Traveling in an RV provides the flexibility not typically enjoyed through other means of transportation like flying directly to a destination or driving the family car and staying in hotels along the way. After all, in an RV, you can bring just about anything you want – and that includes your pet! According to RV Industry Association (RVIA), more than half of RV owners travel with their pet(s). Most RVers bring dogs and cats while a smaller percentage travel with birds, ferrets, horses, and even snakes. (Yes, snakes!)
Before committing to traveling with your pet, ask yourself some questions: Does traveling make my pet sick? Does my pet make a lot of noise in the vehicle (will it drive me/us crazy)? Is my pet well-behaved? Is my pet in good health? Can I ensure that my pet can remain safe and comfortable? Finding the answers to these questions will ensure your travel experience with your pet is both fun and memorable.
Here are 10 helpful hints to make the trip easier and more enjoyable for everyone:
- Take your pet to the veterinarian first. Tell your vet about the trip you are planning and ask if your pet needs any vaccinations or other medications before traveling. She may also have advice about how to make the trip more comfortable for your breed of pet.
- Before you head out on a journey across the country, bring your pet along on short rides across town. Let your pet roam the RV on its own and explore at its own pace. This will help your pet become comfortable with the space. Consider bringing a crate or carrier along for a cat or dog you fear might bolt from the vehicle when the door is opened.
- Get your pet a tag that preferably has your cell phone number on it so you can be reached if your pet gets lost.
- Gather your pet’s favorite things — not only the dog bed or the scratching post — but also preferred foods, treats, toys and anything else it likes.
- Choose a location in the RV that will be your pet’s own space. Walking around in a “house” that’s moving all of the time can be unnerving. Some pets will feel safer crated in an RV, while others can handle more freedom. Put your pet’s bed and toys in the space. Have water available at all times.
- Stop every three hours or so to give a dog a chance to relieve itself or get a little exercise. This won’t be necessary if you are traveling with a cat that is able to move around the RV and has a litter box.
- Keep the temperature comfortable. Your pet needs ventilation and a consistent temperature. Don’t leave your pet inside the RV if you can’t adequately ventilate it. An RV will heat up or cool down just as quickly as a car.
- Don’t tie your animal outside the RV unless you will be within sight.
- Many animals that live in cages are fairly easy to bring along on a trip provided you can secure their cages and the things inside them (pets, bottles, dishes, toys, etc.) — will not slide around, fall, or go flying when you’re moving or braking. Though they are caged and might seem easy to bring along, birds can catch a draft very easily. If you’re a bird owner, consult a bird expert or bird veterinarian about the feasibility of adapting your pet’s lifestyle for travel.
- Find pet-friendly RV campgrounds. Before heading out, identify campgrounds that specifically mention they welcome pets. These facilities may have a dog park or may just be more tolerant of pets in general. Some campgrounds do not welcome pets because of the potential mess and noise and will charge an extra fee if you do bring a pet.