According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 62 percent of all American families are proud pet owners. And who knows how many of those families are also regular RV travelers? Your family considers your prized Pekinese or Persian the hairiest member of your brood, and you couldn’t imagine traveling the country in your Winnebago Era without them. If you’re planning a weekend getaway, a weeklong adventure or a month’s trip across the country, you must prepare the trailer or RV for your cat or dog’s specific needs.
Before Hitting the Road
The best place to start your RV adventure is by visiting someone your pet probably isn’t very fond of: the veterinarian. Inquire if your cat or dog is well enough to travel and make sure he’s up-to-date on vaccines. If you don’t already have one, get a copy of your pet’s rabies certificate and store it inside the Winnebago.
About a week before your planned departure, allow your dog or cat to roam freely inside the Winnebago. This helps your pet familiarize himself with the surroundings. After a few minutes, place your pet inside a secure travel carrier and take your pet on a short drive.
Each day before the trip, take your pet on a longer drive to ensure he is comfortable with remaining in the carrier and Winnebago for extended periods of time. You may plan on allowing your dog or cat to sit on your lap during the trip, but it’s always a smart idea to acclimate them to a carrier, which could actually provide a frightened pet a level of security during the trip. If your pet is wholly uncomfortable and cannot handle the trip, consider leaving him with a trusted friend or relative.
Traveling with Dogs
Before hitting the road, call ahead to ensure your breed of dog is welcome. It’s unfortunate, but many pet-friendly parks won’t allow certain breeds to enter. Once everything is squared away, and you’ve made sure to grab the rabies vaccination certificate, it’s time to start your Winnebago adventure. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the ride easier on your dog:
- Pack your pooch’s favorite treats, a beloved toy or blanket and anything else that will help make him feel at home.
- Treat your dog with a flea and tick repellent, especially if you plan on camping in a heavily wooded area.
- Stop at least every three hours to let your dog drink, eat, run or “answer the call of nature.”
- Remember that your dog is just as sensitive to the RV’s temperature as you are. If possible, avoid traveling to notoriously hot destinations in the summer and in the event of a breakdown, be prepared to cool your dog with plenty of water.
- Keep your dog in a seatbelt as much as possible. It’s not safe for anyone to have your dog roaming around, especially if he decides to relax under the driver’s feet. If your dog begins to whimper or show any signs of anxiety, don’t hesitate to pull out the travel carrier.
Traveling with Cats
RVing with a cat presents its own unique set of issues. Among them is what to do with your cat on-the-road; especially when it’s time for Little Whiskers to do as nature intended.
- Protect your cat from an unnecessary injury by crating him for the majority of the trip. Once again, make sure to stop every few hours to allow your cat to stretch and eat.
- Remember to include a covered litter box as well as plenty of litter. Before beginning your trip, show your cat the location of his litter box and don’t hesitate to scoop it out often.
- Bring along your cat’s favorite scratching post, mouse toy or whatever makes him feel more safe and secure.
Reaching Your Destination
You’ve finally made it to the campground, and are ready to let your cat or dog run free. Before getting ahead of yourself, check the site’s rules regarding pets; when all else fails, keep your cat or dog on a leash at all times. An outdoor pet exercise pen is another great option if you want to allow you pet to remain off the leash, but not wander off to explore your neighbor’s lunch.
While prepping for your trip, remember there is no such thing as packing too many leashes. You might also want to consider purchasing a new Winnebago or at least making sure yours is ready for the trip. No matter what you need for your next RV adventure, look no further than www.arbogastrvs.com for your needs.
About the Author: Shannon Lindquist is a longtime RV owner and guest blogger. She is in the process of planning her third trip to the Grand Canyon with her husband and their three Labrador retrievers.