RVing With Pets: What You Need to Know (2019 Edition)

posted on FEBRUARY 4, 2019

Let’s start with some visualization…

Close your eyes and picture yourself sitting outside of an RV.

Now imagine hearing the waves crash against the sand, or the birds chirping in nature, or even cars driving in the distance.

But, wait… what just nudged your leg? Aren’t you supposed to be relaxing?

Your pet is demanding attention. At this moment you think:

I could never go RVing with pets. It wouldn’t work!

RVing with pets

Not to call you on your bluff, but you are able to travel with pets if you spend the time researching how to go about doing it (and, of course, you have to be patient with them).

Whether you have one, two, or three pets, you’re able to live (or vacation) in an RV stress-free.

In this guide, I’ll teach you how. 

Pro Tip: These tips apply whether you’re staying in your own RV or renting an RV!Quick NavigationRVing with Dogs & Cats: The Essentials5 RV Pet Safety Tips1. Rules of the road.2. Remember the essentials.3. Take your pet to the DMV (kidding, but make sure they have an updated ID).4. Keep your pet’s information with you at all times.5. Incorporate exercise into your new lifestyle!RVing With Pets FAQsPet RV AccessoriesRV Accessories for DogsRV Accessories for CatsRV Accessories for Small Critters

Note: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This doesn’t cost you any more than normal. Read our disclaimer for more info.

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RVing with Dogs & Cats: The Essentials

So, you want to spend some time in an RV. That’s awesome – you won’t regret the RV life!

You will regret putting your traveling dreams on hold if you decide you “can’t do it” because you “have to take care of your pets” and “they just won’t like it”.

Before Bill and I started traveling, our cat Luna was a huge concern of mine. I was worried he’d have problems adjusting (especially since we went from a two-story apartment to a 32 foot RV within a day).

But, this was our dream! We wanted to RV for a long time and we were determined to just do it.

I started taking Luna outside more. I started leash training him. When we first got the RV, we brought Luna into it and allowed him to explore for as long as he needed to.He absolutely loved the RV.

Adventure Cats

Luna’s probably not much different from your house cat (except for the fact that Luna comes running when I pull out his harness).

What I’m trying to say here is that you’re able to do the same thing! Cat, dog, rabbit, guinea pig… all animals are able to adapt to their surroundings if you give them time to get used to the changes.

Imagine hiking, kayaking, and sight-seeing with your furry companion. Doesn’t it sound like a blast? This can happen frequently if you adapt to an RV traveling lifestyle!

Now, let’s talk about how to do all that with your pet while staying safe.

5 RV Pet Safety Tips

When it comes to traveling, pets can be somewhat temperamental.

I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that bringing a pet with you on the road is one of the best and worst things in the world.

Living out of an RV with a pet is, dare I say it, harder than you may think.

You see, you’re not just uprooting your life…

…you’re uprooting theirs, too.

Before Bill and I started fulltime RVing, we lived in a half double apartment. We had two floors, spacious rooms, and plenty of places where Luna could play (and, of course, sleep).

We went from that to a 32 foot RV in less than a day.

Thankfully, I’m usually the type of person who thinks about random (yet important) things most people would forget about.

Something I had thought about? How to make RVing as safe as possible for Luna.

I did extensive research and nearly freaked myself out at times. Some of the articles I read talked about medicating your pets before driving or they’d have serious anxiety.

Luna’s safety was a huge concern of mine, as I’m sure you’re concerned for your pet’s safety, too.

Which is why I’m going to provide you with 5 RV tips to follow when traveling with dogs, cats, and other critters that I’ve found extremely helpful to have on hand.

1. Rules of the road.

Whether you’re full-timing, part-timing, or just want to go on a road trip, your RV is your home. It may feel natural to allow your pets to roam about when you’re driving to your destination but this is one of the most dangerous things you can do.

You could be as confident as you want when it comes to your driving skills but let’s face it, not everyone follows the speed limit signs (and don’t get me started on how many people try to pass you when you’re in an RV).

If you were to get into an accident and your pet was roaming about, they could be seriously injured. Not to mention, wandering pets may come up to visit you while driving, causing you to be easily distracted.

At the end of this article, I’m providing essential RV accessories you should have on hand when traveling with pets. Be sure to check it out – you’ll find some nifty items to use while partaking in a pet friendly road trip!!

2. Remember the essentials.

I’m a firm believer in writing lists. Not because they make me feel productive (or because I love to “check off” the items I have) but because they help me remember everything I need.

Keeping a “Pet Essentials” list is a must.

Sure, you know your pet needs food and water (and treats – if they’re lucky). But what about…

  • Their leash?
  • Their waste pick-up bags?
  • Their litter?
  • Their toys?
  • Their brush?
  • Their crate?
  • Their fuzzy sweater that you love (but they could care less about)?

If you’re able to remember all of this without writing it down and hanging it on the fridge, well… kudos to you. Bill and I have enough of our own stuff to remember let alone all of Luna’s favorite belongings.

3. Take your pet to the DMV (kidding, but make sure they have an updated ID).

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard,

“Hey! Have you seen my {insert animal here}? They ran outside and I can’t find them!”

To which I usually replied:

“Oh no! I haven’t, unfortunately. Is your phone number on you pet’s tag in case someone finds them? Are they chipped?”

Eight out of ten times, I got a “No” to each question. Which broke my heart every single time.

When Bill and I were in Maine, someone lost their dog at the campground and we searched for two hours straight to find him. I wish that story had a happy ending, but…

Guys, if you’re going to travel with your pets… please make sure you chip them or give them a proper ID tag.

Pet ID tag

Both Bill’s number and my own are on Luna’s tag in case anything ever happened to him. This is one of the easiest things you have to do when traveling, too!

Go to your local WalMart or PetSmart, find the pet ID kiosk, type in their name on one side with your name and phone number on the other, print it, stick it on their collar, and voilà! Your pet has his/her own personal ID.

4. Keep your pet’s information with you at all times.

This includes but is not limited to…

  • Vaccination records – a lot of campgrounds ask to see recent vaccination records (to ensure your pet’s health is up to par). Such as rabies shots!
  • Proof of ownership – God forbid your pet runs away and the wrong person finds him/her. They can easily say the pet is theirs, leaving you baffled and screwed unless you can prove otherwise. Let’s hope this never happens to you!
  • Photographs – you’d be surprised at how many people don’t keep any pictures of their pets while on the road! While having pictures on your phone is great, print one or two good-quality pictures of your pet in case they run away.

These are the top three documents I keep on hand at all times, but if your pets have any allergies or medical ailments be sure to bring the paperwork for that, too. And don’t forget the first aid kit!

5. Incorporate exercise into your new lifestyle!

Regardless of who your travel companion is, driving is a drag. After a while, no matter what you try to do to pass the time, driving becomes irritating and the sound of your partner’s voice will set you on edge (sorry, Bill).

No one wants to be cooped up in a car for hours on end, your pets included. Sure, the frequent bathroom break stops are nice, but unless you plan to stay at a rest area for an hour or two to play with your dog (or allow your cat to wander the RV), they’ll wind up being bored out of their minds, too.

Being stagnant at a campground is no different. While you’re out exploring new areas, your pets are locked inside of your RV patiently waiting for you to come home to play with them.

If you’re traveling with a dog, make it a point to take daily morning and evening (and maybe afternoon) walks. Allow them to explore the area! If they want to sniff that bush ten times, by all means, let them!

Keep in mind, if you’ve never taken your pet on a long road trip before, they’ll get really antsy!

If the campground you’re staying at is big enough (and the owners don’t mind your dog running around), play fetch for a while! There might even be a dog park nearby.

And, whether you believe it or not, cats love going for walks outside.

It may take your cat a while to get accustomed to a leash and harness, but in due time, they’ll come to love it.I’m not just saying that, either. Luna hated harnesses when I first introduced them to him. When he sees a harness now, he runs over to me with excitement in his eyes!

Leash Training Your Cat

I spent a lot of time reading the Adventure Cats book while traveling with Luna, too. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone considering traveling (or to anyone who just wants to explore the great outdoors) with their mighty feline!

Now that I’ve gone over the tips and tricks of RVing with a pet, let’s talk about the five most asked questions asked…

Article via https://www.thewanderingrv.com/rving-with-pets/


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