Rolling in the Ruff- RV’ing with Pets is on the Rise

According to recent statistics, as many as 50%-75% of RV owners travel with their dogs. With 8.9 million households owning an RV, that means at any point in time there can be anywhere between 4 million and 6.5 million RV’ers traveling with a furry friend.

It’s no wonder then that so many RV’ers (and RV parks) are making purchasing decisions centered solely on their travel companions. Many RV parks report that more than 50% of their customers bring along their pets, which means gearing campgrounds to pets and not just to humans is becoming more and more important. Kampgrounds of America, which has over 485 locations in the United States and Canada has added over 50 dog agility courses in the last year through their Kamp K-9 program, which aims to make their campgrounds more pet friendly. Another resort, California Association of R.V. Parks and Campgrounds, has always accommodated pets, but also stated recently that they are investing in more pet-friendly accommodations as “just having a dog run is no longer enough”.

Recently, at the Tampa RV Show, we had the opportunity to speak with many campgrounds and RV dealers, who confirmed the growing trend of traveling with pets. One representative from Jayco RV’s mentioned that just last month he had made a sale on an RV for a very odd reason. The front passenger side of the RV had a small window located just below the seat that was the perfect spot for their dog. That means a $100,000+ purchase was decided on based off a 2X2 window that their pet would like.

As we walked around the show, crowded with humans and dogs alike, we heard many similar stories. No longer are the days of choosing an RV for size or accommodations, now it’s all about “what will my dog like?”. We came across one couple who was also searching for a very specific detail for their RV- bunkbeds. At first we thought this may be for their kids, but after overhearing a little more of the conversation, we found out that they have two large dogs, and wanted to have a space to convert into large kennels. Decisions like these are becoming more and more common in the RV world, which means these RV’ers are going to want to go to parks that accommodate their dogs as well as they do.

Following the RV show, we were intrigued by this overwhelming trend of traveling with pets. Through our new lifestyle brand called Ruff Rolling, we launched a small case study examining whether RV’ers and travelers would prefer a gift card for their pets or for gas expenses. Upon completion of the study, 63% of participants indicated that they would rather have money to spend on their pets versus a guaranteed expense of gas. We assumed this is because a pet is an extra expense, and when you’re traveling on the road, canceling out any extra expenses helps that much more. Whereas gas costs are always going to be guaranteed, those toys to keep Fido entertained in the RV are extras. 

In a world where not only RV’s are on the rise, but pets in RV’s are too, catering to the needs of them is becoming a must-have, not just an “extra” in RV parks. As more and more purchasing decisions are driven by an RV’ers pet, the more pet-friendly accommodations will be expected at parks. If you don’t keep up, you’ll be left behind! 

Dog traveling