Tips for Keeping Furry Friends Healthy & Happy on the Road
Deciding to adopt an RV lifestyle does not mean you have to leave behind your beloved pets. Whether you’re living in your RV full-time or part-time, or are just taking a short vacation, traveling with pets can make your adventures even more enjoyable. Here are some of our top tips for keeping your pet happy and healthy while on the road.
Tips for Traveling With Dogs
RVing with dogs is much the same as living with them at home, with a few notable adjustments. You will have to stop for bathroom breaks as often as you would let them out at home, so don’t expect to cruise down the highway for hours on end; make sure to plan some pit stops along the way. Remember to keep some pet waste bags on hand for stops you make that aren’t near a disposal.
Most dogs feel happiest when they have a routine. Though life on the road can be unpredictable, you can create a sense of stability by trying to feed your dogs, and allow for bathroom breaks, at around the same time each day. Bringing along their favorite toys, or a dog bed, can also make your RV feel a little more like home.
Exercise is also paramount when traveling with dogs. Not only does exercise keep them healthy, it prevents bad behavior stemming from boredom or anxiety. Plan for at least an hour pit stop for each day of driving so that your dog can get out some energy. Do a little research ahead of time about dog parks en route, or dog-friendly rest stops. These are great places for humans to meet new friends too!
There’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to where and how to secure your dog while your RV is in motion. For some dogs, being secured in a kennel is most calming, while others feel most at ease being buckled in a harness out of their carrier; you’ll want to test out what works for your pet. The important thing is that your dog is secured in some way to protect them in the event of an accident, and to prevent them from distracting the driver.
Remember that, though you love your furry friend, not everyone at your campsite will be comfortable with dogs. It’s always a good idea to have a conversation with your neighbors about what they’re comfortable with and prevent your pets from straying onto their site, or using the bathroom there.
Tips for Traveling With Cats
Cats can be temperamental when it comes to travel, and are generally less adaptable than dogs, depending on their breed, past experience, and age. The number one thing to keep in mind is that cats are creatures of routine. If you’re planning on RVing with cats who have not been in a vehicle for an extended period of time, you should set aside time to ease them into it.
At least a few weeks before you set out, let your cat get used to the parked RV. Move a litter box that your cat has already used into the RV, as well as some of their favorite toys and food. Standby while your feline sniffs around and explores the new environment for a few hours. This will allow them to find new nooks and hiding spots, so that they feel at home in the space when you finally depart.
Next, you will have to help the cat adjust to the motion of a moving vehicle. It’s best to start in small increments: Slowly drive around for 20 minutes at a time, securing the cat in its carrier. You may find that once they’ve adjusted to being in motion, they’ll want out of their carrier so they can go to a chosen “safe spot” in the RV.
Once you’ve decided to bring along your feline companion on an extended RV trip, you’ll need to decide whether they’ll be an indoor, or indoor/outdoor cat.
Keep in mind that indoor cats may still want to be let outside once in a while, especially if you have a smaller RV. Consider investing in a cat harness and leash for walks around rest stops or your campsite. Of course, it’s best to do leash training before you embark on your journey, so try it out on walks around your neighborhood before departing on your journey. This way, you can bring your cat along on outdoor adventures, or just let him hang out outside while you’re grilling or visiting with neighbors at your campsite.
If your cat comes to you when you call, or follows you around outside, you may be able to let him wander around your site or go on walks with you; just make sure to check the policy on cats at your campsite. The Lazydays RV Resort, and many other RV campsites, are cat friendly. Be extra cautious in state or national parks, however. Domesticated pets can interfere with wildlife and kill birds or small prey. Be advised that there are major fines if your pet kills wildlife.
What to Pack for Your Pet
Many issues with pets while traveling in an RV can be avoided by simply having the right equipment.
A hard and soft carrier for cats and small dogs - One made of hard plastic is durable, and will keep your pet more stable while your RV is in motion.
- Airtight food storage for dry food- Airtight containers keep dry food fresh and protect it from hungry critters.
- Register your pet with a microchip - If your pet does get lost in a new environment, animal shelters can check the microchip to access your number and a permanent address.
- Paperwork from your home veterinarian - Taking an animal across state or national borders can get tricky if you are unable to prove that your pet has had all of its shots. Keep veterinary records in the RV, at a permanent address, and digitally.
- Prescriptions and medicine - If your pet is on a prescription be sure to pack enough for the entire journey. Backup medicines for fleas, worms, and other common illnesses are also good to have on hand.
- Toys and comfort items - Favorite toys, blankets, beds, and so on are very important for your pet’s happiness on the road. Travel can be stressful and having some comforts of home is calming for pets.
RV pets can enjoy travel just as much as humans once they’ve adjusted to the RV lifestyle. Join Lazydays RV at our pet-friendly resort and meet the other furry friends that are a part of the incredible RVing community.