“I have a ninety pound Flat Coated Retriever and a Northern Lite camper. My dog, Trango, rides in the back seat of the truck. If I have to go into a store and I feel it is too warm, I put him in the camper, open the top vents, and turn on the Fantastic Fan. I have two solar panels so I have plenty of power. I also will pull the shades down on the sunny side. Even in places like Salt Lake City where it can get very warm in the summer, the inside of the truck camper stays cool.
In most National Parks, you cannot have a dog on the trail. I’ve had good luck using the internet and finding nearby kennels and making arrangements for Trango for a few days.
If I’m going to be in a desert area, I’ve found that dog booties really protect his feet from hard surfaces and cactus spines. In that regard, I also always have some needle nose tweezers to pull out very thin spines from his paws. If you’re going off the beaten path, it’s also a good idea to have first aid supplies for your dog and yourself.”
Al Stebbins and Trango, the dog
“As the picture shows, our Cocker Spaniel (Lucy) is most happy when her child is helping her nap, or if she has toys around. Most of the time though she is an excellent traveler. The entire back seat is her domain for most trips. Our current unit (a Chalet TS116) doesn’t have a pass thru window which she is still coming to grips with. She is happy to be with us no matter where we take her. Heat is not usually a problem for us as we’ll open windows and set the Fantastic Fan to run continually or, if we feel it’s too warm, we take her with us and bring plenty of water.”
Jerry Rohan, Tina Rohan, and Lucy the dog
2008 Ford F-450
2011 Chalet TS116
“This time last year, my fiancé and I had neither a pet nor a truck camper. Now we’re married with pre-owned models of both and almost 10,000 miles of road behind the three of us.
There is a longer story for another time, but after picking up our adopted canine from his foster home in Illinois, we traveled West as far as Wyoming, before heading Southeast to Florida (to watch the last shuttle launch), and finally back to our home in Vermont. As you might imagine, the road trip took us through some fairly fearsome heat, and keeping the three of us cool was a constant concern.
I had removed the backseat from our extended GMC, so Dakota (a 70 pound mutt) had plenty of space to relax while we were on the road. In the evenings, he was with us in the truck camper. The first night he spent trying to climb into bed with us, but consistency paid off and now the floor of the truck camper is one of his favorite sleeping spots. As for our sightseeing, some places we could take him with us. Unfortunately, many places are not dog-friendly, so we occasionally had to leave him behind with lots of water, but never left him for more than thirty minutes at a time. Fortunately, we could usually back the rig into a spot next to a shaded patch of grass.
Going truck camping with a pet is a major endeavor, but well worth the companionship, although I’m sure our friends think we’re completely crazy. There are some great websites that list dog-friendly towns, parks, and attractions. For the rare occasion, you might consider a local doggy-daycare if you’re want to leave your pet behind for the day (for example, a day at Disney World), but be sure to bring your pet’s vet records as they won’t accept your dog without them.
P.S. Did I mention how much we all loved the occasional McDonald’s ice cream cone on the hottest of days?”
John Pile, Helen Pile, and Dakota Pile, the dog
1983 8’ Skamper 180-S
2004 GMC Sierra
“Without a doubt, we always seat belt our dogs in the back seat while we’re underway. They won’t ride in the camper alone. Click-it or ticket should apply to any pets in the cab as wells as people. Cheers!”
Gary Lech, Monroe, Oregon
“Hey there! We travel with our two german shepherds in our truck camper, an Adventurer 90FWS. The dinette is their bed when we are setup for the night. I had to make a snap-in barrier to the cab over bed as they really like our bed better!
We recently purchased a 2012 Dodge 3500 Crew Cab dually and I constructed a deck for the rear seat area that gives them more room than they had with the 1999 Dodge Quad Cab. I had to make a barrier for that situation too as Kenai thinks he should be driving!
Because the 90FWS is a basement model truck camper, and the Dodge trucks tend to ride high without a lift kit, I made a plywood dog ramp with a non-slip surface. This should prevent any joint injuries to the dogs getting in and especially out of the camper. Smart as the dogs are, they refuse to use the Torklift steps!