Everyone has a spirit of adventure in them. This is exactly the reason why people want to spend some time in an RV, touring the world. RVing is an awesome and wholesome adventure and one that, everyone should try.
That being said, there is a quandary that often affects people who have pets. After all, you cannot go out touring the world and live your little bundle of joy all along. This was a challenge I faced.
Once I decided that I would spend some time in an RV, I also had to find ways to make sure that my pet was as comfortable as possible.
Here are ten things that I learned during my stay in an RV; things that every single person who wants to go RVing with a pet should know about.
1. Getting them acclimated before going on long trips
Once I had set my mind on RVing, I immediately knew that I had to familiarize my dog with what would be its home for a period of time. After all, I was going to uproot it from a place it was accustomed to a moving house.
Assimilating your pet to the RV is something that takes some time. You have to make sure that it understands that this is where it will be spending its time. To be completely honest, in the first couple of days when I introduced the dog to the RV, it was a bit of a hustle. However, I understood that it was better for both me and the dog to get this hustle out of the way right now, instead of when I was on the road.
Take the first few days after you rent out, or buy, the RV to get your pet assimilated with the surroundings. Show it where it will be resting while you drive while also making sure that it gets used to the reduced amount of space.
This assimilation process did not apply to the dog only, but also to me. I had to make sure that I got used to the fact that I would be living and traveling in a congested space. I also had to make sure that my routine, and that of my pet, were aligned. I knew that I was changing the place I was living in, but I also understood that I could make both of us more comfortable if I maintained the routine we had.
2. Make a list of all the essentials needed for the trip, and bring them with you
I am a firm believer that planning and order will palliate any form of chaos. Thus, I understood that I had made a list of all the things that my pet would need during the trip. This made sure that I did not forget anything. The hustle and bustle of planning and packing for a trip are so hectic that it is almost inevitable to forget a couple of things. To prevent this eventuality, I made sure that I had created a list of all the necessities my pet would need. I also made sure that they were all packed and loaded into the RV before the trip began.
It may seem that pets only need food and water, but that is a grave mistake people make. I made sure that I carried all the grooming equipment needed for the trip. Additionally, I also made sure to bring some toys, so that the dog would have something to do as we traveled across the country.
I also made sure that I had enough waste pick up bags and a leash. Last but not least, I made sure that had carried their favorite fuzzy sweater. This is because weather naturally, is very capricious. Ergo, I had to make sure that if it got a bit chilly, the dog would not get cold.
Even though I had the capability of remembering all these things without writing them down, I made sure to write them down.
3. Make sure they have the proper identification
This is perhaps the most essential thing you have to do before and during your trip. Nobody wants to lose their pet. Nobody even wants that thought to cross their mind. However, as a responsible pet owner, I had to make sure that I was prepared for any eventuality. Thus, before the trip started, I made sure that the dog tag has all the detail, both his and mine.
Another route you can take to ensure your pet’s safety is to have them chipped. Though it is a bit more expensive than having simply using a tag, you will have the ability to know where your dog is at all times. This is especially important when you are RVing. After extended periods in a closed space, your pet will get a bit angst. Once you let them go for a stroll, they will want to go for a long period and walk for long distances. Make sure that they have the proper identification, or are chipped, so that, if they get lost, it will be easier to find them, or to be contacted by someone who has found them.
It is very easy to find a place that sells pet tags. Prevention is better than cure, goes the adage. So, make sure that they have proper identification before you embark on your tour.
4. Keep their medical records with you
Before I moved into the RV, I made sure that I had made a list that had every medical detail concerning my pet. The list included;
Vaccination records – Most camping grounds require that you show your pets vaccination records before they can permit them to enter. This is done so as to ensure that the pet is in good health and that the safety of people and other pets is maintained.
Allergies – I do know all my dog’s allergies. However, I find it necessary to have a list of all your dog’s allergies, because you might have to leave the dog with someone who doesn’t know them. You should also note down all the medical ailments of the dog.
Apart from the medical records, there are also other documents that I know were essential. One of the said documents is proof of ownership. If by accident, your pet gets lost and is found by another person, you have to make sure that you have the necessary documents to show that the pet is actually yours.
I also decided to go with a couple of pictures of my dogs. In the event that you lose your dog or pet, you will need one or two quality pictures to show people while you are looking for it. I make sure that every couple of days, while on tour, I take a couple of pictures with the dog. Not only do they serve the purpose of keeping memories, I know they will be my go-to if anything happens.
All three of these documents are essential. Lastly, always make sure that you have a first aid kit, for both your safety and that of your pet.
5. Be mindful of potty breaks
It is essential that you take your pet’s needs into consideration when you are RVing. One way to do this is to make sure that you have regular intervals in between your trip so that your pet can relieve itself. During the trip, I find it essential to do this. This makes sure that the pet isn’t angst up, while also giving you a chance to sightsee during the said breaks.
It is essential, however, to ensure that the pet is always in sight during these potty breaks. You don’t want to lose your pet, after all.
6. Get as little carpet as possible for the RV
Carpets are aesthetically pleasing, that I cannot deny. It will make the RV feel like home. Notwithstanding, I have found that keeping the carpet area at a minimum is necessary if you want to go RVing with your pet. If possible, I advise that you should not even have a carpet in the first place.
The reason for this is very simple. Your pet will be in a confined space for long periods. Thus, every once in a while, irrespective of how much potty training you have done, it may piss or poop in the RV. Without a carpet, it will be very simple to clean up the mess. However, if this atrocity was commented on a carpet, removing the mess will turn into an odious task.
Even if you are able to remove the carpet, you might have to find it difficult to stay inside the RV because the smell is retained.
Having a carpet in your RV is a matter of weighing the pros and cons. If you find that you absolutely have to have a carpet in your mobile home, then so be it. However, make sure that you keep it at a minimum. I would advise against having a carpet in the first place.
7. Buckle your dog down when the RV is moving
If you have a pet dog, then you understand how anxious they get when they aren’t accustomed to things. Even if it isn’t anxiety, they will be amped up and get very excited all of a sudden. Cats are also the same. One minute they are calm and composed, then the next minute they are jumping up and down. This can be very dangerous when they are in the RV. Sudden changes in speed and direction will have them toppling over.
Thus, I have found that is absolutely essential to make sure that you buckle them down before you begin moving. This will ensure your safety and peace of mind, because you will always know where they are, and that they are safe. Additionally, it will prevent any accidents that might be detrimental to the health and safety of your pet.
8. Have an emergency plan ready.
Nobody wants anything bad to happen to their pets. Even the thought of an accident happening to your pet is sometimes nauseating. Nevertheless, we should always be prepared for the worst. When RVing, I have found that it is essential to have an emergency plan, just in case anything goes wrong.
One of the things you need to know is where the nearest vet is. From the moment you notice that your pet isn’t feeling well, you are working against time to make sure that they will be with you. Nowadays, having a first aid kit is essential not only to pets but also to us. However, the first aid kit’s function is to palliate the condition while real medical help is being sought after. It is for this reason that you should know exactly where you will find a vet to treat the condition.
You should also know where you will be able to buy food. I have found that, nowadays, especially in modern towns and cities, you can basically find food for your pet at any store. However, when you are RVing, you need to make sure you know precisely where you will find the food.
You may be traveling through or to a very remote part of the region, where it is difficult to find basic necessities. Thus, if you are unable to find food for your pet, it is recommended that you make sure that you have sufficient stock of food and water. Medication, if your pet has certain conditions, is another thing you have to factor in when you are going for a trip.
As I said before, it is far much better to be adequately prepared, so that nothing will catch you off-guard.
9. Leave the air conditioner or heater on if you are leaving the RV
Different areas have different climatic conditions. This means that you need to leave the air conditioner, or heater, on if you plan on leaving your pet inside the RV.
Uprooting the pet from the surrounding it is accustomed to, and placing him or her in the RV can be awkward. Thus, you need to do everything possible to make sure they are as comfortable as possible. This means that you will need to have the air around them made suitable for their comfort.
Leaving the air conditioner on may seem like a waste of your battery power, but it will go a long way in ensuring that you and your pet are comfortable in the RV. At times, it is recommended that you move around in the open air with your pet to break the monotony of staying within an enclosure for so long.
10. Keep your pet leashed wherever you go with them
The best way to ensure that your pet is safe is to have them leashed. I took some time, before actually moving into the RV, to let my dog get accustomed to going on walks with a leash. Traveling can be tedious, even though all you do the whole day is to sit and watch the trees and country fly by.
I noticed that having a walk at least once a day will not only make your pet more comfortable and less lethargic, it will also strengthen the bond between the two of you.
The leash, at first, may be a bit uncomfortable on your pet, especially if they aren’t accustomed to it. However, over time, you will find that they will be comfortable moving around while on a leash. This gives you peace of mind because you will know where they are at all times. You can even decide to integrate the pooping breaks and the walks; a two in one, I call it.
While on this topic, you will find that there is a need to have some regular exercise. Staying cooped up in the RV the entirety of the day is a drag. Thus, you will need to have at least an hour of play and exercise, both for you and your pet.
I have found that even an hour of exercise will remove the lethargy, burn out the energy you both have, and leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the rest of the trip.
What you need to understand about RVing with your pet is that some of the things start way before you even move into the RV. Things such as training your pet to move around with a leash and getting them accustomed to staying in small spaces over a long period of time are things you need to do in advance.
Once you follow all the guidelines outlined, you will find that RVing with your pet is actually fun, contrary to what common beliefs will have you thinking.
Take up what you have been planning to do since way back when. Hire the RV and travel the country, with your dearly beloved pet by your side every step of the way.
If you found this article useful, please check out my other articles. I write all about RV living, such as how to stay safe or how to make money on the road.