There’s nothing like hitting the open road in an RV, and when you take your furry friends along for the ride, it’s even better. But while there are a lot of people who don’t mind including their pets in their RV adventures, it may not be the best idea for all pet owners.
As the number of Americans taking to the road continues to rise, more and more people have been opting for RVs as their transportation of choice. According to information from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, more than 13 million households are now RV owners, which is increased 70% since 2000.
But while it’s very possible to enjoy your RVing experiences with your pets, there are some important things to consider before heading out on the road. Successfully traveling with your animals can require you to make some changes to your RVing routine, as well as take on added responsibilities.
You may have to make some changes to the layout of your RV, for example, or adjust how you care for them during your travels. You may also find yourself going for multiple stops to relieve them, rather than letting them roam free throughout your campsite.
It’s also important to keep in mind that not all pets are suited for life on the open road. Dogs and cats can usually adapt to RV living without much trouble, but other animals may need more special attention or care than you’re able to provide while driving across the country.
For most pet owners, though, the rewards are worth the extra work. Here are some tips that can help make your next RV trip more enjoyable if you choose to take along your furry friends.
Do Your Research
The very first thing that you should do before taking your pets on an RV trip is to thoroughly research the requirements for traveling to the locations, parks where you plan to take them. Many parks have requirements or you have to pay extra fees to take them.
There are also certain breeds of dogs that might not be welcome at all campsites. Make sure you have the correct number of pet permits, licenses, and vaccinations before beginning your journey to avoid any trouble with local law enforcement or other campers.
Get Extra Supplies
There are some essential items that all pet owners have to do. The pet is going to need food and water. They are also going to need bowls. When in your RV you should have these items on hand at all times.
One of the main concerns that pet owners have when it comes to traveling with their pets, is how they are going to handle housebreaking. When you cannot let your pet roam freely outside of the RV you need a place for them to go when nature calls. This can be a real issue if a storm rolls in and they need to go out immediately.
You also need to have waste pickup bags for when you walk your dog. If you have a cat they are going to need a litter box and plenty of litter. Since they will be living in a smaller space the litter is going to need to be changed often. You may also want to have a small broom and dustpan on hand for accidents.
Do Not Forget The Medications
If your pet is taking any kind of medication you need to pack plenty of it. Make sure the medications are in their original containers with all the labels intact, as well as being kept at their proper temperature. You do not want to risk having the medication turn bad or stop working while you are on your trip. You will need a first aid kit as well as any pet medications packed and ready to take with you.
Make sure that the tags placed on the collar of the cat or the dog have current contact information especially a cell phone number. If the pet does tend to wander off and they are found a person will be able to get in contact with the owner. Even if you are careful pets can wander off sometimes and it is important to find them right away.
Keeping Your Pet’s Paws Clean
When you are RVing your pets will be outside and then running inside with muddy and dirty paws. It is hard to keep your RV clean when you have pets. There is a product I saw my friend using called paw plunger which will help to wash your pet’s feet. I would not RV without it. Of course, you will need to have a pet that lets you touch his/her paws.
If you have a dog that loves to run and roam free then it is important to keep his/her nails trimmed. This will help prevent them from getting snagged on anything such as carpet or wood. Paws also need to be checked for burrs and stones too.
Positive Reinforcement Training
Some pets will need training once they are in the RV. They may be used to roaming around your home without a leash or they may have bad behavior that needs to be corrected. The sooner you start training them the easier it will be while traveling in an RV.
Use Flea and Tick Treatments
The last thing that you are going to want in your RV is an infestation. Fleas are very difficult to get rid of. Make sure that cats and dogs have flea and tick treatments. Many of these treatments can be applied on a monthly basis. If the pet is going to be outdoors protecting them from ticks is very important. You do not want to have your pet getting sick especially when you are on the road.
The point of keeping your pet healthy is to make sure that you will both be safe while you are traveling in the RV. Your pet’s health is guaranteed to give you peace of mind while you are on the road.
Folding Pet Crate
When the RV is stopped a pet should have the run of it. They should be allowed to move around freely. When driving in the RV some pets can become nervous. They may not like the motion or they may show signs of stress.
To make sure the pet is comfortable you should have folding a metal pet crate with you. If the pet gets nervous during the drive open up the crate and the dog or cat can have their own safe area.
When you are RVing your pet will be much safer when he/she has their own space. Pets can get injured in the small space of an RV. Your dog will need their crate to sleep in at night and during naps. Cats should have a safe place to hide in case they feel threatened or scared which can happen easily.
The pet may even lie down and go to sleep. A pet does not have to be kept in the crate but it is an option if a dog or cat gets nervous especially at the beginning of the trip.
Pet Safety Belts
If the dog is comfortable when the RV is moving this can be a good thing. The pet can be allowed to move around in the RV when it is parked. However, if you are driving the dog needs to have a pet safety belt on. This will keep them from being thrown all over the place in case of an accident or something under the wheels.
There are special seat belts that are designed for dogs. The belts come in different sizes so all dogs can be protected. The dog wears the belt and is protected in case of an accident. This will allow the dog to travel safely.
Treats and Toys
Pets do get bored and need to be entertained when the RV is not moving. If they are left alone for long periods of time it can be very stressful on the pet. You will want to bring things with you that will entertain them such as interactive toys and treats.
A friend of mine carries a tennis ball in her pocket when she is driving. Her dog loves to chase the ball around and then the owner throws it outside of the RV. The dog will run after it and bring it back inside.
You can buy toys that are designed for your pet. These toys can help with boredom or anxiety while traveling in an RV. You do not want the pet getting stressed out. This will not only make them sick but the owner as well.
You can plan out the best trip ever. You can map out a number of national parks to visit and some fun-looking campsites. You can find attractions in the different places that you can visit. There is one thing to keep in mind. Not all of these attractions are welcoming to pets.
Some of them have restrictions on pets while others do not allow any animals. There are some campsites where a pet is not going to be welcome. Call ahead before stopping to check and see if the campsite will allow pets including dogs. There are many rules with national parks as well. Many of these parks have trail restrictions whereon you will be allowed to walk your dog.
The dogs must stay on these specific trails. You should check this out before stopping to make sure you are following all the rules and your pet can enjoy the outdoors with you. Always pick up after the pet. Make sure there are plenty of waste bags to pick up pet waste. This will keep the other visitors happy and many places also have rules that require the owner to pick up after their pets especially their dogs.
Leaving the Pet
There may be a time when you may have to leave your pet alone in the RV. You may need to go to a store to get food and additional supplies. When leaving the pet alone in the RV even for a short period of time make sure there is food and water available.
The pet should also have a place to go if they have to use the bathroom. Make sure the litter box is clean for cats and lay down some pee-pee pads for dogs just in case they have to go to the bathroom. Make sure that there is proper ventilation in the RV as well.
You want your pet to be comfortable when you are gone so make sure they will not overheat. Be sure everything is locked up as well so the pet does not accidentally escape.
Your pet should be okay for a couple of hours alone in the RV. Just make sure to leave them with enough food and water and that they will not overheat while you are gone.
These are just some tips for RV owners that travel with their pets. You can enjoy your life on the road and have a pet at the same time. You need to take measures to make sure the pet safe is safe and happy. If you follow these simple tips you can enjoy the RV life with your cat or dog.