According to Vetstreet, about 61% of RV owners travel with their pets. Of those, 90% have dogs. That is one of the best advantages of having a camper or motorhome. You can bring the whole family with you; even the four-legged members.
If you are in the market to upgrade or buy your first RV, there are a lot of considerations to think about. What amenities are you going to need? How many people does it need to sleep and where are they going to sleep? Are you going to tow, or get a self-contained drivable? If you are bringing your dog, here are some considerations to think about when you choose your next coach.
- Flooring: There are two philosophies when it comes to flooring and dogs. Wood laminate flooring is claw resistant. You do not have to worry about your dogs creating marks on the floor with their nails. It is easier to clean up the dirt and shedded fur. Some still like carpet because it gives the dogs a more comfortable place to lay down, and they have better traction.
- Cloth or leather furniture: Real leather is better when you have dogs. Real leather furniture is thick so it cannot be punctured by your four-legged friend’s claws. It is also easier to clean and repels odors. Cloth furniture, especially microfiber versions, are more durable and can last longer than leather.If your RV has thinner leather or leather substitutes, you may want to place a throw blanket or other protection over your couch or dinette seats to protect them from the dogs claws.
- Crate or bed space: If you crate-trained your dog, or they use a dog bed on the floor, you will want to look over your floor space with the slide-outs pulled out. You will want to find a space that you can place their crate or bed that is not in a high traffic area. If possible, you may want to keep it away from windows and vents, so your dog does not get too hot or cold when they are sleeping or caged up.
- Dog window: Some Class A Diesel Motorhomes have a small window on the front passenger side right above the floor. The technical name of this window is the “dog window.” Some dogs love looking out windows, some do not. The best way to determine this is on car rides. If your dog likes to look out the window in your car, more than likely they are going to want to look out the RV window as well. The great thing about this window is that your dog has their own window that is low to the ground, so if the driver has to hit the brakes suddenly, they are in the co-pilot’s leg well, which is a protected area.
- Outdoor shower: If you have been camping before with young two-legged children, what is one of the universal laws about kids? They get dirty. This is especially true with the four-legged ones as well. Having an outdoor shower can be a real advantage for you. Cleaning up your dogs before they enter your coach can save you a lot of cleaning time inside. Many of the outdoor showers now offer hot and cold water, so you do not have to worry about your dog getting too cold during “operation clean dog.” The only thing you do have to worry about is finding a way to get them to sit still- Good Luck!
- Bathtub versus shower:
If you prefer bathing your dogs inside, having the optional bathtub will make the event more pleasant than the standard shower stall. For those of us that are responsible for keeping the dogs clean, we know that the more space we have, the better. The dogs feel more comfortable, and we humans have more room to operate.
Hey…Where Did My Happy Spot Go?
There are some other considerations you may come up with on your own based on the habits of your own dog. Dogs are adaptable, but keeping their needs in mind can make your RV adventures relaxing.
Many of the new (post- 2008) class A motorhomes have changed the design of the dashboard. In previous years, the dashboard was wide enough for large dogs to jump up on and lay down. To add additional space, manufacturers have narrowed the dashboard and made it difficult for little dogs to get comfortable up there. There are safety concerns about dogs being up there, especially when traveling. Sorry Fido.