You already know that traveling by motorhome is a great way to see the world. But have you considered that the same aspects you love about RVing also make it easy to take your pets along for the ride? It’s no wonder that an estimated 50 percent of RVers travel with their pets!
First of all, traveling in a home on wheels is more comfortable for everyone. It’s easier and more cost-effective to park and pop the slides than it is to schlep everyone to a pet-friendly hotel. Plus, your pets have the same spot to sleep each night — hooray for sticking to a routine! And most pets do better in familiar surroundings, which of course means you’ll be happier, too!
As with any activities with pets, there are unique challenges and things to consider when taking your pets along with you in your motorhome. My husband and I have spent the past 10 years traveling the country in our Winnebago with our two dogs, Ty and Buster, so it’s safe to say we learned a few things along the way. We have lots of great pet travel advice on our site, but here are our top tips for anyone who’s interested in hitting the road in an RV with their best furry pals.
Organize Your (Pet’s) Gear
Packing properly is a major factor in the success of your motorhome trip. This goes for your pets as well. A few weeks before you leave, start a list of the items your pet needs on a daily basis. Then, think about things he might need on an infrequent basis. If your pup can’t live without his Thundershirt during storms, make sure to pack it!
Plan Your Route
Traveling with a pet requires a bit more planning than just hopping in the rig to explore the open road. You’ll want to make sure the campgrounds you book are pet-friendly and that any attractions you plan to see will also welcome your pet. Traveling will be much more fun for you both when your pup can go along to see the sights. While you’re planning your route, be sure to note some pet-friendly restaurants as well, to give you options for dining out.
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Be a Courteous Pet Owner
This should go without saying, but be courteous. Pick up after your pet and observe pet policies. And be honest with yourself when it comes to your pet and how great of a traveler he may be. Dogs that bark nonstop don’t make pleasant neighbors, and might not be well suited for motorhome travel. Try a night or two before you head out on longer trips to make sure your pet is a polite campground guest.
Microchip and Tag Your Pet
Microchipping and making sure your pet has an ID tag on his collar are critical pet-owner responsibilities no matter where you are. But when you’re on the road they are even more important. Make sure your contact info is up to date with the microchip registry, including your current cellphone number. The same goes for ID tags. Microchips are great but having an ID tag on his collar (and rabies tag, too, for that matter) will help anyone who finds your pet get in touch with you right away.
While you’re at it, snap a few good, current photos of your pet so if he happens to go wandering about on his own, you have a photo to share. Get a couple of copies printed so you can easily distribute and/or make posters to hang up if the unthinkable occurs and you have to go on a hunt for your pet.
Buckle Up For Safety
General RV safety requires that everyone inside the vehicle is always buckled up whenever the rig is on the move — and that should include your pets. This protects your furry family members in case of an accident, but it can also help prevent a crash. Free-roaming pets have a tendency to want to hang out near the driver and that can be a big distraction! Keep everyone buckled up (or crated) and safe while you’re on the road.
Bring Along Your Pet’s Records
The last thing you want is for your pet to get sick or injured on the road and require an emergency vet visit. But if it happens, it will be easier for the veterinarian caring for your pet if you bring along your pet’s medical and vaccination records.
Give Your Pet a Safe Space
Even if your pet has exceptional recall and isn’t likely to go running off whenever the motorhome door opens, strange things can happen when you’re on the road. Consider using a folding playpen or pet gate to keep your pet away from the door while you’re setting up or breaking camp. These are times when you’re distracted with other activities, and keeping your pet contained will keep him from being underfoot as you’re settling in or getting ready to depart.