Everyone can use a few tips for RVing with pets! Whether you’re renting a pet friendly motorhome, or considering buying an RV of your own, it’s a great way to make traveling with your furry family members easier.
And, rest assured, you won’t be alone. By most estimates, over half of RV owners bring a pet along!
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There’s nothing better for pet-friendly trips than a vehicle that provides all the comforts of home … but comes on wheels.
One of the primary benefits of RV travel is that your pets can enjoy the great outdoors all day, but always sleep in the same space at night. That consistency allows dogs and cats to become familiar with their new environment, develop a routine, and accept the RV as another “home.”
Of course, there’s also something to be said for large storage compartments for stowing all your pet’s necessities. And don’t forget the added conveniences – like outdoor showers – to help keep pet messes to a minimum.
But traveling by RV can also present some unique challenges in caring for your pets. After years of traveling with Ty and Buster in our motorhome, we’ve picked up a few tricks for keeping pets safe and happy along the way.
Before you leave, spend a couple weeks making a list of all the things you use to care for your pets. Whenever something new comes up, add it to your list, and then pack all those items for your trip. (This handy pet packing list will help ensure you don’t forget anything important.)
During your trip, add items to the list that you wish you’d have brought, and cross off things you packed and didn’t need. Your revised list will make packing for your next trip a lot easier!
Traveling with pets requires a little more planning. You’ll want to make sure your destination has a nice selection of pet-friendly RV parks or campgrounds, restaurants, and things to do – because there’s nothing worse than realizing that your vacation spot isn’t all that pet friendly!
You’ll find more than 65,000 pet-friendly establishments listed on GoPetFriendly.com, but always call ahead to confirm their pet polices haven’t changed. You can also peruse our 200+ “paws on the ground” pet-friendly destination guides for inspiration on the places you’d enjoy visiting.
Your RV will feel like a home, so holding your cat on your lap, or letting your pup roam around while you’re driving may seem natural. It’s actually very dangerous … not only for your pet, but for yourself, and everyone else on the road.
RVs can weigh more than 40,000 pounds, and driving a vehicle that large requires your full attention. Pets should always ride in the same vehicle as you – not inside a camper you’re towing – and be buckled up in a crash-tested seat belt harness or a carrier that’s been secured in place.
This will not only protect your pets from being injured in an accident, it will also keep them from distracting the driver and causing a crash.
We use the lap belts in our sofas to buckle Ty and Buster up anytime the motorhome is in motion. They see it as part of our standard operating procedure, and settle in for a nap while we chauffeur them to the next destination.
Another reason to use seat belt harnesses or secured carriers for your pets is to keep them from getting lost. We once saw an RV owner clip the concrete barrier beside the fuel pump at a gas station with his brand new rig. He jumped out to assess the damage, and when he opened the door to get back in, his terrified cat bolted!
Luckily, he managed to catch her in midair – but without sharp reflexes, that little bump could have turned into a disaster.
Get more tips to keep pets from getting lost on your next road trip!
Using a folding barrier is another great way to keep your pets from making an unexpected departure from your RV. Placing a pet gate between the living space and door of your RV will allow you to come an go without tripping over paws, while trying to keep your pets from scooting out the door.
Traveling cats and dogs should also have up-to-date ID tags on their collars. As an additional precaution, verify that the service where your pet’s microchip is registered has your current contact information.
We know how tempting it is to put the RV in drive and just keep on rolling, but making time for potty breaks and walks in the park is one of the best parts of traveling with pets!
Ty and Buster love to stop and sniff the roses or mosey down a trail to break up the drive – and it’s good for us all to take a break. Plan a picnic or scope out a little town to explore along your route, and it won’t feel like you’ve spent the whole day behind the wheel.
Our pet friendly road trip planner allows you to map your route and make sure you don’t miss any hotspots along the way!
For as homey as RVs can be, when it comes to weather extremes, you’re still at the mercy of Mother Nature. Always keep an eye on the weather forecast and be on the lookout for storms, high winds, or dangerous temperatures.
When you arrive at your RV parks and campgrounds, locate the storm shelters and always take your pets with you in an emergency situation. And, if you’re traveling when heat is an issue, some additional precautions are required.
You should never place 100% confidence in your RV’s air conditioning system. From mechanical failures, to power surges or outages at your campground, to another camper inadvertently cutting the power to your unit, there are many ways your air conditioner can fail. When you leave your pets unattended – even if it’s just long enough to pick up a few groceries – have a back-up plan in place to protect them.
Many RVs have generators that can be set to start automatically if the power supply is interrupted and the interior thermostat reaches a predetermined temperature. This allows the air conditioner to run even when there’s no electricity to your RV. If your RV didn’t have an auto-starter as part of the original equipment, one can be installed anytime.
You can also set up a wireless temperature monitoring device, which allows you to remotely check the temperature inside your RV, so you’re always sure your pets are comfortable while you’re away.
See our reviews of the best remote temperature monitors for RVs.
More and more places are adopting pet-friendly policies and welcoming pet travelers – but we need to keep in mind that it’s privilege. Bad behavior by one pet owner can affect us all!
So, be sure that you’re a good representative of the pet travel community by keeping barking to a minimum, obeying leash laws and pet guidelines, and always, always, always picking up after your pets.
The most important part of RVing with your pets is to have fun! The whole point of a vacation is to kick back and relax with your best friends. Staying calm and cool will help you and your pets enjoy your RV trip to the fullest.
We recently added a dog ramp to our RV essentials to help Buster get in and out of the motorhome. If your pet is having difficulty with the RV steps, click here to check out what we’ve learned!
Sitting outside at night has become less smokey and more enjoyable with our propane fire pit! With a few parts and about 30 minutes, it can be connected to your RV’s low-pressure quick-connect propane outlet for added convenience.
We also realized that if something happened to us while Ty and Buster were alone in the RV, our family would need help locating them. Check out this post on how we’ve prepared for the worst.
We hope these tips make your next RV adventure even more fun for the whole family!
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