RVing With Your Pets!

Camping is a fantastic way to get away from the chaos of your everyday life and spend time with your family and loved ones. For many people this includes their pets!

One of the many benefits to owning an RV is ability bring your pet along with you on your vacation. However, it is not always so simple. There is necessary preparation when it comes to travelling with pets, and things to keep in mind on the road and at the campground to keep your pet safe and your campground neighbors happy.

You should leave your dog at home if…

If you have a fearful dog who is nervous, it might be best to leave them at home. Bringing them to an area they are unfamiliar with may intimidate them and lead to them being uncomfortable and unhappy.

Female dogs in heat should be left at home as they could cause male dogs in the area to become energetic at her scent, and cause issues for other dog owners on site.

Puppies should stay at home.  A campground may have many dogs that could easily hurt a small defenseless puppy. In addition to danger from other dogs, wildlife could also easily eat or hurt a puppy.

Aggressive / territorial dogs should never be brought camping. They could attack campers or campers pets, who are only there to enjoy their own vacation. A campground can be very busy, and often people reach to pet a dog before asking or considering that it could be aggressive. Bringing an aggressive dog is putting other campers and other pets on the campground at risk.

Sick dogs obviously, should stay home. They will not be feeling well enough to enjoy their time camping, they need rest and relaxation they can only get at home. They could also get other dogs on the campground sick.

Barking dogs will scare off wildlife that campers may want to catch a glimpse of, and annoy your campground neighbor’s to no end. Of course dogs are going to bark every so often, but if your dog is notorious for endless barking, please do your campground neighbors a favor and do not bring them!  Never yell or hit your dog for barking, this only makes them nervous or fearful and causes more barking. Instead carry treats, and when they start to bark ask them to sit and distract them with a treat.

Doggie First Aid Kit

Doggie First Aid Kit

  • Scissors
  • Sterile eyewash
  • Tweezers
  • Tick remover tool
  • Vet Wrap
  • Gauze & Telfa pads
  • Medical Tape
  • Antiseptic Wash or Wipes
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Latex Gloves
  • Benadryl – Check doses with your Vet before leaving home

Before you leave

Before you embark on your adventure, there is prep work to be done to ensure your pets health and safety!

  • Make sure their collar tag, tattoo, or microchip are working and up to date.
  • Make up a baggie with your pets vaccination papers and a picture of them inside, in case they get lost.
  • Go online and research pet policies at all campgrounds, beaches, hiking trails, national and state parks before you head out.
  • Check they are up to date on vaccines, and ask your vet to see if they should get any additional vaccines for the area you are travelling to.
  • Introduce your dog to the RV before you leave, practice going up and down the stairs and show them their bed.
  • Train them to have great recall, so they can explore off leash but still come to you when you call.
  • Consider purchasing a doggie backpack if you plan to take them on hikes or long walks. This will allow them to carry their own supplies, and the extra weight might help tire out an energetic dog!
  • Consider purchasing a high visibility vest or light up collar for your pet so they will always be seen, even in the dark.
  • If you are camping near water it might be a good idea to buy your pet a life jacket.
  • Pack a doggie first aid kit.

On the road

Travelling with your pets unattended in the back of a towable trailer or fifth wheel is NOT a good idea, please have them travel in the vehicle with you.

If you are travelling in a motorhome you should not allow your pet to walk around the RV freely while on the road. Purchase a pet restraining device or place them in a kennel or carrier to keep you and your pet safe.

At only 50km being hit by an 80 pound dog can be more than 2400 pounds of pressure. A 10 pound dog would be a 500 pound projectile.

staying cool in heat

Staying cool in the heat!

If you can find shade to park your trailer in it will help keep the interior cool. Extending the awning and cooking outside are also ways to avoid raising the temperature inside of your trailer.

You can purchase a cooling mat or fan to keep your pet cool, wipe them with cold damp clothes, and rub ice over your pet to keep them cool on especially hot days.

Feeding your pet treats that are high in water content can help keep them hydrated.

DO NOT leave your pets unattended in your RV

But if you do…

You should do your best to never leave your pets unattended in an RV, especially for long periods of time. They could panic and ruin the inside of your RV, or overheat very easily. If you need to leave your animals for the day it is often better to find a local doggy daycare.

If you do need to leave your pet alone in the RV, always leave the AC on to prevent them from overheating. You should also leave a fan or radio on to drown out noise from outside and help prevent dogs from barking.

It is also a great idea to leave a note on the RV door that states how many animals are inside the RV, that they are fine, and when you should be back.

Many pet owners choose to hide a key to their trailer somewhere around their campsite if they are leaving their animals locked up. In case of an emergency they are able to call the campground office and somebody will be able to rescue the pets.

Cats may not be the most common pet that people bring along camping, but it can be done!

Before you leave

Never throw you cat into the camping environment. Begin by bringing them outside and introducing them to your backyard. Slowly progress to taking small walks around your neighborhood until they are comfortable being outside.

Setting up your RV

Cats may spend more time inside your RV than a dog would, and making sure that they have a safe spot that they are comfortable in is extremely important.

Cats love to have a hiding place, and it is important to create hidey holes inside of your RV for your cat to claim as a safe space. Place their bed or blanket inside of an open cupboard to give them a dark place to hide in.

Place scratch pads around your RV to deter your kitty from scratching your furniture. You can also purchase two sided sticky strips to stick to your furniture and prevent your cat from scratching.

Finding a spot for the litter box in an RV can be difficult. Most people choose to place the box inside of the shower, so it is not taking up precious floor space and it is an easy area to clean. Some people prefer to hide their cats litter box by drilling a hole in the side of a cupboard or closet door and placing a cat door to allow your cat to use their box whenever they please. You can put a litter box in the closet, underneath the dinette in a storage cupboard, or underneath the sink. Alternatively, you can also purchase a litter box cabinet, a litter box disguised as a piece of furniture to place inside of the RV.

Do not use litter clumping cat litter inside of an RV. If your RV has any moisture issues it will immediately affect the cats litter. Instead introduce your cat to a wood pellet style litter, and make sure they are comfortable using this litter before you leave on your trip.

Pet owners of strictly indoor cats commonly have their cats wear orange collars, to symbolize an “escaped convict” to anybody who may see the indoor cat outside.

Once you arrive, find a quiet area. Cats will leave your campsite to try and get a bite of your neighbor’s food, and loud screams and shouts from young children could scare them. Remain aware of dogs on the campground at all times.

Some pet owners choose to purchase a pet play pen so your pets can enjoy being outside with you without the risk of them running off.

Bring lots of toys from home to provide comfort, and make sure you play with your cat every day while camping! If they are locked in the RV frequently they need the exercise from playing to help keep them happy and comfortable.