More and more RVers are traveling with their beloved pets and finding it makes the experience even more enjoyable. RV travel and pets are, in most cases, a good mix.
RV travel with your pets can be rewarding for you and your family’s pet but the key to a successful camping trip or any mode of vacation travel is advanced planning and preparation, common sense, and sometimes a dose of creativity.
Most dogs and cats can adapt to the RVing lifestyle by following these three tips for a pet-friendly RV travel.
Make the RV Their Home Too
When you travel without your favorite pillow, don’t you feel just a little lost at night? Cats and dogs also feel the same way when they go places without their familiar stuff. Animals rely so much more on their sense of smell than we do so when they go to places that lack odors from their most familiar objects, their world becomes confusing.
You can help your pet adapt to your home on wheels in several ways:
Spend quality time together inside the RV during the days leading up to your departure
Take along their favorite bedding, toys, and even a rug
Create a pleasant environment with their favorite treats
Practice leaving your pet alone inside the RV well in advance of your departure gradually increasing length of time
If your dog is crate trained, use it―if not, consider using a baby gate to keep your dog confined to a small interior area
Keep the Routine
As humans, we love the refreshing routine change that RV vacations bring into our life, but it can cause confusion for pets. Minimize their mental chaos by sticking to daily routines during RV travel.
Sleeping in is nice, but your pets will thank you when you awake as close to your usual hour as possible.
Keep morning rituals the same: walk, potty, eat breakfast.
Stick to their usual eating pattern.
Take your dog on that last potty walk of the day at the usual bedtime.
When traveling cross-country and switching time zones, sticking to pet care routines is even more important. In his blog post about helping pets adjust to time changes, Dr. Ernie Ward says “For most pets, these changes are abrupt, unexpected, and challenging. They may ponder, ‘Why am I eating now? Why do I have to get up so early?’”
Wherever you go, RV parks will expect your dog to be on a leash at all times. If your dog isn’t used to eliminating on-leash, you’ll need to train him how to do so long before your departure date.
Nobody expects to get sick or injured while traveling, but things do happen. Be prepared for pet-related emergencies.
Always travel with a digital or paper copy of your pet’s most important medical records, including vaccination history and contact information for your veterinary clinic. A good working relationship between a pet owner and their veterinarian is the best bet to ensure the overall health of any animal.
Carry a Pet First Aid Kit; don’t rely on ones made for humans. There are numerous pre-packaged first aid kits that you can buy online or at sporting stores.
Alternatively, ask your veterinarian to help you build a good kit. Your vet knows the specific needs of your pet and can help you find items to include in your kit specifically for your dog or cat, and the RV activities you are planning.
If your pet is on a prescription be sure to pack an adequate supply for the entire journey. Backup medicines for fleas, worms, and other common illnesses are also recommended.
More RV parks than ever are laying out the welcome mat for pets. Creating a safe, nurturing environment inside your home-on-wheels ensures that everyone stays happy no matter where the road takes leads.
If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.