One of the best reasons to travel by RV is that you can bring your pets along for the ride. Anyone who has a pet hates to leave them behind when they leave for a new travel adventure, but we also know how difficult it can be to make sure the family travel plans are suitable for the family pet. That longing look from Fido as you walk out the door or the stress and worry a family goes through to find a suitable pet sitter or boarding kennel can be very difficult. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer to have your pet there with you to enjoy the great times you’re having?
Here are some helpful tips to help make your next trip with your pet go really well:
• Most campgrounds across the United States welcome pets with either a very small or no additional charge beyond the regular campsite fee. When making your reservations with a campground always confirm that they do accept pets ask about their pet policies.
• A majority of campgrounds do require that pets remain on a leash or are otherwise contained. Campers often bring along a portable pet fence that can be opened to allow a pet some freedom and fresh air without being leashed. The same fence can also be used inside the RV possibly to confine the pet while traveling or while you are away from the RV for short periods of time.
• Probably the biggest complaint from campers without pets of those with them is the uncontrolled dog barking and howling. Some owners leave their dogs alone inside their RV or tied up outside for hours on end as they sightsee, hike, fish or shop. Leaving your pet like this can be annoying to the other campers, but it also can be bad for your pet. Leaving your pet outside and unattended can expose it to stray or wild animals. Leaving your pet inside your RV may allow it to destroy parts of the RV, or in hot weather, your pet may become overheated and sick or possibly die. Remember, ventilation and air conditioner systems can fail. Do you want your pet to fall victim in such a situation?
• Make sure your pet is wearing identification. Include the pet’s name, your name, address, and phone number. If possible, try to also include your travel information and contact information or the information of a designated contact. Temporary tags, which allow you to write-in contact information are available at most pet stores.
• Be sure to take along current photos of your pet. Just in case your pet does become lost, the photos will help in the search to find them.
• Take along items that are familiar to your pet such as a favorite blanket, toy and their favorite treats, to help them feel comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.
• Be sure to visit your veterinarian at least a week before you leave on your journey. This will insure a clean bill of health. Also get a health certificate and medical records to take with you and a certificate of rabies vaccination.
• Ask your veterinarian for references for other veterinarians in the area you are planning on visiting and keep their telephone numbers handy.
• If applicable, check to make sure you have enough of your pet’s prescription medications with you, for it is not easy to get a fill-in veterinarian to prescribe medications.
• Pets tend to drink more water while traveling, so be sure to have plenty available. A great idea is to fill a cooler with ice and use the water as it melts. Also, ice cubes are easier on your pet than large amounts of water, particularly if your pet’s stomach gets upset. For those who are taking their cats with them, be sure to pack extra litter to handle the extra water.
• Try to use travel water bowls that help to reduce or eliminate water splashes.
• Pets tend to shed more when traveling so keep a lint brush handy for clothing or seats.
• If your dog or cat is not used to being on a leash and walking with someone, start getting them ready by practicing long before the trip.
• Prepare a pet First Aid kit. Some items to include are tweezers, peroxide and/or alcohol, cotton swabs and cotton balls.
• Always clean up after your pet – so don’t forget those plastic bags.
• Make sure your pet is well-trained (mainly dogs) before taking him/her on the road. He/she should know the basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come and quiet before traveling. This is necessary for your pet’s safety and for your own sanity.
• For those indoor accidents or lingering pet smells, use a mixture of 4-1 of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.
• Try and keep the traveling environment similar to the home environment. Use the same food and keep feeding times the same as when at home. Try to keep sleeping conditions the same – crated or not.
With care, forethought and planning, traveling with a pet is easy and rewarding. After all they’re part of the family too!