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Topic: Dogs riding in 5th Wheel

Posted By: reelcamper on 02/05/04 09:29am

We just bought our first 5th Wheel, planning a trip to Florida. Our 2 dogs have been camping their whole lives, but have never taken them on the long trip to the Sunshine State. Since we have had to take the cap off our truck, their dog carriers will have to go in the 5th Wheel. We plan on stopping every 3 hours or so. It is an 18 hour trip, but we are breaking it up into 2 days. Should I give the dogs a doggie valium to relax them? (I use these on July 4th) Should I invest in fans that clip onto their crates? They are not small dogs - a German Shepard (100 lbs.) and a Shepard Mix (65lbs.). Anyone have any suggestions?

Posted By: tomhiday on 02/05/04 10:05am

You know your dogs best. They sound like good travelers. It might not hurt to have the medication along and see what happens.


Out taking pictures!

The Traveling Photographer
The Friendly Site!

Posted By: dylansmom on 02/05/04 10:12am

Any living creature, be it animal or person should not be riding in the trailer. Do a search for this topic, you will find most agree with this statement.

It is far to unsafe, noisy and rocky, and IMO I would never do that to my dog. Just do a test drive with youself in the back and see what its like, you will probably change your mind.[emoticon]

Jackie, Greg, Dylan the dog

2006 Winnebago Adventurer 38T
2006 Jeep Liberty CRD (the toad)

Posted By: BCSnob on 02/05/04 10:24am

If it's not safe for pets to travel in trailers is it safe for pets to travel in Class A and C motor homes?

I've done some web searching on the construction of motor homes and have not found one that talks about a steel roll cage for the wall construction; all I've seen listed is laminated aluminum wall construction very much like that used on TTs and 5th wheels that have aluminum frame construction. If this is the case for most motor homes; why is it safe for pets to travel motor homes but not in aluminum framed trailers? Aluminum frame construction has the same strength and protective properties in the event of an accident whether it's in a motor home or a trailer.


Mark & Renee
Working Border Collies: Nell (retired), Tally (retired), Grant (semi retired), Lee, Fern & Hattie
Wendy the Kangal (at home guarding our flock)
2001 Chevy Express 2500 Cargo (rolling kennel)
2007 Nash 22M

Posted By: SAR Tracker on 02/05/04 10:39am


...If this is the case for most motor homes; why is it safe for pets to travel motor homes but not in aluminum framed trailers?


I think the point is, you can watch, or at least be able to monitor the condition/reactions of your dog(s). Another question would be (since many of "us" think of our dogs as our "kids") would you allow a human child to ride in a 5'ver?

Didn't think so.

Rusty & Cheryl
2011 F250 2WD 6.2L Gasser
2008 Weekend Warrior FB2100
"Common sense is in spite of, not the result of, education" - Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

Posted By: Diesel-Lover on 02/05/04 10:50am

I have seen many a dog just chained and wandering around in the back of a pickemup, many are not even tied and end up picked up off the road with a shovel.

It would be good to test try the in trailer transportation process, to see how your dogs take to it. DO SECURE the crate such that there is NO SLIDING about. This will increase the secure feeling for the pet.

Since they are allowed in the fiver and are happy in the surroundings it would be logical that if secure they would be ok with traveling in it. If needed you could set up one of those intercom type things or even a remote wireless camera to monitor the pets and how they are doing.

Happy Trails.

Posted By: BCSnob on 02/05/04 11:04am

"I think the point is, you can watch, or at least be able to monitor the condition/reactions of your dog(s)."

I personally have this concern which is why we have a van; however, I have read other people claim that dogs will not be protected in trailers in the event of a crash because the trailers will disintegrate. My comments here relate to this reason for not allowing living beings in trailers during transport; hence my statement that the construction methods appear to be similar between aluminum framed trailers and motor homes. My point is to make people go beyond their emotional response (don't do it, it's never safe) to questions about transporting dogs in trailers and get people to give rational reasons why it's not safe and possibly see that there are situations where it is safe enough. This is also why I'll often respond with postings about dog trailers used by professional dog handlers to transport their valuable working dogs that have the same suspension as travel trailers. Clearly, the pros feel it's safe for their dogs so why is it unsafe for our dogs? Perhaps the answer is we feel it's unkind to our dogs to transport them in trailers and therefore we feel it's unsafe.


Posted By: Roadies on 02/05/04 01:39pm

Riding in a fifth wheel can be very uncomfortable for man or beast. Remember there is no air conditioning and its like being in a 6.0 earthquake, a whole lotta shaking going on.

If you do decide to carry them in the fifth wheel while you travel, then stop often to check on them.

Bob and Sharon
2003 Itasca Suncruiser 38G
2003 Jeep Liberty

Posted By: NYYYCEandEEEEZY on 02/05/04 02:55pm

Since you're asking for suggestions, my suggestion would be to keep the dogs out of the 5'er when your on the road. I wouldn't even consider having our dogs ride back there. IMHO, it's not the place for people or pets while your traveling. Even if they tolerate it well, if there was ever a problem, you're asking for trouble. However, having said that, in the end, the decision is yours to make. Good Luck!


You can't get us confused. I'm also "Nice", but NYYYCE is Never "Easy"!

Posted By: BCSnob on 02/06/04 06:15am


with our number of dogs and with my exposure to 100's of other handlers who compete in herding competitions who transport their dogs I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the options available. I'll try to give you my thoughts on this for you to mull over and make your own choice.

IMO dogs should be transported inside a crate that is secured to the vehicle (car, truck, trailer, motor home, etc.). This is like their seatbelt; it provides a secure location where they won't be tossed around in the even of emergency maneuvers. It also provides protection from flying objects launched during these maneuvers. And it prevents them from being able to bolt out of an open door into unfamiliar and high traffic areas.

You must control the environment (i.e. temperature) where you have placed the crates. High heat can kill dogs quickly, while dogs can tolerate cold better.

You should check on the status of your dog's health periodically.

Here's where things become more dependent upon the individual dog and owner. Some dogs handle noise and rough travel better than others; therefore some dogs will handle travel in trailers, in the back of pick-ups, or even away from their owners better than others. But keep in mind that while the ride in trailers is often more rough than in the tow vehicle this is not always true. For example, the ride in your 5th wheel directly above the pin should be identical to the ride in the back of your pick-up. Other than stopping to check on your dogs, they should be able to go 8 hours in a crate. How can I say this? What do your dogs do while you're asleep? Do they need to go out in the middle of the night? Other than puppies they should be fine for 8 hours. But I would recommend sticking to their current schedule (morning turn out, lunch time turn out, etc).

Finally, you as their owner have to be comfortable with how you're transporting them; it'll be hard to enjoy your vacation if you're always worrying about your dogs. I think you'll find that we as owners often put emotions on our dogs that they don't have and our choices for them are more often made for us and our feelings and less for their needs.


P.S. ok, now that I've exposed myself as what many will feel as being cruel and unfeeling towards my dogs, let the flaming begin.

Posted By: reelcamper on 02/06/04 07:05am

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I really like the idea of a baby monitor. I have to laugh a little from reading the responses. My 2 dogs ARE treated like my 2 kids. I would never jeapordize their health. They usually travel in the back of our truck, in their sturdy cages. When we travel in the summer, it get hot back there. Hence, the ice block in their cages. We plan on making numerous stops, at least every 3 hrs. And of couse, their cages will be secured. They are part of our family, so at night they sleep in the camper with us. I have seen many animals mistreated at campgrounds, mine are not. They will be camping in quite luxurious surroundings. As for them riding in the 5th Wheel, I have no choice. We have a crew cab truck for our family of four. Thanks for all the input!

Posted By: T210DRVR on 02/06/04 07:18am

If you choose to transport your pets in the fifth wheel, consider locating them in the front. The ride will generally be best over the pin as you are riding on the truck suspension there. Unless the trailer has air suspension the ride will be fairly rough in the rear over the trailer axles.

Make sure the area is well ventilated and check on their condition every couple of hours.

I would do it, but please don't report me to the S.P.C.A. ! [emoticon]

H.R. Next Level 37CK Toy Box Fiver
'05 Dodge 3500 Dually CTD 350 HP Chipped

Posted By: reelcamper on 02/06/04 07:36am

We are lucky that our 5th Wheel is designed so they will be riding on the pin. I never even considered putting them in the back by the bunks. Also, I am going to buy 2 fans that clip on their cages. I have seen these in a catalog that I receive. Our first camping trip will be only a 40 minute drive, so I will see how they do for that! For those people who think I am horrible person: I have seen many dogs traveling loose in vehicles. If the driver has an accident, the dogs would be killed. Or worse yet, I have seen many people riding with their dogs on their lap. This is more dangerous than them traveling in a secured cage. This is my OPINION, so please do not feel that I am attacking anyone personally. I have read your negatives and am fine with your OPINION. We all have at least one thing in common: WE ALL LOVE OUR DOGS!

Posted By: tomhiday on 02/06/04 11:01am

When RV'ing, you don't own pets, they own you. Okay, you love them and can't do without them. But it is not enough to think of them as being "owned". You are responsible for them in all ways. You must provide for their safety, comfort and well being. It is akin to having infants along. You also have a responsibilty to everyone near you at the campground. You cannot let them roam or do "their business" in another's area. To each their own, but your rights end at your neighbor's property line and in an RV jungle that is about four feet out from your front door. It is for this reason that more and more parks are charging an extra pet fee. Take the responsibility to be responsible. Many people don't travel with an animal for a reason. They really don't want yours forced upon them. Happy trails!


Posted By: TXiceman on 02/06/04 11:36am

I'd never put my pet in the trailer while in motion. If you wnat to see what goes in a trailer while running down the road, strap your camcorder down and make a 30 minute run on the types of roads you normally encounter. Now watch the video and listen to it as well. Another concern is temperature in the trailer. I know that in the summer it gets HOT in there. I'd rethink the whole thing if I were you.


Amateur Radio Operator.
2013 HitchHiker 38RLRSB Champagne, toted with a 2012, F350, 6.7L PSD, Crewcab, dually. 3.73 axle, Full Time RVer.
Travel with a standard schnauzer and a Timneh African Gray parrot

Posted By: jharrelson on 02/06/04 01:06pm

There have been several posts about this question... Here is the answer that I gave them....

Place your family, children, spouse, pet, etc. into a cardboard box and then place the cardboard box on a skateboard and tie it to the bumper of the truck and then take off down the highway at sixty mph.

Are they safe in that cardboard box ??

A trailer is a big cardboard box, it has no safety designed features like air bags, reinforced doors, seat belts, etc. like a car or truck has.

Do people get killed in a truck or car with those safety devices installed ??

Of course they do, but think how many more people would be killed if they were riding in a cardboard box at sixty miles per hour down the highway ....

Never allow any person or pet that you love to ride in the trailer at any time.

Just my opinion of course,


John Harrelson
Carson City, Nevada
fulltime since 1977
93 Ford 350 4wd Diesel
95 Prowler 30.5 ft 5th wheel w/slide

The story goes that a man died and was approached by the Devil who told him that he could buy his soul back for a dollar. The man searched his pockets and could only come up with 98 cent. While begging the Devil to forget the two cent he was short, an Angel happened by and hearing the Devil laughing, asked the man, "Would you mind if I put in my two cents ?" The Devil got so mad that he exploded in a puff of smoke and the man's soul was saved.
The moral: Sometimes putting in your two cents worth makes a difference.
JOHN "the cook" 1997

Posted By: firedude on 02/06/04 07:14pm

Absolutely right John! I am amazed at times the question is even asked especially by those who know the ride is rough or can be and the dangers involved.

Posted By: BCSnob on 02/07/04 07:37pm

"A trailer is a big cardboard box, it has no safety designed features like air bags, reinforced doors, seat belts, etc. like a car or truck has."

So John, other than the seat belts you could say the same about motor homes; do you have the same safety concerns about traveling in them?


Posted By: jharrelson on 02/08/04 12:31am

Hello Mark,

First of all, the question was about pets riding in "Trailers" ... not motor homes...

Second place, have you ever seen what was left of a motor home that had been in a serious wreck ? I have... The biggest piece of it was the motor block, everything else was small enough to pick up by hand and load into the dump truck that was sent out to retrieve the wreckage.

Honest... even the tires were individual pieces and were handled by one person.. and the vehicle base frame was in seven pieces. (think it was seven) It was a real mess.. The motor home went over the side of US 50 while coming down from Lake Tahoe, Nevada into Carson City, Nevada. It rolled, bounced and finally slammed into the bottom of Clear Creek Canyon. About a 500 foot drop.

Because of this, I got rid of my motor home and went back to a 5th wheel.. My reasoning is, that if I lose the trailer, I can get another one, but maybe the truck will save my life.. I can only hope.

Best wishes,

Posted By: BCSnob on 02/08/04 08:31am

Thank you John,

you have thought through your objection to transporting dogs in trailers instead of the many people who object to it while thinking it's safer to do so in a motor home. It especially bothers me to hear people make this objection based upon safety concerns while they themselves are taking the same risks in a motor home or taking other risks while transporting their dogs unsecured. If you're going to object to someone else’s willingness to take risks, you'd better make sure you're not doing the same otherwise it sounds hypocritical.


Posted By: Bob91977 on 02/09/04 01:01pm

Put the dogs in the fiver. Guess what. Even the Humane Society transports animals in trailers. As long as they are in crates, secured, and have ventilation and water. They will be OK. Give them a rest stop every couple hours.

Posted By: tom & lu on 02/11/04 07:54pm

reelcamper--- please be especially carefull in florida, the high humidity and heat will do your pets in very quickly especially the further south you will need to monitor the heat inside frequently.

Posted By: chvydmx on 02/12/04 07:23pm

We took our two labs on a 4000 mile trip last summer. They loved riding in the 5'er they had the run of the place and had no problem making themselves comfy.

2004 Chevy 2500HD LLY Duramax/Allison Crewcab 4" stainless exhaust, LT and all the Bells and Whistles
2003 Forest River 36' All American Sport 5th wheel toy box
2005 Yamaha YZ-250-F
2005 Suzuki King Quad 700 Fuel injected
2003 Suzuki RM85
2002 Honda CR 125
2002 Yamaha Kodiak 400 4x4
2000 Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail in the toy box!
2000 Yamaha WR400F
One sweet looking rig rolling down the highway!

Steve and Amy
Erin and Zach (usually fighting)
Nellie Chocolate Lab 12-24-97 / 3-6-2004 We will miss you ">
Cheyenne Yellow Lab
The Dude Black Lab
Denalli Chocolate Lab

Posted By: brookside on 02/16/04 06:22am

Would you put your computer or television in the middle of the floor in the 5th wheel and travel down the road? If not, don't haul your dogs that way either. Pets entail a lot of responsibility. Road conditions can be unpredictable especially in construction zones. We have had motorhomes and trailers both and thinking that the ride would be the same....not!

Cathy, Alfred, and Andrew.
Appreciating each day

Posted By: OhSoRed on 02/18/04 03:31pm


It especially bothers me to hear people make this objection based upon safety concerns while they themselves are taking the same risks in a motor home or taking other risks while transporting their dogs unsecured.

The difference is that I can consciously weigh the pro's and con's regarding the way I travel and make an informed decision as to whether I wish to subject myself to these risks, while your pets cannot. If I decide that traveling in a MH, as John described, is dangerous, I can choose not to. Your pets cannot refuse, no matter how upset they become, even to the point of making it necessary to sedate them.
I can see you have already made up your mind to travel with them in the 5er so NOTHING I say will matter anyway. I just had to add my $0.02 worth of advice.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming

WOW--What a Ride!

2003 Chevy 2500HD, Ext cab short box, 6.0L, Auto, 4.10
Westin Nerf bars, K-Cover K&N.
1995 Terry 26.5' 5er GVWR 7,300lbs

Posted By: BCSnob on 02/19/04 04:18am

Since you've missed my point let me make it as clear as possible.

1. A crated dog is always safer than a loose dog, NO MATTER WHAT VEHICLE IS USED FOR TRANSPORTING THE DOG. A crated dog in a 5th wheel is safer then a loose dog in a MH or tow vehicle. If you don't believe me slam on your brakes while your dog is riding loose, especially if it's sitting or standing on a seat looking out a window.

2. Based upon the construction techniques used for both MHs and 5th wheels there is NO "safety difference" between transporting a crated dog in a MH or 5th wheel. Do the research yourself. MHs offer nothing more to protect the dog than a 5th wheel.

3. There can be a difference in the "ride" between a MH and 5th wheel depending upon the suspension differences and location of the crate in the vehicles. This can also lead to differences in noise levels and this will bother some dogs more than others. Of course things can be a bit noisy in tow vehicles too; for example in a cargo van vs. a passenger van, in the bed of a PU instead of in the cab, or vehicles with wire crates vs. plastic crates.

In your last post you quoted me about taking risks; I wasn't talking about risks to the dog owner but was referring to risks imposed upon the dogs by their owners. For example, transporting a dog in a MH thinking it has more safety features than a 5th wheel ("same risks in a motor home"). This is not true except for seat belts. Worse in my mind is transporting a dog loose in their TV while condemning someone for transporting their dog crated in their 5th wheel. Perhaps I should take the same attitude with those folks as they take with the person crating their dog in their trailer.

"How dare you risk your dog's life! How can your pet (family member) tell you they're scared when you slam on your brakes tossing them forward, risking a broken limb or a soft tissue injury that will take months to heal. Or the fear they feel as something loose on the MH counter comes flying at them when you have to slam on the brakes. So what if your dog appears to be happier loose; it's your responsibility to protect it from injury. You'd do the same for a child, wouldn't you?"


BTW: If you look at my signature you’ll see how I transport my dogs: crated in a van.

* This post was edited 02/19/04 04:40am by BCSnob *

Posted By: BCSnob on 02/19/04 04:44am

Which is more likely an RV destroying accident or a crash avoiding maneuver (i.e. slamming on the brakes, swerving to avoid something, etc)? Are you protecting your dog from the most likely source of injury?


Posted By: VBDRVR32 on 02/21/04 11:50am

My husband and I have been having this same disscussion for a couple weeks now. We previously had a TT that we pulled with a
Ford Excursion and the dogs rode nicley, in their crates, in the back of the truck. Now we have a 5th wheel being pulled by a F350. We are at odds of where to place the dogs. My husband feels that they will be just fine riding, again in their crates, secured in the front of the 5th wheel, while I think they would be better off in the bed of the truck where we can keep an eye on them from the front. We would never in a million years consider traveling with the dogs not being crated, that is just our thought, it is very unsafe. Every one makes good points about the issue though...Happy Camping!!

Tim & Jenn
3 kids & 2 dogs
2004 Ford F350 PSD supercrew
2004 Laredo 29GS">
15.5K Pull-Rite Super 5th
*** Keep it between the ditches ***
** My two favorite teams are, U of M and who ever is playing Ohio State **">

Posted By: Service Tech on 03/05/04 12:27am

When you do this position the kennels as far forward as possiable, the ride is smoother there.. I know this from experience I have rode in 5TH wheel campers while being towed, which is legal in MN providing there is communication to tow rig, however I do not recommend people ride in them (I'm a RV service tech and we were looking for a water leak while driving in the rain) but I see no reason not to let you pet be there.. I would make sure there is a vent open (must have a MAXAIR cover or similar over it) to let in fresh air. Add a co detector most trailers DO NOT have them. And get a baby monitor, they are wireless and under 50 bucks and will allow you to hear what going on in the trailer..

2004 Wildcat 31qbh
2003 Superduty

Posted By: bigdaveandprincessnikki on 03/05/04 01:10am

"...slam on your brakes while your dog is riding loose, especially if it's sitting or standing on a seat looking out a window."

Sounds like dangerous advice.

David, Nikki, Tessa(Rott), and Roxy(Blk. Lab).
(All but the first pregnant)
97' Aljo 5th wheel
99' Dodge Ram V10

Posted By: BCSnob on 03/05/04 03:31am

It sure does when you take it out of context. Of course in context it should be obvious to intelligent people what will happen to your pet if it’s riding loose; therefore, performing the exercise won't be necessary.


Posted By: klewisd on 02/23/04 01:41am


Sled dogs, sporting dogs and working dogs have been traveling the country in these types of trailers for years. Now compared to riding in this trailer a fifth wheel doesn't look bad at all.

Posted By: BCSnob on 02/23/04 05:43am


if you use crates in the back of you PU make sure to secure them to the bed of the truck. Someone we compete against told us that when he used to just set the crates loose in the bed they would lift up and float (even with a dog inside) due to the air flow in the bed caused by the 5th wheel. He said the crates didn't look like they could come out of the bed; but he really didn't like them floating in the bed. I wonder how the dogs like all the wind blowing through their crates if there's enough to lift them off the bed?


* This post was edited 02/23/04 06:27am by BCSnob *

Posted By: Aggie91 on 02/24/04 12:06am


I understand the concerns some have with unsecured dogs that are thrown around in an evasive action on the road, so I do agree with a crate for the animal, but I really do not see any concern with letting an animal stay in the trailer (provided they have some air & don't get too hot).

I have used trailers to carry $200,000 to 1 millon dollar horses, and NEVER had the intention that the horse would ride in the truck with me because the trailer was UNSAFE (?????). Most of the proffessional dog handlers that travel with their trial dogs load the dogs into an aluminum trailer to transport from one location to another. If the trailer was unsafe, or was not the best option available, do you really think they would take a chance with their VERY expensive & well loved animals?

I say that the 5th wheel location as close to or over the king pin would be fine. I know my horses never rode over the king pin [emoticon] & they did just fine in either a gooseneck/5th whell or a tounge pull trailer.

And yes, I HAVE ridden/slept in a sleeper horse trailer going down the road. (I rode in LOTS of rodeos in my younger days!) With the understanding that you don't try to drive @ 90 mph & weave in an out of traffic, the suspension on most 5th wheels / upper end horse trailer is not all that bad unless you are intentionally trying to stand in the middle of the trailer without holding on to something!

Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth . . . .

2003 2500 LT CC 4x4, D-Max / Allison, Trail Boss Bumper/side boards, RK Tool box, Fumoto valve, Prodigy, Nicktane, Quadzilla 110 & Monster gauge, AR 16x8 Atlas Wheels/285 BFG TA's & Bilstiens. Have boat, working on the travel trailer . . .

Posted By: JDK on 03/01/04 06:25am

I just don't think any animal is safe riding in a trailer. I keep my cat in a cage when in the motorhome.

Jim and Jackie
2004 Damon Daybreak 3270
2004 L300 Saturn Toad

Posted By: John87544 on 03/05/04 10:41pm

We do something close to what you describe. We use a toy hauler to transport our dogs to shows. The dogs are in crates, the crates are strapped to the tiedowns in the trailer floor. I use a old camcorder to send a signal to a monitor in the cab to keep an eye on how they're doing. In hot weather, I'll run the generator and air conditioning to make sure they are comfortable, in cold weather, I'll run the heater to keep it around 60 or so. We've been doing this for a year or so. We take pretty frequent breaks, walk the dogs often and enjoy the trip. The toy hauler seems to work great for this purpose.

John & Leslie
2001 Dodge 2500 diesel
Lance 920
Weekend Warrior FS3000 Toy Hauler
Finnish Spitz & Duck Toller show dogs
and a few other puppies

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