Travelling in an RV With Pets? Things to Note
Posted by Tom Westley on
Travelling in your RV is a great way to get away from the normal day-to-day, a way to get out and see the road. However for some, that means leaving behind your precious pets - but it doesn’t have to.
Travelling with pets, whether it’s dogs, cats, or something else entirely, is possible with the right planning and oversight. You just need to make sure you have everything you and the means to accommodate your trip and keep your pets comfortable, entertained, fed, and safe.
Here we’ll take a look at a few things to consider when getting in an RV with pets.
Make Your Pet’s Feeding and Watering Routine RV Friendly
Some dogs or cats can eat on the go, uninterested in anything else around them except for the food itself. Some need to stop and take their time to eat and have everything just right.
Some pets eat once a day while others eat several times a day. This all depends on your pet’s size, age, weight, health, and preferences. Take note of how and what your pet eats and whether or not you’ll need to stop to feed them and create a calm environment.
Plan how much food you’ll need to bring, and make sure to bring a bit extra. Also consider if you need filtered water and how much, if you need to store the food in a cooler or fridge, and if you’ll need snacks or treats to hold them over between meals.
Make Sure Your Pet’s Bathroom Needs Are Covered
Will your pet go to the bathroom in a crate or closed litter box or will they need to be walked? If so, how often will they need to be walked? You’ll need to work these stops into your trip, and while they can coincide with your own stops, it’s not always the case. You need to make sure that you can stop at a place that is safe to let them out.
If the pet can use a crate or closed litter box, you’ll have to secure it so that it doesn’t slide around or move when the RV is in motion. You also should let the pet see the space before your RV travel and get used to where things are so that they know where to go to the bathroom.
Get Your Pet’s License and Identification In Order
Yes, pets need papers too! Some regions won’t let you travel with your pet if they’re not vaccinated and healthy. Before any travel with your pet, bring them to the vet and make sure that all necessary travel needs are up to date. Your vet should know what the pet needs and what to look for at the appointment.
You should also ensure that they have a well-fitted collar with an ID tag that has your name and contact information clearly engraved, in the case of a runaway or lost pet.
If you’re able to do so, you may also want to get your pet injected with a tracking chip that has your information on it. This way, if their collar comes off, they will be able to be tracked and you can be reunited with them.
Learn Your Pet’s Energy and Exercise Needs Well
Is your dog or cat a high-energy pet? Many pets like to run around constantly or need to have space. If they don’t get the exercise they need, they can become unruly and disruptive, and during RV travel, that’s a problem.
Observe your pet’s regular exercise and energy needs at home. Is there a certain time of day that they are more hyperactive? Do they absolutely need an afternoon nap? Will they need frequent stops to let out that energy, or will they need someone in the RV to keep them calm?
Consider Any Anxiety Issues Your Pet May Have
Pet anxiety problems can happen in a moving vehicle, during a thunderstorm, or even in any place that’s not their regular home. If this sounds like your pet, talk to your vet about solutions. There may be anxiety drops that can go in their water, a special toy, or a garment that helps them feel safe and relaxed.
If these methods don’t work, you may have to designate someone on your trip as the person who handles the pet when they’re anxious. Otherwise, the pet may try to jump into your lap while you’re operating the RV which would be dangerous for all involved.
Assess Your Pet’s Obedience Training Level
In the case of dogs especially, obedience training helps greatly when traveling with your pet in an RV. This allows you to issue commands your dog will follow while you’re on the road or if you’re in an RV.
Wherever you stop, your dog will be received well by others if it has obedience training. If this isn’t something you’ve done before, consider enrolling your dog in classes.
Assess Your Pet’s Behavior Around Other Animals
On a campsite or at a resort, you’re likely to encounter other animals, whether it be pets owned by other guests or animals in the wild. How will your pet react? Have a plan for what you’ll do if they try to run after an animal or get excited about another dog.
You may need a harness or a shorter leash than what you usually would use or a crate if your pet is smaller and overly excited by other animals. Make sure that your plan keeps your pet close to you and safe at all times.
Will Your Pet Be Left Alone Often?
If you’re just going to parks and beaches and seeing nature, it’s easy enough to bring your pet with you wherever you go. If you’re going to museums, fancy restaurants, and shops, it’s a bit more difficult.
Consider your entire stay - how much time will your pet have to be left alone in the RV? Will you be going out frequently to places a pet cannot go? If in the end your pet is going to be spending hours and hours alone every day in the RV, it’s not going to be the best environment and it could make them more anxious on the return journey.
A Note About Uncommon RV Pets
You may have read this and decided you didn’t learn much about pets that aren’t dogs or cats. Other pets, like birds, reptiles, fish, rodents, and small mammals can be very difficult to travel with because they usually require a very specific habitat. This doesn't mean it’s impossible to take other pets on the road on your RV travels.
What it means is that you’ll have to take extra care with all the tips above. Secure your pet’s habitat in your RV and be sure that you have an alternative power source if you need specific temperatures for your pet’s habitat.
If you’re nervous about travelling with a pet, consider trialing a couple of nights in a stationary RV at your home, so that they can get used to sleeping and being in this different environment.
To be able to travel and see the beautiful countryside, while staying close to your precious pets is a great feeling, and can be done as long as you really know your pet and plan for how to make them as comfortable as possible.