Whether you’re living in a recreational vehicle full-time or part-time, or taking a short vacation, traveling with dogs can make your adventures even more enjoyable.
Traveling with your dog can be rewarding for you and the dog but the key to a successful camping trip is advanced planning and preparation, common sense, and sometimes a dose of creativity. Only friendly, non-aggressive dogs should be brought to campgrounds.
Ready to hit the road with your pet? Use this checklist to keep your animal content on the road.
Check in with the Vet: A pre-departure vet exam can spot potential health problems and ensure that your pet is current on vaccines required by pet-friendly establishments. Your vet may recommend vaccinations to protect against geographically specific conditions. File all of these records in the RV, because vaccination certificates are often required, especially at international border crossings.
Update Dog ID Info on the Go: Abrupt events like thunderstorms often cause pets to flee. Consider purchasing a GPS locator tag that lets you track your dog’s movements on a smartphone. Other electronic pet ID devices enable you to update your pet’s location details on the go, such as your RV park name and campsite number.
Create a Pet-Friendly Home on Wheels: Familiarize your pet with the RV by placing their toys, feeding station, bedding, and crate in a safe, cozy spot. Prepare for daily walks by keeping leashes, collars, and a portable water bowl by the door.
Choose the Right Chow: Feeding time can be tricky on the road, especially if your pet eats an uncommon food. Consider transitioning to a more common one at least three weeks before leaving. Dehydrated pet food is helpful too; it’s made on the spot with hot water, takes up less space, and weighs less than cans.
Avoid Motion Sickness and Boredom: Pets and people alike get carsick. Acclimate your pet to vehicle motion with progressively longer RV trips around your neighborhood. When you’re on the road, chew toys and frequent bathroom breaks can help minimize anxiety.
Know the Rules: Check out pet rules and restrictions at the RV parks and campgrounds you’re considering for your trip. For detailed information, always phone and ask prior to your intended stay.
Enjoy Dog Days at the Park: Many campgrounds and RV parks have dog parks or dug runs, and some even include obstacles and play apparatus for your furry passengers. Observe common courtesy at the dog park; clean up after your pet and make sure it plays nicely with others.
Consistency is Key: Dogs thrive on routine, so try to maintain a consistent schedule of regular activities like feeding, walking, and playtime. If bad weather keeps you inside the rig, interactive doggy “brain games” can engage a bored pet.
Keep Cool: Humans don’t wear fur coats during hot weather, but that’s what dogs must endure during the heat of summer. Shield all pets from hot temperatures.
Watch Out for Critters: Supervise dogs carefully to avoid dangerous encounters with wild animals like coyotes, skunks, and porcupines. Unfortunately, smaller pests like fleas and ticks are a little harder to spot. Should you discover a parasitic hitchhiker, use a flea comb or tick removal tool to pull them out and away from the skin.
Ban the Barking: Dog barking is a major annoyance to RV park neighbors, but a few simple exercises can put a stop to it. For example, if your dog gets anxious when you leave the RV, start daily training sessions that have you coming and going from your RV while gradually extending your away times. Just don’t leave your pet unattended too long, because even well-behaved dogs will bark at outside noises.
Look for Pet-Friendly Parks: Treat your pet to a fabulous camping experience by staying at a pet-friendly RV park. Many parks offer perks like dog runs, dog washing stations, and dog walking services. Some of the parks even conduct pet parades during special holidays. Take time now to plan a road trip with your pet for meaningful memories that last a lifetime.
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.