogs with you if the RV is too small. These creatures need some form of mental stimulation during long drives, and if you have enough space for them to jump and run around, they’ll stay happy. 

Elderly dogs that don’t move much are an exception, but allowing them to walk around is still healthy and fun. It’s good for their health, and you can also spend a short break with your lovely dogs that way. 

Cleaning

Pet-friendly RVs should have a wet bath if you want to clean them inside the bathroom. There exists the option of outdoor baths, which are a better option since you might not want to mix up shampoos. Some RVs allow users to use a hose extension and bathe their pooches outdoors. 

Toy Storage Compartments

Keeping toys in the RV helps prevent dogs from becoming bored. Although having storage compartments is beneficial, they shouldn’t be your main focus. Similarly, built-in food bowls or dishes are not essential, as they can be replaced with the bowls preferred by your dog.

The Top 5 RVs for Dogs

An RV for dogs

Here are the top 5 RVs that house your canine family comfortably alongside your human family. We’ll also cover the details of why they make the cut. 

1. A.C.E. Motorhome

The Class A A.C.E Motorhome is one of the best RVs that dog lovers could possibly have. It has enough space for a small family plus more than one dog. Besides features geared towards humans, there are plenty of pet-friendly components inside. 

The flooring is residential vinyl, a material that’s easy to clean and maintain. That way, you only need a vacuum cleaner and mop to make everything sparkling clean. 

Sometimes, securing your dog to the vehicle is necessary, and the A.C.E. has a multipurpose pet tie-down. Your pooch can also enjoy meals from the pull-out Kibble Station, which holds food and water in a safe spot. No need to worry about spills and treats all across the floor from humps and potholes anymore. 

The passenger seat has a window specifically for furry friends. If your pup is curious about the surroundings, this window is perfect for it. 

With an extra-wide entrance, all pets can quickly enter or exit the RV. Squeezing isn’t necessary, and there’s a drawer close by that can hold leashes and other objects for going outside. 

The 29G model has a rear bath ensuite, which makes it easier to give your dog a bath. There’s no outdoor bathing option, but this excellent shower keeps everyone clean and fresh.

There are optional upgrades like a solar charging system or a gas generator. 

A full kitchen, WiFi extender, and TV will keep the owner and guests entertained. There’s a reason the A.C.E is considered a premium pet-friendly RV. Everything inside almost screams “for dogs.”

A.C.E. Class A Gas Motorhome (Video)

2. Coachmen Northern Spirit 3272BH

The Coachmen Northern Spirit 3272BH RV is designed for multiple pets or housing a large dog. It has more than enough extra room to keep everyone comfortable. The whole family and household pooch won’t feel cramped at all. 

The laminated aluminum floor makes cleaning light work, especially if accidents occur. It doesn’t retain any foul smells. 

To keep everyone cool, there’s a dual-duct air conditioning system. That way, there won’t be any risk of heatstroke or hypothermia. Your dogs won’t feel any outside weather at all.

The dining area is compact, but you can find sliding food and water bowls under the dinette seats. You won’t have to worry about food and water making a mess on the floor anymore. 

Having two entrances is great for all RV inhabitants, dogs included. Where the Northern Spirit shines is the exterior pet-friendly features. There’s a clip for dog leashes outside.

Moreover, to clean your pooch, you can use the dog wash while it’s secured to the RV. Relax, and don’t be afraid to spend quality time with your dog. The dog wash is a standard feature on all models, too. 

This RV has two bedrooms, and the private bedroom has a queen bed. The second one has bunk mats and a tri-fold sofa. A family of four can stay inside without complaining about a lack of space.

For cooking, there’s a three-burner cooktop and steel sink. It’s not difficult to handle mealtimes during road trips. 

As you can see, the Coachmen Northern Spirit is a pet-friendly RV worth every dollar spent. There are optional upgrades that make it even better.

Coachmen Northern Spirit 3272BH (Video)

3. Highland Ridge LF335MBH

The Highland Ridge LF335MBH is a fifth-wheel RV built for customers who wish to travel with dogs and cats. It’s a budget model that boasts plenty of space without compromise. You’ll love the freedom of having one.

This fifth wheel has slide-out bowls for dog food and water, though they’re positioned under the fridge. It may be slightly less human-friendly, but the dogs aren’t going to complain about a steady food supply. The drawer prevents any messes on the hard vinyl floor.

The manufacturers mounted them on the walls to prevent claws from catching on vents. RV vents are usually found on the floor, but this design can damage your dog’s claws if they get caught. That way, the AC system will stay intact without sustaining unnecessary damage. 

An indoor shower is available to keep your precious pooch clean. There’s no outdoor wash feature, but this shower is more than adequate. 

A queen-size bed and private room are perfect for those who need extra space. Your dog can easily join you in bed or find a cozy corner to sleep in. There’s more than enough room to play inside, too. 

Having enough storage capacity is another issue some RVs face, but not this one. There are closets and several storage compartments to stow anything you need for the journey ahead. 

The LF335MBH is a comfortable RV for humans and pets, as it feels somewhat like a small studio apartment with everything you need. Consider getting it if you want to travel with your pet dog.

Highland Ridge Light 5th LF335MBH (Video)

4. Grand Design Imagine 2600RB

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The Grand Design Imagine 2600RB caters to families comprising two people and possibly two dogs. It features a standard queen bed and a tri-fold sofa, with the bed area enhanced by surrounding cabinets and a docking station for an unparalleled journey on the road. Moreover, its design is notably pet-friendly, as detailed below.

The entryway has a spot where you can hand dog leashes. While this is great for securing your puppy, most owners will use it to shower their dogs. A spray port outside is connected to the bathroom, allowing you to have fun giving your dog a shower. 

To prevent dog claws from catching on the floor vents, Grand Designed opted to mount them on the walls instead. The air conditioning systems are fragile and should be kept away from all possible hazards. That includes a curious dog’s paws. 

Your dogs can eat from the kick-out feeding bowl that prevents messes. While there’s a vinyl floor, avoiding spillage is always better. You can spend more time driving and relaxing than cleaning up. 

Inside, you have a three-burner cooktop and microwave for warm meals. Clean your produce and meat with the sink nearby, while the pantry can store dry foods for long periods. There isn’t a fridge, so avoiding perishable foods for too long is better and prevents rotten smells.

The spacious interior will provide lots of fun for your dogs, especially if you bring their favorite toys along. It’s no wonder many consider this RV pet-friendly. 

Grand Design Imagine 2600RB Travel Trailer (Video)

5. Dutchmen Aerolite 294RKSS

The Dutchmen Aerolite 294RKSS is a travel trailer that is designed for families who want to bring their pets along. It has a king-size bed and one sofa bed, more than enough space for couples or someone who wants plenty of room for themselves. It has a refrigerator to store perishable foods as well.

Your dogs can stay in the in-door kennel if you select that option. You can even bathe them in the pet-friendly tub indoors or use the exterior shower. 

In other aspects, the Aerolite is a comfortable RV. It has everything a family will need on a road trip, like a pantry, a full kitchen, and more. Cabinets are included for storage, too.

As a budget RV, this model is more than suitable for your dogs and other pets. It can sleep six at most, proof of its spacious interior. 

Dutchmen Aerolite 294 RKSS Travel Trailer (Video)

Tips for Traveling With Your Dog in an RV

No matter how pet-friendly these RVs are, it would be best never to forget these essential tips. Safety is your highest priority, and you don’t want your furry friend to get hurt. In addition, being prepared will let you enjoy your trip fully. 

Bring a Crate

There’s no telling how many potholes you’ll run into, and RVs don’t come with pet seatbelts at all. That’s why keeping your dog in a crate or carrier is more effective at preventing injury. Place a blanket inside the container for maximum comfort.

There should be some food and water inside the pet carrier as well. Extra points if you remember to throw some toys inside so your dog doesn’t get too bored. 

Remember Pet Supplies

Your dog shouldn’t starve or get thirsty, and you should triple-check if there’s enough dog food before leaving the house. If you’re worried, you can always leave a backup supply that you swap out every so often. Don’t forget food, even if the road trip lasts only a few days.

Towels, leashes, and other essential equipment that come with caring for a dog shouldn’t be ignored either. You don’t want to be caught lacking something.

Pack a Bed

Your dog may be skittish or confused when being introduced to an RV. To prevent too many negative emotions, consider bringing your dog’s favorite bed with you. Your pup can always sleep tight in its cozy and familiar bed when you call it a night. 

Check Pet Policies Ahead of Time

A woman traveling into Mexico with her pet

If you’re camping, don’t forget to call ahead and ask if dogs are welcome. Not every venue allows for dogs, and some prohibit certain breeds from visiting. If this information isn’t on the website, calling or emailing before you set out will usually help.

Look for Local Vets

If your dog requires medical attention, it’s best to research where the closest vet is. You can perform the search yourself or ask your vet for anyone they trust. There’s no telling what can happen during the trip, and being prepared to visit the vet is necessary.

Beware the Wildlife

Birds and squirrels can activate your pooch’s hunting instincts, and you don’t want your fur baby to dash off tracking something. You might run into a predatory animal this way, and it’s not a fun experience in the least. Always have your dog secured and nearby.

Go Prepared

Dog-friendly RVs like the ones we covered are very comfortable for your precious fur baby, especially if they come with features that pamper your little pooch.

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