Taking a trip around the country in an RV, or even just deciding to go to one particular place as a vacation, is a great way to spend your summer! But who would you take with you? Family, of course – whether that’s a spouse, siblings, children, friends so close they feel like family – and your beloved family pets. But when you’re traveling great distances using an RV, bringing along a pet can be a big hassle for you and stressful for the animal. So the question now is this: how can you make this trip with your pet as easy and enjoyable as possible for both of you?
There are a number of ways for you to achieve this. Much of your general experience as a pet owner will help you in preparing you and your pet for your RV vacation. In the interest of saving you some time, however, I will summarize the best ways to deal with these potential problems into a list. Here are 7 tips and tricks for bringing your pet with you on an RV trip!
Make Sure Pets Are Allowed
First and foremost, if you are renting your RV from a company, make sure that the company allows pets in their rentals! You don’t want to face any monetary penalties later on, or even be forced to cut your trip short and return your rental early. These are real ramifications if the RV owner found out you were taking your precious pet out on a cross-country trip in a vehicle that isn’t yours.
When renting your RV, make sure to ask if animals are allowed in them, and also what restrictions there may be as to what kind of animals are allowed (exotic pets aren’t always considered acceptable on the same level as a dog or a cat is)! RVShare makes it easy to find pet-friendly RVs!
Be sure to follow up with the company you are renting from to make sure you’ve met any requirements they have in regards to keeping an animal in a rented vehicle.
Keep Your Pet Healthy
Once you’ve made sure that you can bring your pet with you in your rented RV, the next step is to make sure that your pet is healthy, and will continue to be healthy while on the trip. It might be a good idea to take your pet to the vet before the trip, and to get their vaccination info and other documentation in order.
And when you’re on the road, make sure your RV has a pet version of a first aid kit – any medications your pet takes, creams and bandages in case of injuries, and even flea and itch treatments should be included to make sure your pet is well taken care of. Being prepared for any situation is key!
In addition to medical documentation, it would also be essential to bring any other necessary documentation related to pet travel with you. If you’re unsure what kind of documentation to bring along, you can always ask your vet or a travel agent – they should be able to tell you what you need to bring!
Create A Space for Your Pet
Inside the RV, set up ample space for your pet. It might be a good idea to section off an area for them or set up a makeshift fence in the back part of your RV just for your pet. Make sure there is plenty of room for them to eat (don’t forget to have plenty of food and water on hand for your pet!) and sleep, to play, and to use the restroom.
If your pet cannot use the bathroom within the RV, plan to make multiple stops to let them use the bathroom as needed. While your pet cannot have quite as much room as it would normally need, it is important to give it as much space as you can for litter boxes, pet beds, puppy pads, toys, etc. Just like you and your children sometimes need your own space, your pet needs to have a place to rest and play too!
Keep Your Pet Occupied
Speaking of play, your pet needs to be well entertained on the trip! Since you will be on the road in your RV for a large portion of the trip, your pet won’t have the space it needs to run around unless you plan to camp a majority of your vacay. You also might not be able to give it as much constant attention as it may normally require. This could lead to a disruptive animal – climbing on things, making loud noises, or even trying to eat things that are not meant to be eaten!
To prevent this, provide your pet with plenty of toys so it is less likely to get bored during the driving portions of the trip. In my family, we always say dogs are never quiet, not even when they’re asleep – unless they are chewing on a nice, big bone!
You can also try to plan stops for you and your pet to stretch your legs a little and let your pet run around for a few minutes if the area is safe to do so. This can also be the time your pet uses the restroom if they need to be outside to do their business.
Be Well Equipped
On occasion, you will get to take your pet out of the RV with you, whether for a bathroom break or on a trip out in the nearest town. With that said, it’s important to have the proper handling equipment. This could be a leash and collar, a harness, a cage, or any combination of these things that works for you and your pet. It would be horrible to lose your beloved pet, and a real downer on your trip to have to chase it around and catch it whenever you stop somewhere!
Prevent this issue by keeping your pet close and properly attended to in whatever way works best. You can even bring a stake to use to keep your pet in one place if you need your hands free outside!
Keeping your pet cooped up is not an option – all animals need a little time out in the sun now and again! If the area is safe to do so, you can let your pet run around a bit for exercise, but don’t let them get too far from you!
Check With Your Campsites and Destinations
In similar fashion to making sure that your pet is allowed in a rented RV, it is important to make sure that your pet is allowed to hang out at your various stops (RV resorts, campsites, rest stops, etc.). Some places, such as theme parks and larger tourist areas, may not allow exotic pets or even any animals at all outside of service animals. While it’s not great that your pet can’t go everywhere with you, it’s important to plan ahead for this eventuality. Call ahead to see what places are pet-friendly! This can also include the campgrounds that you stay at, as some RV resorts may not allow pets.
Be Prepared for Potty Time
We already touched on your pet using the restroom, but I believe it is owed its own section! In the event that your pet can use the restroom within the RV, make sure to bring waste removal products – you might bring some trash bags, litter, a scooper, and cleaning supplies, for instance – to keep your RV as clean as possible.
Be sure to plan to make stops that allow you to dispose of the waste when you need to. Just like you don’t want your bathroom habits to stink up your RV, the same can be said for your pet! If your pet has to use the restroom outside the RV, make careful note of when they have to use the restroom in order to make stops, and plan ahead! If you know that your pet poops at around 7pm every day, be sure to plan your stops accordingly. Bring waste removal products out with you to ensure the area stays clean. This should go without saying, but be sure to clean up after your pet.
Be Ready for Anything!
Your final tip for bringing your pet on an RV trip is to be ready for anything! Easier said than done, right? Even after all this planning ahead and the steps you take to enjoy your vacation with your pet, you have to remember that your pet is a living being. Unpredictable things can happen, and they can react to stress on the road. After all, the experiences are just as new for them as they are for you. Your pet could be calm as a cucumber, or they could react negatively to strange people and places on the trip. Keep your pet close and your eyes peeled, the same way you would if you were watching a young child, and you should be fine.
With all of this new knowledge under your belt, you’re ready to take your pet on a trip in your RV! Plan your trip according to both your family’s and pet’s needs, and make sure to have fun! The adventures you can have with the whole family are endless and will be well worth the effort you put into making everything come together for your next wonderful trip.