Wingin' It!, Episode 63: RV Travel Tips for Pet Lovers
Being able to bring our pets along for our adventures is one of the best things about traveling in an RV. Over the years we've traveled with a combination of dogs and cats and we've learned a thing or two about how to keep them comfortable, safe and happy on road trips. A few years ago, we shared 10 Tips For Traveling With A Dog. And now that we've added a kitty back into our family travels, we felt like it was time for a new post with our top tips for traveling with pets!
Our Top 12 Tips For RVing With Cats and Dogs
Here are a few things we've learned from our RV travels with an older cat, a kitten, a puppy, a dog and a senior dog...
- Try to introduce your pet to the RV when you will be at a campground or RV park for several days. Moving adds a whole different level of new experiences for them, so it's good for them to get comfortable in the RV before it moves with them onboard.
- Try to maintain their routine as much as possible. If they are used to eating at a certain time, or snuggling with a particular toy or blanket, be sure to maintain that routine to help them relax and feel at home.
- Invest in a good strong harness and leash (even for your cat) and make sure it fits him/her snuggly but not too tight. The last thing you want is to lose your pet while you are camping. We've found that a harness is much better for keeping our cats with us than a collar. Cats can escape from collars easily. You want the harness to be impossible for the cat to escape from by not so tight that it is uncomfortable. Let them get used to it by wearing it around the house before you try to attach the leash and go outside. Some dogs respond better to harnesses as well. In Star's case, she is so big and strong, that it is difficult for us to control her with a harness. So she wears a pinch collar outside.
- Until you know how your pet will react to being outside, you should always assume that they might panic and try to run. Be prepared and hold on to that leash!
- Just as you want to keep your pet's eating time consistent, you'll want to bring along the same food and treats that they are used to eating. While they are adjusting to RV life, they might get an upset stomach or have trouble staying on a regular bathroom schedule. This might be due to stress, excitement, or they might be overwhelmed by all of the new sights, sounds, and smells. Changing up their food/treats might just add to those issues. Be patient with them as they get used to the new experience.
- Be sure that your pet is current on all of their medical records and vaccinations, and be sure to carry proof of the vaccinations and their medical history with you in the RV. Certain campgrounds or RV resorts might ask to see this proof when you check in. But it's also a good idea to have the information with you in case a trip to the local vet is necessary during your travels.
- Don't leave your pets at home just because you have a small RV! We've seen multiple pets and even multiple large dogs traveling in small campers. As long as you are comfortable, your pets will be comfortable. After all, they are typically happiest with their people.
- If you have a cat or small dog (or ferret or any kind of small animal), be sure to block off any areas inside the RV that they might be able to get into where they might get stuck or hurt, or where you will have a hard time helping them get out. Be sure to consider under furniture, beds, appliances or slides.
- If your pet loves the outdoors, be sure to open the RV door slowly so you can catch him/her if they try to escape as you are going inside. If this becomes a problem, consider limiting them to the closed bedroom, bathroom or to their kennel while you are away.
- When you take your pets outside, always be mindful of the weather. Never leave them outside alone and always make sure that they have shade and water. If they start to get too hot, take them in the air conditioned RV. Remember, they are doing what you are, but they are wearing a fur coat! We protect Star's paws from hot concrete, sharp rocks and sticker burrs with dog hiking boots.
- Just like any vehicle, never leave your pets unattended in a hot RV. If you stop along your travels, make sure they have a way to relax in comfort. When we travel, we run our motorhome's generator and both of our roof air conditioners. If we stop to eat or see something along the way, Star and Astro are safe inside in the air conditioning.
- Secure your pets before you bring in or put out your slides and while you are packing up to leave or unpacking to set up camp. This transition period can be stressful on pets, so you'll want to be extra careful to keep them safe and secure.
Where Do You Put The Litter Box in an RV??
And then there's the litter box! Think about a convenient place where the litter box will be out of the way, but where the kitty can always access it. Our old RV had a small compartment for shoes or tools next to the entry stairs. It was the perfect size for a litter box, was completely sealed, so our cat, Lilo, couldn't get herself in trouble, and had a sliding door to keep our dog (Star) out. It was a purr-fect setup. (See what we did there?)
Our current RV doesn't have a compartment like that, so we've opted for keeping Astro's litter box in the shower. Of course, we want to be extra careful not to let any litter get down into our grey tank! We lay down a towel, cover the towel with a cat litter mat and then place the litter box on top of that. We chose a litter box with a top on it and extreme hard-clumping and dust-free litter to cut down on dust and odors. We then keep the shower door pulled almost shut so the kitty can go in but the dog can't. When we take showers, we just move the box to the hallway temporarily.
We clean the litter box several times a day and put the waste in a bag that we immediately seal to control any odors.
Some of the RVing Pet Items We Like:
For more travel pet products that we like, check out our Amazon storefront: https://www.amazon.com/shop/rvtexasyall