Can My Dog Ride in the Travel Trailer?

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Can my dog ride in the travel trailer? As a dog owner who either already has or is thinking about purchasing a travel trailer, it’s a valid question. Should you keep your dog(s) in the trailer or upfront in the truck’s cab while traveling?

Pets in travel trailers and what to do when on the move is a question that pet owners regularly disagree on. There are various aspects to this RV pet safety question including state animal laws, comfort for the dog(s), and safety concerns too. Each of which we’ll touch on in this article.

Read Also: Can Dogs Ride in a Pull Behind Camper?

Can my dog ride in the travel trailer? It’s possible but owners are split on whether it’s preferred or fair to their furry friend. Is it legal to transport a dog in a trailer? Usually, it won’t breach any state laws for dogs, specifically. Most travel restrictions are mostly limited to livestock or wild animals. Whether it’s the safest for your dog to stay in the travel trailer when being towed is up to question. It’s often best to have them in the front cab with you as long they’re wearing a dog harness and/or a dog seat belt.

If you talk with other travel trailer owners who frequently go on weekend trips or stay away for much longer, they’ll have varying opinions on whether one or more dogs should stay while underway.

Read Also: Can Animals Ride in a Towed Vehicle?

To understand this issue, we’ll break it down by sections. This way, it’ll be easier to appreciate the major points and decide what’s right for you and your dog(s).

Is It Legal to Transport a Dog in a Trailer?

The legalities with transporting animals usually differentiate between household pets and livestock. Indeed, transporting dogs in trailers is pretty common for dog breeders but then they have specially-equipped trailers for this purpose including pet enclosures [affiliate link], cooling fans [affiliate link], and other provisions.

Our answer expects that you’re driving (with perhaps a passenger in the front cab) and your dog(s) may be in the travel trailer.

For most states, currently, traveling with pets in a travel trailer is perfectly legal. Your dog(s) can be either situated in a travel trailer or in the truck with you. The situation is not the same if you’re transporting livestock or specific animals that are treated differently due to greater safety concerns.

However, with household dogs, owners can decide what they wish to do. It’s always worth checking up with your local authorities or for the states that you might be traveling through to see if they have any specific laws relating to this. We cannot hope to research every state in this regard, so doing your own research is important.

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Health Regulations to Cover Yourself

Health regulations concerning pets are valid and in place.

To move a pet over state lines, it’s necessary to ensure your dog has the necessary medical tests and appropriate certificates to confirm their health status.

These regulations do vary from state to state, so it’s sensible to look over the relevant state’s website for information to confirm what’s required. Certainly, having a pet rabies tag is important. Health certification is likely needed too. Furthermore, health regulations can vary between animals.

Can My Dog Ride in the Travel Trailer?

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Should Pets Be in Travel Trailers When They’re Moving?

While a dog may lay happily down in their doggie bed and sleep through a long journey, it’s also possible that they may not.

RV Pet Safety is a Concern

If you happen to brake suddenly and if they’re not secured, then they could go flying into the air inside the travel trailer. If the floor doesn’t afford them any grip, then they may slide around on the surface which will be very frightening for them. The bumpier the terrain, the greater the RV pet safety issue will be. Going off-road is even more problematic – in which case, they’re probably better-being upfront and not in the travel trailer.

Worrisome Heat Levels

The heat level can rise precariously in a travel trailer once underway. It’s no longer afforded a parking spot that’s well shaded and may get the full brunt of the midday sun.

A clip-on fan [affiliate link] is a good idea for where your dog will be situated. An overhead MaxxAir Roof Vent Fan [affiliate link] can be set to let more airflow inside. Also, running the AC in the trailer might (or might not) be possible depending on whether the generator to operate it.

Maxxair Vent Corp 00-04000K Maxxfan Plus Vent 14″ 12V (White)

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Any of these cooling systems can become inconveniently clogged up or malfunction without warning. Depending on the duration between stops, your dog may get significantly hotter and you could be unaware of it. Dogs are at risk of heatstroke in these situations. However, an RV pet temperature monitor linked to a smartphone app can be set to alert you to rising temperatures inside the trailer.

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Cooling Temperatures May Also Be a Factor

With traveling pets in a travel trailer within chillier states or during the fall or winter months, cooler temperatures may become a concern.

Certainly, ensure that there’s enough heat to keep your dog warm enough. Also, including comfortable bedding, blankets, and situating them away from any air drafts is important too.

Pet Monitoring is Worthwhile

For most travel trailer owners, they won’t have an RV pet monitor or RV pet camera [affiliate link] inside the travel trailer to keep an eye on them while underway. Therefore, if that’s your situation, then you won’t see what’s going on back there until you pull off the road. This means you’re driving blind which is never a good idea.

Waggle RV/Dog Safety Temperature & Humidity Sensor (4G Verizon Cellular with 24/7 Email/SMS Alerts)

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Is It Better to Have Your Dog in the Front Cab?

When using a truck or similar vehicle to tow the travel trailer behind, then another option is to have your dog(s) in the cab with you.

Sometimes, like with a Ford F-250 model, the back seat in the cab is large enough to accommodate a large dog breed dog comfortably. Or, a couple of smaller dogs.

While it may be safer in your mind to keep your dog up front with you where you can keep an eye on them, there are added risks with doing this. A dog that won’t settle down and relax during a trip or likes to sit up in the passenger seat is problematic. They can distract you while driving or may even want to lay on your lap. While comforting, this isn’t at all safe.

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Best Travel Trailer Solutions for Dog Owners

Dog owners have two clear choices:

Secure your dog in the travel trailer – When keeping your dog in the travel trailer, they should be placed inside an RV dog crate like this one [affiliate link]. It will prevent them from moving around during transit. They can be given food, water, and soft bedding to be more comfortable.

Keep your dog in the truck or cab with you – It’s possible to have your dog in the truck but they must be in a dog harness or use a dog seat belt [affiliate link] to keep them in one position. This way, they can enjoy the heating or cooling in the cab to keep them comfortable but won’t become a danger to either themselves or you while driving.

Life Stages LS-1636 Single Door Folding Crate for Intermediate Dogs(Up to 70lbs)

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Closing Thoughts

Do bear in mind that some travel trailer owners are unfortunate enough to have accidents. It can cause an unsecured dog to fly uncontrollably into the trailer’s walls or inside the cab sometimes hitting the front seat or windscreen. It’s akin to driving without wearing a seatbelt which flings the driver and/or passengers forward due to the sudden deceleration.

A beloved pet can become a flying hazard at this time. However, when you are a “pet parent” and secure them properly either inside the travel trailer or the truck/cab, they can be just as safe as you.

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