How to Make Your RV Pet Friendly (and Why You Should)

Josh SchukmanJanuary 22, 2024

How to Make Your RV Pet Friendly (and Why You Should)

Did you know that 32% of renters looking on Outdoorsy are sniffing out pet-friendly rigs? We even built in a search filter that people can click to only see rigs where Fido is welcome. 

What this means for us hosts is that figuring out the right ways to make our rigs furball-friendly (without opening them to excessive damage) can be a winning strategy to get more exposure and more bookings. 

In this post, we’ll break down the how and the why of making your RV pet-friendly while keeping it in good condition.

Pet friendly campervan

Create a Pet Corner

Space is at a premium in an RV, but even a dog nook under a campervan couch goes a long way to giving your guest’s pets a place to sprawl out.

Get creative about places for the pooch to nest. For example, many RVs have storage compartments under things like closets and cabinets that can be repurposed as fun pet cubbies. Don’t be afraid to remove a cabinet door so pets can easily get into their space.  

Encourage Frequent Breaks

If your renters have never traveled in an RV with their pets, be sure to remind them to enjoy the scenery along the way by making frequent stops to let animal legs stretch out. These stops will also encourage animals to answer nature’s call outside your rig. 

You could even put fun signs around your rig reminding people of the importance of pet pit stops. As a general rule, the more outdoor time you can encourage for your guest’s pets, the better protected your rig will be. 

Create One Spot For All Pet Things

While you may not be able to do this 100% (e.g. a hook to hold the leash might be best by the front door), provide a dedicated section where all things pet can be stored. That way, your guests can keep everything they need in an easy-to-access place without having to search all around the rig. 

Create Easy Pet Access Into and Out of Your RV

Most RVs feature aluminum steps coated with anti-skid tape to help humans safely get in and out of the rig. But these surfaces can be harder for cats and dogs to use. That’s where carpet pieces can come in handy. 

All-weather carpet strips like these are a plug-and-play option to make this happen. 

Dog on the beach

Provide Ways to Keep Pets Secure When Moving

Your RV might feel like a home on wheels to you, but pets usually perceive it as an unsteady environment.

That’s why pet seat belt harnesses like these are an awesome amenity to provide your guests. You could also offer a pet crate like these and a way for your guests to anchor it to something in the RV so Fido can feel safe over the road.

They even make pet car seats like these that not only keep animals safe, they also allow our furry friends to sit elevated so they can see outside. 

Provide Pets With a View

One of the best reasons to RV is to take in the expansive views over the road that you can’t get by flying. 

Animals love seeing the sights too, so be sure you have adjustable window shades and blinds so they can see out. You may even want to provide extra cushions or pillows that are specifically for animals to sit on and see out. 

Offer Furball Sleeping Spaces

Dog and cat beds like these are easy and affordable amenities that’ll go a long way with your pet-loving guests. 

No matter how you swing it, finding a way to create a specific sleeping space for pets will create happy guests and happy animals. 

Pet photo album

Don’t Let Your Guests Leave Pets Alone in Your RV

As a general rule, you shouldn’t allow your guests to leave their pets unattended in your RV. That said, there will be times at certain rest stops and restaurants where this may be inevitable. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to educate your guests on proper pet procedure when it comes to pitstops like these. It never hurts to add a few friendly reminder notes around your RV about this too. 

You also could provide a wireless RV temperature monitor like this one. Use caution if offering these though because you certainly don’t want to encourage your guests to leave pets behind for very long.  

Preventing Damage to Pet-Friendly RVs

One of the biggest reasons hosts might be afraid of listing their RV as pet-friendly is because they fear damage. Animals can poo where they shouldn’t poo, pee where they shouldn’t pee, and claw where they shouldn’t claw. 

Dog and owner on a pier

Here are the main ways to make this less likely:

  1. Communication is (even more) key — Communicating with your renters is always crucial — and even more so with a pet-friendly rig. Ask lots of questions of your guest to get an understanding of their pet’s behavior, their travel experience, and general cleanliness.

    Don’t be afraid to be very clear about your expectations and what their pets can and cannot do.
  2. Signage is your best friend — No matter how many convos you have with your guest, it’ll only help to have additional messages that they see in the moment where it matters.

    Put friendly reminders in your rig about not leaving pets unattended, about securing them when traveling, and the locations of the pet sections of your rig.
  3. Security deposit check — Security deposits are designed to protect both of you in the event of damage to your rig. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your security deposit settings before going pet-friendly. Make sure it’s set to an amount that’ll protect you in the unlikely event of a pet mess.

    Be sure to also see what other pet-friendly rigs in your area are charging for security deposits to ensure you don’t price it so high that you turn people away. 
  4. Provide cleaning materials — Most pet messes can be eradicated if they’re tackled fast. Pack some pet-specific cleaning supplies in your rig and show your guests where they’re at so they can clean up in a flash. 

People love traveling with their pets. By considering ways to make your rig pet-friendly, you can get more exposure to these folks for your RV rental. Stick with the tips above to get that set in the right way. 

Josh and his wife gallivanted all over the country in an '88 Airstream for 4+ years of full-time RVing. They made an unexpected pitstop in Montana in 2020 and haven't left since. That's because they got hooked on the glamping resort they run by Glacier National Park. Fittingly, they keep up their RVing love by renting out vintage Airstreams and other retro RVs to travelers hitting Montana.

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