When you are ready to head out in your RV, your travel plans are all in place, and you are excited to see what the world offers, it is time for you to know how you can travel with your furry friends on the road. Plenty of fur parents are worried about bringing their dogs along due to RV’s space, but it is doable. Traveling with a dog is no different from having a human companion. They also need gear and entertainment just as we do. It would be a breeze to live an RV lifestyle with your pet when you have everything in place, including their safety needs and travel essentials.
1. Choosing a Dog-Friendly RV: Make Sure They Fit
The very first thing that you need to consider when you are planning to travel with dogs in an RV is whether they fit perfectly in them. Make sure that you find an RV that has sufficient space for your dog’s kennel or other large accessories that they may have.
It is also best to find an RV without any carpeting since RVs with small corners and tight spaces make cleaning the fur off the carpet difficult. There are some rigs on the market with a built-in dog kennel and an RV with a full washing station. Now, these types of RVs may be a bit more expensive than the regular ones, but they would definitely make your dog comfortable while on the road.
There is a huge difference between a house and an RV. You have less space with an RV since everything is more compact and closer to each other. The world may look like a huge playground for your dog, but this is not the case when you are driving for hours almost every day.
More so, dogs cannot speak for themselves, so you will have to think of them. Even as dogs enjoy your company and would want to be at your tail at all times, they also need time to themselves. You have to consider if you have been driving for too long, when is the right time for a bathroom break, and so much more.
2. Stationary Vs. Being On the Road With a Dog: Know the Difference
Living in an RV means you will be moving a lot, both literally and figuratively. It is different from being away for a couple of hours and going home to your dog at the end of the day. Even when you are used to being on the move, you will also have to consider how your dog would adapt to this lifestyle.
Your dog has everything it needs at home, from food to toys to even a pooping system. It knows its routine, day in and day out. Now, this will change once you are on the road, where daytime could turn into evenings and evenings into daytime. So you want to be sure your dog is also all in and is equally excited about turning into a modern-day nomad, just as you are.
It also means observing their traveling behavior if you have ever traveled together before at all. If not, it is best to run a test on it and drive to nearby destinations with your dog to have a chance to observe how they adjust.
3. Vet Needs: Be Ready at All Times
Another thing you should consider is the vet visits when something goes wrong. While you are on the road, checking off one place after the other, you also have to think about your dog’s health and safety.
Plan ahead and check local vets in the areas that you will be traveling. Have their web pages and contact details on file in case you need to visit them on your trip. Know your pet’s medication and health needs, especially with pre-existing conditions. Make sure they are vaccinated to have one less thing to worry about, especially with other domestic pets you will meet along the way.
Also, keep your dog’s records on hand so that you can provide them easily to your vet. Following these tips is the best way to ensure that your furry friend’s health is at its best while you are on the road.
4. Be Ready For the Adjustment Period: Moving From One Place to Another
The most important factor that you should keep in mind when it comes to living with a dog on the road is comfortability. Your dog would surely adjust to this new lifestyle. It takes a lot for any pet to move from being in a house they got accustomed to for the past years to having them go on long driving with basically no idea where they are headed.
Allow them that adjustment period so they can effectively adapt to the size, structure, and even the scent of your RV, the long drives, the limited toys they can enjoy, and, of course, the great outdoors at their disposal. They would still have everything they need and want but with more intention this time.
Keep in mind that pets can also become carsick, some symptoms being excessive drooling, unease, yawning, and continuous whining. Pay extra attention if your dog is acting differently. That said, be sure to make frequent stops for toilet breaks and leg stretches. This allows you to prepare your body for another session of long driving, and it gives your dog a breather by letting them step out to smell the flowers.
5. Know that You Will Have a 24/7 Buddy on the Road
In general, having a dog is like having a child with you, just with four legs and a wagging tail. So there is really more to consider than you think.
Dogs are great company until they get antsy from the long driving. While there is no question about your love for your dog, you have to take into account how you will both impact each other’s day just by being around each other 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like with other things, you have to take in the good with the bad – the morning face licks, the occasional walks, the barking at three in the morning, and everything else in between.
This is why the adjustment period is the most important part of living with a dog on the road. Making sure that they are well adjusted will make your furry best friend comfortable and make you comfortable.
6. Border Policies: Be In the Know
Traveling in an RV means sticking to land travels, but this still poses policy concerns, especially if you are traveling with a pet. Cross-country traveling within Mexico or the USA poses no problem since they do not require quarantining domestic or personal pets. As long as your pet is clear from any skin disease or pest and is equipped with identification like ID tags, you are good to go.
On the other hand, Canada requires dogs below eight months of age under the commercial category to be identified by an electronic microchip. Dogs that fall under this category are typically imported for retail sale, breeding purposes, show or exhibition, scientific research, and adoption.
7. Get The Pet Permits You Need At Parks: Be In the Know
One of the questions that pet owners have while living on the road is if their furry friend is allowed in campgrounds or RV parks. It is a question you should have at the back of your mind at all times while you travel. It is important to check first if the specific campgrounds or parks you are eyeing permit pets.
It will ultimately save you the effort of driving to that area only to be turned away. Park policies differ per city or state, so always check the information first before you proceed. You can check their website or call them to make sure if they allow pets or not and if they need special permits to enter the park.
8. Bring Identification for Your Dogs: In Case of Emergencies
The simplest way to provide pet identification is by giving them a collar with personal information in it, including the pet’s name, the owner’s name and personal information, and other details for emergency contact purposes. You would also want to have your Proof of Ownership ready anytime.
Say your dog runs out of your RV and decides on a spontaneous hide-and-seek game. Some people find them and claim your dog to be theirs. Without any tags or microchips, the only way to prove ownership is with proper documentation in place.
Imagine having nothing with you, and it can be a big headache. The good thing is you can avoid all this if you have everything you need to check off before you even start with your RV adventures.
Tracking devices can also be attached to the pet collar using a beacon/GPS to determine the pet’s location and attempt recovery. Some people are not fond of taking photos because they would rather “enjoy the moment,” but with technical matters such as a pet on the loose, pictures help prove ownership of pets. So remember to take photos of your beloved dog now and then during your RV travels. This simple act can essentially save a life.
9. Bring Your Pup’s Protective Gear: Great for Outdoor Adventures
An LED harness is most useful during evening activities as it helps you find your dog easily, especially when it is pitch black. Most of these are also easy to put on and remove, so you would not have to spend hours chasing your dog and getting exhausted before you even do anything. This does not only serve as a protective gear but can also be considered as an identifier.
It should properly fit your dog’s neck, shoulders, and chest. A loose vest or harness is prone to easy removal, giving them more chances to escape from your sight. Make sure it feels nice and snug so your dog can enjoy playing outdoors without you having to worry about anything.
Muzzling is not required at all times but should be practiced on some occasions. You might need to muzzle your pet depending on the laws in the area you are visiting. Make sure that the muzzle fits properly and allows for adequate breathing space.
10. Know the Environmental Risks When Living In An RV With a Dog
Being outdoors all the time means exposing yourself and your dog to environmental risks.
Wild animals and insects such as snakes and poisonous spiders carry many diseases that can affect your pet. The best approach would be to minimize contact as much as possible with local wildlife. Aside from that, rural areas are known for ticks and fleas, which can easily touch your dog if left unchecked. Have a supply of tick and flea medication, and inspect your dog’s fur regularly for unwelcome visitors.
Other than these risks, you should also be fully aware of your pet’s pre-existing health conditions and have medications and a first aid kit ready in case of an emergency.
11. Ensuring Your Furry Friend Is Healthy and Happy: Keep This In Mind
While dogs are typically excited at the thought of traveling, they still need to be entertained and cared for in their own ways. Keep them happy by bringing with you their favorite toys. Remember to have a toy bin with you as well to ensure the organization of play objects during travel. Treats also help as an occasional show of affection or as a way of easing discomfort or traveling blues.
Outdoor adventures are fun, but they can take a toll on their beautiful coats, so have your outdoor shower equipment ready or at least have a shower system in place so they can stay fresh and clean even on the road. Maintain the frequent walks as you would when you are home, so they can enjoy the outdoors while you make stops on the way to your destination. You may also introduce interactive activities for your bonding time to keep them mentally sharp and physically active.
It is also best to know your dog’s temperament so that you know how much exercise they need. There are some breeds that require more exercise than others since they have high energy. For dogs that have long hair, it is impermeable that you keep up with their grooming needs.
12. Dog’s Travel and Health Insurance: The Most Critical Thing to Have
Pet owners usually overlook pet travel insurances, but this comes extremely handy for pet costs, including accidents or issues during travels, vet bills, and other travel costs related to your dog’s well-being. Like other insurances, pet travel insurance can cover up to a certain amount, which definitely takes off a lot from your personal expense, especially when you do not have an emergency stash in place or have run out of a pet budget.
On the other hand, Pet health insurance basically covers injuries or disease. Some insurance companies also cover both international and domestic travel. Ask your insurance provider for exact information.
Dogs are great company and will protect you at all times, making them awesome travel buddies. Some people consider it to be a huge hassle to travel with pets, but if you are looking into living and traveling with your dog in an RV, this is completely doable, provided they have everything they need to stay healthy, safe, and happy. Once everything is settled, allow them an adjustment period so they can adapt from a stationary to an RV travel lifestyle, where they would need their travel essentials and gear. On top of this, consider getting them pet travel insurance, which would help cut costs and keep your furry travel buddy safe and sound.