RV Travel Tips for Pet Owners

Attention pet lovers: recreational vehicles and pets are a perfect match.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traveling in an RV gives you the ability to bring your family pet along for the fun. With the company of your animal companion and without the anxiety of boarding your pet or asking a neighbor or friend to pet-sit, you can enjoy your camping trip with the entire family.

More and more RVers are traveling with their pets and finding it makes RVing even more enjoyable. Recreational vehicles and pets are, in most cases, a good mix. If your pets enjoy riding with you in the car, they’ll also enjoy traveling in the RV.

According the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), more than 50 percent of RV travelers bring pets on their travels. Among these pet owners, 78 percent bring dogs, 15 percent travel with cats, and the remaining pet owners travel with birds or other small pets.

The RV industry’s suppliers and manufacturers have made an effort to accommodate mobile pets, from collapsible pet window cages to special tie-downs for dogs built into RVs.
More and more campgrounds and RV parks now welcome pets and an increasing number are becoming pet friendly.

Plan your trip with pet-friendly destinations in mind. Contact the campground ahead of time to determine their policies on pets and then plan accordingly. If your lifestyle or your pet’s lifestyle cannot adapt, find a different campground or change your destination. Only as a last resort, reconsider taking your pet.

Bring copies of vaccination records with you, as you never know when you might need them.

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ensure your pet is properly identified. Also, obtain identification with the address of your destination.

Carry a photo of your pet. You’ll be glad you did if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of making, photocopying, and posting “lost pet” notices.

Bring along your pet’s bed and favorite toys so it will feel comfortable and at home on the road. If traveling with a feline friend, think through the cat-box arrangement. Having extra litter, a covered litter box, plastic bags for disposal, scoop, and baking soda to cover the bottom of the box will keep mess and odor to a minimum.

Your dog feels as cramped as you do after hours of traveling. It’s important that you walk your canine pet when you take rest stops. If your pet is a cat, walks aren’t an issue, but plenty of stretching room is.

Upon registration request a site away from other campers, shady if it’s hot, sunny if it’s cool. Check about leash rules, dog-walk areas, “poop-scooping” policies, and local dog parks.

Once you make camp, abide by the camp’s pet policies. No-spill food and water bowls make the experience even easier. Keep water within reach and keep any possible entanglements out of the way.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Never let your pet wander. Portable enclosed pens will enable your pets to enjoy the outside with you. Always clean up after your pet. Be a quiet and considerate neighbor—nothing ruins a camping experience for others like a constantly barking dog.

In selecting its list of Top Pet-Friendly RV Parks for 2014, Good Sam chose RV parks and campgrounds that feature amenities, special services, and events tailored to owners of pets.  These parks offer facilities ranging from dog runs to pet washing areas, and some hand out free treats and toys to canines upon check-in.

A number RV parks feature fenced-in dog runs on their property—a boon to travelers seeking a place to give their furry passengers a place to run after idle travel time. Also offered in some parks are trails for pet walking.

Among the most luxurious pet amenities are fenced-in dog wash stations, with stainless-steel sinks, soap, and warm water available to wash pets.

The American RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, not only receives high Good Sam rating for its facilities but has something to offer every member of the family from its heated swimming pool for the kids, a spa for the adults, and a dog park for the family pet on board.

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pet friendly amenities at Bentsen Palm Village in the Rio Grande Valley include dog agility course and pet parade. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A favorite with Winter Texans, Bentsen Palm Village has 5.5 miles of onsite hiking and biking trails as well as numerous organized activities and workshops, from couples dancing to gourd painting, and Swedish blanket making to water color painting.

Pet friendly amenities include dog agility course and pet parade. The dog park became so popular that the owners recently added a second park so that guests could have separate running and play areas for big dogs and small dogs.

Happy camping to you and your four-footed friends. Most of all, have fun with your pet! After all, it’s a ruff life being a dog!

Worth Pondering…

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It’s the best deal man has ever made.

—M. Facklam

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