Over half of all RV owners travel with their pets. Those that do will tell you that many of their best memories on the road centered around their animals. Pets make great travel buddies and bringing them along can help to make the open road feel a lot more like home. So skip the dreaded goodbyes, take your beloved fur babies along, and discover why so many people are RVing with pets!
If you don’t want a wild ball of uncontrollable energy traveling with you in your RV, you’ll need to make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise. While this may sound like a hassle, it will actually help to enhance your journey and your health. Giving your pets time to run, fetch, and release energy gives you time to stretch your legs and check out some new and unknown locations. Follow your pets cue and get some exercise yourself. Long car rides encourage you to be sedentary for a long time, so it’s good for both you and your pets to get out of the car and get active!
It’s smart to select a brand of pet food that is easily accessible and readily available at a range of locations. Mixing up your animal’s food can cause digestive issues, and traveling down the highway is not when you want to deal with a bout of your pet’s diarrhea. If you are planning on camping remotely or dry camping, make sure you bring enough food and water to last. Feeding your pet at the same time each day will help you better anticipate when bathroom breaks will be needed. Bring some treats along with you too. In addition to being a tasty snack for your pets, chew treats in particular can help to stimulate them and keep them busy when you can’t.
When you have a reason to make frequent stops, you’ll find yourself in some unfamiliar places and you might just stumble upon a hidden small-town gem that you would have otherwise driven right through. Think of your pet’s potty breaks as a chance for you to see more of the world more closely, which is the whole point of RVing anyways! Just remember to carry around a supply of poo bags, and use them! Nothing gives people who RV with their pets a bad name like those who don’t pick up after their animals. If you’re planning on using a litter box, put down some sticky carpet protectors to cover the area around the box so that you stop litter from getting into your carpeting.
Animals like to have a schedule that they can count on. When your pets know what to expect, it lessens their anxiety and helps calm them. Try to feed and exercise your pets around the same time everyday. In addition to this helping you best pinpoint when bathroom breaks are needed, it will help your animal adapt to the ever-changing ways of the open road. When you are more predicable, your pet’s behavior will be less unpredictable and easier to handle.
Even if you are not planning on RVing with your pets, it is important to get them microchipped. Microchipping is relatively inexpensive and can save you a lot of worry and heartbreak in the unfortunate case of losing your beloved animal. In addition to being microchipped, always make sure your pet is wearing the proper ID tags. It won’t help much when you're on the road if your pet’s ID tag has your home address and phone number on it. Instead, get them some travel tags that include a working cell phone number and perhaps your RV license plate number.
Always keep your pet in the same vehicle as you when you’re traveling. It can be traumatizing for your animal to be alone when the rig is moving. Use pet seat belts, harnesses, or travel carriers to avoid an injury to either you or your pet. At 55 mph, a 20-pound animal hits with 1,000 pounds of force. For safety and peace of mind, secure your animal inside of the vehicle. Keep a kennel in your unit and lock your pet inside when you are forced to leave it alone. Put down the blinds and turn on a radio to help them feel more secure and less stressed. Never leave your pet in the RV if you think it may get too hot or too cold. Wireless temperature monitor devices can be installed to let you check the temperature of your rig remotely and ensure that your pet is comfortable.
Make sure you stay in places that allow pets. Contact campgrounds ahead of time to double-check that you can bring your animal. For example, Timber Ridge RV Resort is a pet-friendly campground, but they ask that you contact them ahead of time if you plan on bringing any furry friends with you. Some campgrounds have breed restrictions, weight restrictions, or limitations on how many pets you can have, so be aware of those and avoid campgrounds that support breed-specific bans. Most national parks don’t permit pets, so be aware of the places you want to stop at and what you plan to do if your pet isn’t allowed to join you.
One of the biggest downsides of RVing with a pet is the added cleaning. Animals can track in a lot of dirt on their paws and in their fur. Give your pets occasional baths and groom them frequently, especially if you are traveling with a long-haired animal. To keep the dirt at a minimum, put a towel down in front of your door and wipe your pet’s paws before they enter the unit. Regardless of if your pets join you on your RVing adventures or not, you are inevitably going to have to deep clean your RV eventually, so don’t let this minor inconvenience stop you from taking your pets along!
After you’ve prepped your RV for travel, don’t forget to prep your pet for travel too! Bring along your pet’s bedding; in addition to this giving them a comfy place to lay, it will give your RV the calming and familiar scent of home. Pack them some toys, food and water dishes, poo bags, a leash, and any medications they may have. Be aware of where you are traveling and potential pet problems that are unique to the area, such as heartworm or fleas and ticks. It might be a smart idea to pick up a pet gate which can keep your animal from escaping whenever you enter or exit the RV. You will also want to bring your pet’s heath/vet records, as you may need them to access campgrounds, dog parks, or kennel services. Lastly, make sure your pet doesn’t leave the house without their travel ID tags! If you’re not sure of how to accommodate all your pet items with the limited space you have, check out these organization hacks and make the most of the room that you and your pets have to work with.
Stay Warm: When you’re RVing with a pet, you can forget about those chilly nights! If you’re ever cold in bed, just invite your pet to join you. Sleeping is a whole lot cozier snuggled up beside a warm animal!
Stay Safe: Traveling with a pet can help you feel more protected, especially if you are a solo traveler. Animals can warn you of potential threats and dangers before they happen, giving you a greater sense of safety!
Stay Happy: It’s hard to ever feel lonely when you’re RVing with a pet. Animals make great companions, and they can keep you company on the open road. Bring your pet along and give yourself a listening ear to talk to.
It is important to follow good “petiquette” because you don’t want to have a negative impact on other RVers who travel with their animals. If you have nearby neighbors, it can be a considerate move to break the ice, and let them know they can approach you if your pet does anything to bother them. When you love your pet, it can be easy to overlook things that may annoy non-pet owners. Strive to be a good representative for the community of people who travel with their pets and follow these basic guidelines at the very least:
- Obey Leash Laws: Don’t let your pet run off-leash where it is not permitted.
- Clean UpAfter Your Pets: You brought those poo bags along for a reason!
- Don’t Disturb Neighbors: Keep your pets from barking constantly.
Animals can adapt very quickly to life on the open road, and any challenges that you do encounter will pale in comparison to the benefits. If you’ve ever gone RVing with a pet, tell us about your experience in the comments below. Share your success stories and let others know that RVing with a pet is not only possible, but it’s one of the best ways to travel!