Ruffing It: Essential Gear for Van Life Dogs

Van life dogs with male vanlifer on bed n camper van

Ruffing It: Essential Gear for Van Life Dogs

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

22 July 2023

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When it comes to embarking on the van life journey with your beloved canine companion, having the right gear is essential. Just like you, your furry friend deserves a comfortable and safe experience on the road.

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of proper gear for van life dogs and provide an overview of the content that will help you ensure a paw-some adventure for both you and your canine friend.


Embarking on van life with your dog requires careful consideration of their needs and well-being. By equipping yourself with the right gear, you can create a home away from home for your furry friend, providing them with a space that is comfortable, safe, and tailored to their unique requirements.

From cozy beds and temperature regulation to mealtime essentials and cleanliness, we’ll cover it all. Additionally, we’ll delve into tips for keeping van life dogs active, ensuring their health and wellness, and exploring the great outdoors together.


By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of the essential gear needed for dogs in van life, empowering you to make informed choices that enhance your furry friend’s experience. So, let’s dive into the exciting world of van life with dogs and discover the gear that will make your journey a memorable one!

Dog on a car window

📖 Table of Contents


  • Choosing the right size and type of dog bed
  • Insulating the van to regulate temperature
  • Installing window shades for privacy and sun protection
  • Portable dog food and water bowls
  • Storing and organizing dog food
  • Tips for maintaining a consistent feeding schedule
  • Portable dog shower and bathing supplies
  • Choosing the right dog shampoo for limited water usage
  • Keeping a supply of waste bags for responsible disposal
  • Dog seat belts and harnesses for car safety
  • Properly securing crates or carriers during travel
  • Protecting dogs from extreme temperatures and weather conditions
  • Carrying a first aid kit for dogs
  • Regularly checking and maintaining vaccinations
  • Finding veterinary clinics along the travel route
  • Pet-friendly cleaning supplies for accidents or spills
  • Vacuuming and removing dog hair from the van interior
  • Regularly cleaning and inspecting dog gear for wear and tear
  • Basic commands and obedience training for van life
  • Addressing anxiety and stress during travel
  • Using calming aids and tools to manage behavior
  • Strategies for providing regular potty breaks on the road
  • Teaching dogs to use portable or disposable potty systems
  • Cleaning up and disposing of waste responsibly
  • Essential items to include in a dog travel kit
  • Efficient packing techniques to optimize space
  • Carrying extra supplies for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances

🏕️ Creating a Comfortable Space for Van Life Dogs


One of the first considerations when outfitting your van for your furry co-pilot is to provide them with a comfortable space to relax. Choosing the right size and type of dog bed is essential, taking into account your dog’s size, sleeping habits, and any special needs they may have.

Opt for beds like this cushioned, waterproof puppy mattress – available on Amazon. Ideally, van like dogs’ beds need to be easy to clean, compact, and durable enough to withstand the rigors of van life.


Van life dogs bed

Additionally, insulating the van is vital for regulating temperature and ensuring a cozy environment. Adequate insulation helps to keep your dog warm during chilly nights and cool during hot summer days. Installing window shades provides privacy and shields your canine companion from direct sunlight, preventing overheating and discomfort.


🍽️ Mealtime on the Road


Proper nutrition is key to keeping your dog healthy and energized during your van life adventures. Invest in portable dog food and water bowls that are collapsible and easy to clean, making feeding time a breeze. These lightweight bowls are convenient to carry and won’t take up much space in your van.

Storing and organizing dog food is another essential aspect to consider. Opt for airtight containers that keep the food fresh and free from pests. Proper labeling ensures you can easily identify different types of food and expiration dates.

To maintain a consistent feeding schedule, establish a routine and stick to it, offering your furry friend meals at the same time each day. This helps them adjust to the van life routine and reduces any potential digestive issues.


🚰 Keeping Clean and Hygienic


Van life doesn’t mean compromising on cleanliness and hygiene for your canine companion. Portable dog shower and bathing supplies are lifesavers, especially when access to traditional bathing facilities is limited. Look for compact and water-efficient options, such as collapsible showers or dry shampoos, that allow you to keep your dog fresh and clean.

👉 FURemover Cat and Dog

Choosing the right dog shampoo is important when water usage is restricted. Opt for waterless or low-rinse shampoos specifically designed for dogs. These products enable you to maintain their cleanliness without excessive water consumption.

Additionally, always carry a supply of waste bags to ensure responsible disposal of your dog’s waste, keeping the environment clean and respecting the places you visit.



🚙 Safe and Secure Travel


Ensuring the safety of your furry friend during van life travels is paramount. Dog seat belts and harnesses are essential for car safety, preventing your dog from roaming freely and potentially causing distractions. These restraints secure them in place, minimizing the risk of injury during sudden stops or accidents.

Properly securing crates or carriers is another crucial aspect. Choose a sturdy and well-ventilated crate that allows your dog to comfortably stand, lie down, and turn around. Secure the crate in a designated area of the van, ensuring it is properly fastened to prevent shifting or tipping during travel.

Protecting dogs from extreme temperatures and weather conditions is vital for their well-being. Use window shades and reflective covers to shield them from direct sunlight and reduce heat buildup in the van. In colder climates, provide warm blankets or coats to keep them cozy.


🏥 Health and Wellness on the Road


Maintaining your dog’s health and wellness while on the road requires some preparation. Carry a well-stocked first aid kit tailored specifically for dogs. Include essentials such as bandages, antiseptic solution, tweezers for tick removal, and any necessary medications.

Regularly checking and maintaining vaccinations is crucial for your dog’s overall health. Keep a record of their vaccination history and ensure they are up to date with necessary shots. Research veterinary clinics along your travel route, so you’re prepared in case of any health concerns or emergencies.


🧼 Cleaning and Maintenance


Keeping your van clean and odor-free is essential when traveling with dogs. Use pet-friendly cleaning supplies to tackle accidents or spills promptly. Enzymatic cleaners are particularly effective in eliminating odors and stains.

Vacuuming and removing dog hair from the van interior is a constant task. Invest in a portable vacuum or a handheld brush designed to tackle pet hair. Regularly cleaning and inspecting your dog’s gear, such as beds, toys, and leashes, ensures they remain in good condition and minimizes wear and tear.


🚪 Training and Behavior Management


Training your dog and managing their behavior are crucial for a smooth van life experience. Teach them basic commands and obedience training tailored for the van life environment. This includes commands like “stay,” “wait,” and “load up” when entering the van.

Addressing anxiety and stress during travel is important for your dog’s well-being. Create a calming and familiar environment inside the van, using their favorite bedding or toys. Consider using calming aids such as pheromone sprays or anxiety wraps to help alleviate stress and promote relaxation.



🏞️ Nature’s Call: Potty Breaks


When it comes to van life with dogs, addressing their natural needs is essential. Implementing strategies for providing regular potty breaks ensures their comfort and avoids accidents inside the van. Plan frequent stops during your travels, allowing your furry friend to stretch their legs and relieve themselves in dog-friendly areas.

Teaching dogs to use portable or disposable potty systems can be a game-changer. These systems, such as artificial grass mats or biodegradable pee pads, provide a designated spot for your dog to do their business while minimizing the impact on the environment. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key when training them to use these alternative options.

Keeping the environment clean is a responsibility we should uphold as van life adventurers. Always carry waste bags and promptly clean up after your dog. Dispose of the waste in designated bins or waste stations to maintain the cleanliness of the areas you visit. By being responsible pet owners, we ensure that nature remains pristine for future adventures.


🧳 Packing for the Journey


Properly packing for your van life adventure with your furry friend is crucial to ensure their well-being and your peace of mind. Creating a dog travel kit with essential items is a top priority. Include items such as collapsible food and water bowls, a leash, poop bags, a first aid kit, medications, grooming supplies, and any specific items your dog requires, like blankets or toys. Having these items readily accessible allows you to attend to your dog’s needs efficiently.

Efficient packing techniques are essential to optimize space in your van. Utilize storage bins, organizers, and space-saving solutions to keep your dog’s gear organized and easily accessible. Maximize the use of vertical space, utilize nooks and crannies, and pack strategically to minimize clutter and ensure a comfortable living space for both you and your furry friend.

Additionally, always carry extra supplies for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. This includes extra food, water, medication, and any other essentials your dog may need. Being prepared allows you to handle unexpected situations with ease and ensures the well-being of your canine companion.




Embarking on van life with your canine companion is an adventure like no other. To ensure a paw-some experience for both you and your furry friend, having the right gear is essential. In this article, we covered various aspects of gear for dogs in van life.

Creating a comfortable space involves choosing the right dog bed, insulating the van for temperature regulation, and installing window shades for privacy and sun protection. Mealtime on the road is made easier with portable food and water bowls, proper storage and organization of dog food, and maintaining a consistent feeding schedule.

Ensuring safe and secure travel involves using dog seat belts or harnesses, securing crates or carriers, and protecting dogs from extreme weather conditions. Health and wellness considerations include carrying a first aid kit, regular vaccinations, and finding veterinary clinics along the way.

Cleaning and maintenance involve using pet-friendly supplies, removing dog hair, and inspecting gear for wear and tear. Training and behavior management techniques help create a harmonious van life experience, and exploring the great outdoors provides opportunities for adventure.

Lastly, we discussed packing efficiently, organizing gear, and provided learning resources for further guidance. By equipping yourself with the right gear and knowledge, you can create unforgettable memories with your furry companion on your van life journey.



📚 Key Takeaways


  • Provide regular potty breaks and train your dog to use portable or disposable potty systems.
  • Carry waste bags and dispose of waste responsibly to keep the environment clean.
  • Pack a dog travel kit with essential items and optimize space using efficient packing techniques.
  • Be prepared with extra supplies for emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.
  • Embrace the van life adventure with your furry companion and enjoy the incredible journey ahead!


🗨️Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


It is not recommended to leave your dog alone in the van for extended periods. Dogs can quickly become distressed or overheat. If you must leave them temporarily, ensure proper ventilation and never leave them unattended for too long.

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If your dog experiences car sickness, try acclimating them to car rides gradually. Limit food before traveling, ensure good ventilation, and consider using calming aids or medication recommended by your vet. Consult your veterinarian for personalized advice.

Keeping your dog entertained is essential. Provide them with engaging toys, interactive puzzles, and chew treats. Regular exercise and mental stimulation through walks and playtime outside the van also help combat boredom.

Yes, some areas may have specific rules or regulations regarding dogs. Research pet policies and leash laws of the places you plan to visit. Respect designated areas and always clean up after your dog to maintain a positive experience for all.

Prioritize your dog’s safety by using a secure leash and harness. Pack essentials such as a first aid kit, fresh water, and dog-specific insect repellents. Be mindful of their limits, provide shade and breaks, and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures.

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