10 TIPS FOR RVING WITH PETS

We are animal people. I’ve had pets for as long as I can remember, everything from mice to fish to horses.

When our first son, Thing 1, was born, we got a pug and named him Nigel. Nigel is now a senior who has lost most of his eyesight and hearing.

A few years later, Nico, our black pug, was a Valentine’s Day present for Brent. She is full of spunk and is the best of friends with Thing 1.

Next came Sunny, our black cat, better known as Meow Cow. He found us when he was a skinny homeless kitten wandering through a graveyard. He loves to travel and rides shotgun with Brent and I.

Before we hit the road, we considered finding temporary homes for the pugs. That lasted about a minute before we decided we couldn’t leave one member of the menagerie behind. It’s a good thing too because our yearlong travel plans went out the window six months into our trip. RVing is just that much fun.

So is RVing with pets.

Many people think travel and animals don’t mix. It’s true: Some types of travel aren’t suited for pets. Try explaining to the cruise line that your senior dog has anxiety when you aren’t around. Likewise, traveling with pets can certainly be expensive when you are buying an airline ticket for the cat to ride under your seat. With RVing, one of the great benefits is that you can satisfy your wanderlust while bringing along your furry friends.

But before you pack up Fido and head for the campground, take a few minutes to make the most of this adventure for you and your four-legged companions.

10 Tips for RVing with Pets

1. Make a packing list of things your pet will need. Food, water, dishes, leashes, waste-pickup bags, and a litter box for the feline family members are givens. But you may want to consider bringing treats, toys, a brush, an exercise pen, or a crate. Don’t forget any medications your pet may take.

2. Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.

3. Call the campground to make sure they allow pets. You may also want to ask if there are extra pet fees. Some campgrounds have breed restrictions, and many have a limit to how many furry friends you can bring.

4. If you are traveling for an extended time, or going to a remote area, make sure you have enough food, especially if your pet prefers a brand that is not readily available.

5. Make sure your animals’ tags are current with your cell phone. You’ll be traveling, so your home address or home phone number won’t be much help if they wander off. No one wants to think their pet will get lost, but accidents happen. Our first week on the road, one of our boys got distracted and left Nigel unattended. It was only for a minute, but in that time, he wandered off to another campsite. Thankfully our neighbor was understanding and called my cell phone right away. I walked over to get Nigel and found him sitting on his new friend’s lap.

6. Always pick up after your pet. Please! It’s the courteous thing to do.

7. Make sure your pets have been treated for fleas and ticks. You don’t want to encourage any stowaways in your RV.

8. Read and follow the campground rules. Many campgrounds have designated areas for pets, and some even have dog parks.

9. Many national parks don’t allow pets on trails, in the backcountry, or on waterfronts. Call ahead or go to the website of the national park you are visiting so you can plan accordingly.

10. This is a no-brainer, but if you are going to leave your pet alone in the RV for a few hours, make sure they have plenty of water, food, a place to potty (pee-pee pads work well), and proper ventilation or air conditioning.

Our pets have brought much joy to our RV adventures. We’ve hiked badlands with Nico, sat around many campfires with Nigel, and driven many miles with Meow Cow curled up in our laps. Sure, there have been times when we’ve had to make special arrangements, but for the most part, it’s been a simple process and worth every ounce of effort.

Do you #GoRVing with pets? Any advice or stories you can share?