RVing with Dogs – The Bottom Line

Recently, someone asked us how much it actually costs to RV with dogs. My initial response was that it doesn’t cost any more to RV with a dog than it does to live with one at home. After all, no matter where you are, your dog still needs food, medical care, toys, and so on. But after thinking about the issue a little further, I realized that RVing with dogs did, in fact, have a number of hidden costs that aren’t all that noticeable until you actually hit the road. So before you decide to take your pooch on a camping adventure, consider some of the hidden costs described here.

Extra Leashes

For some unknown reason – we always end up buying extra leashes when were on the road. Okay…Okay. It’s not exactly an unknown reason. Our male has a horrible habit of biting his leash in half whenever we’re at a rest stop. The last time it happened, we had pulled into a busy rest stop on a major Interstate. I hooked up his leash and opened the door. As we were carefully navigating around the giant tractor-trailers that packed the area, he grabbed the leash with his back teeth and in one quick bite, freed himself and stood there looking at me. New Leash: $40. Near Heart Attack: Life Changing.

Visit to the Vet

Before you take your dog with you, schedule a trip to the vet. The vet will give them a check up, trim their nails, clean their ears, and make sure they have all their shots. In particular, make sure they’re up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. One reason is that many campsites require written proof that your dog is vaccinated. Consequently, ask your vet for a copy of your dog’s medical records and make sure it shows that they’re up-to-date on their rabies shots. Vet Visit: $150. Peace of Mind: Inestimable.

Heartworm Medication

Since heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, you normally only have to give your dog heartworm medication (i.e., Heartguard™) during the summer months. However, if you take your “snowdog” to warmer places in the winter, you’ll have to give them the medication year round. If you have any doubt about heartworm disease, ask your vet to show you the worm infested dog heart they keep in a jar. The first time I saw one, I bought enough heartworm medication for 12 months. Heartworm Medication: $40/month. Image of Jar: Unforgettable.

Flea and Tick Medication

If you plan on staying in a warm place this winter, purchase plenty of flea and tick medication (Frontline™). Flea and tick medication isn’t cheap but it beats the cost of treating your dog for Lyme disease. Plus, the first time you see a swollen tick embedded into your dog’s head, you’ll be glad that you treated them with the medication because in less than 24 hours – the tick will fall off and die. Flea and Tick Medication: $35/month. Tick-Free Dog: Enough Said.

Travel Bowls, Beds, Toys, and Other Travel Accessories

RVing with a dog takes a little planning as well as some creativity. You’ll need a spill-proof bowl to keep the water in while you’re heading down the road. You’ll also need a dog bed that can fit easily in your RV. Your pooch may snooze on the sofa at home but in an RV, you’ll need all the seating you can find. As a result, look for a pet bed that’s big enough for your dog but compact enough for your RV. Last but not least, get a few special toys for the trip. Your dog will appreciate the fact that they have special toys in their RV. Dog Accessories: $125. Happy Dog: Great.

Extra Pet Food

When you’re on the road, anything can happen. For instance, we were once stuck in a small West Texas town for weeks waiting for repairs. During that time, we had plenty of dog food because we always take a couple extra bags. Never switch your dog’s food while on the road. If you do, you may find yourself cleaning up after a sick dog. Likewise, if you feed your dog snacks, avoid foods that they have never had before. You may love the barbeque ribs in Homer, Louisiana but your dog may not have the enzymes to digest it properly. Start out small to give your dog a chance to get used to the local fare. Extra Dog Food: $40/month. Clean Carpet: Worth Every Penny.

Additional Drinking Water

The easiest way to ensure your dog’s health is to control their water supply. Purchase several gallons of spring water for every trip. That way, if the water quality is questionable where you’re staying – you can still give your dog clean water. Figure on two gallons per day for the average dog. Big breeds will need more. Extra Drinking Water: $45/month. Healthy Dog: Perfect.

Miscellaneous Expenses

You’ve undoubtedly seen the ads for previously owned RVs that always start out “No Pets and No Smoking”. Considering the fact that 75 percent of all RVers have dogs, it makes you wonder about the accuracy of these claims. Nevertheless, some dogs are a little tough on RVs. So be sure to add a little extra to take care of the torn fabric, the extra fur, or the stain on the carpet. Our dog actually ate a seat belt. The price: $75. Miscellaneous Repairs: $275. Used RV Ad that Reads “No Pets and No Smoking”: Of Course. Want to know what the RV camping lifestyle will be like for your dog? See the article Running with the Pack.