You already love traveling in your RV. The only thing that could make it better is if your furry friend could hit the road with you. Bringing your pet on an RV getaway sounds like a lot of fun, but there are some steps to take if you want to make the experience safe and enjoyable for your animal. If you plan on traveling with your four-legged friend, RV Trader has seven tips for making your RV pet friendly.
1. Get Your Pet Acquainted with the RV
Before you set out on your travels, let your pet get comfortable with the smells and surroundings of your RV. Pay attention to your pet’s behavior as they explore the camper, and even take them on a short drive. If your pet starts showing signs of stress or anxiety, such as whining, pacing, or shaking, calm them down by pulling over and slowly petting them. Let your furry companion know that the RV is their home too, and help them adapt to the unfamiliar environment. Once they start to relax, feed them a treat so they associate being in the RV with receiving a reward.
Check out our other article for more tips on dealing with pet anxiety during RV travel.
2. Create a Space for Your Pet
If your pet is crate trained, bring a collapsible crate so they have a safe and cozy place to sleep at night and relax during the day. Furnish their crate with a bed, as well as a blanket, favorite toy, or other item from home to help make your pet’s environment more familiar. Since wire crates are open on all sides, your pet will get better airflow compared to a plastic crate.
If you have an indoor cat who’s used to going in a litter box, keep one in your RV in a spot that’s out of the way. Empty storage areas, such as under shelves or in a closet, are good places to hide a litter box in your rig.
Bring a portable fence or pen to set up at campsites and RV parks so your pet has some room to roam at outdoor destinations. Collapsible pens adhere to the leash and containment rules that many RV parks and campgrounds enforce. These can also be easily stowed while you’re driving without taking up too much space.
3. Give Your Pet Easy Access In and Out of the RV
The fold-down steps in an RV are typically made with aluminum, or they’re coated with anti-skid tape so you can safely get in and out of your unit. These surfaces make it a little harder for dogs and cats to use. Consider putting down some carpet pieces or stair treads to give your pet more traction when they use the stairs. Some brands are made for indoor and outdoor use, so you won’t need to worry about the pieces developing mold and mildew. Or, if your pet has mobility issues, purchase a collapsible ramp to give them an assist.
4. Secure Your Pet When Moving
While your RV may feel like a living room on wheels to you, it’s still an unsteady environment for your pet. If your animal is having a hard time getting situated when you’re in motion, use one of these methods to safely secure them:
- There are adjustable harnesses that snap into your RV’s existing seat belts so your dog can sit up or lay down on the seat.
- If you packed a crate, you can anchor it or position it from sliding around as you drive, keeping your pet safe from any items that may fall as you navigate the roads.
- You can also get a pet car seat for small animals that not only keep them secure, but elevate them enough so they can look out the window.
5. Give Your Pet a View
One of the best parts of traveling by RV is getting to see all of the sights along the way. Give your pet the same opportunity by installing adjustable window shades or blinds in your unit. You’ll be able to raise the shades or blinds so your pet can easily see the view, then lower them when the sun gets too hot. A pet carrier placed near a window is also an ideal spot for your cat to hang out.
6. Monitor Your RV’s Temperature
One of the biggest dangers to the safety of pets traveling in an RV is overheating due to high temperatures. Always keep your camper at a cool enough temperature for your animal to be comfortable. Consider using a monitor that notifies you when there are changes in the temperature, humidity, and even loss of power to your unit, if you have to leave your pet alone. These high-tech monitors can operate over Wi-Fi or your phone’s cellular network.
If your RV does get too hot, or you notice your pet excessively panting, keep a cooling mat in your unit. You can place these in your pet’s crate, on their bed, or on the floor where they lay to provide a cooling effect.
7. Don’t Leave Your Pet Alone for Too Long
When you stop at different destinations, you sadly won’t be able to bring your pet inside certain places. While you can keep them in your RV, as long as the inside temperature is being monitored, you never want to leave your pet alone for too long. When left unaccompanied, your animal could become very mischievous and start snooping around the RV where they shouldn’t be. Some dogs can get very vocal, disturbing the people around you, especially at campsites and RV parks. If you do have to leave your pet alone, take them for a walk beforehand, give them plenty of water, and consider installing a Wi-Fi-enabled camera. These cameras can help you keep an eye on your pet and even toss them a treat with the push of a button from your smartphone.
If you’re traveling in a tow-behind camper, don’t ride with your pet unattended in the unit. Bumpy rides can lead to a stressed-out pet, and if you can’t be there to comfort them, it’s best to let them ride in the tow vehicle with you.
Conclusion: If you’ve never traveled with your pet before, these tips can make their experience in the RV safe and fun. Giving them time to adapt, creating a space for them, and taking safety precautions can help make every RV adventure with your furry friend a memorable one.
For more tips on RVing with pets, including articles, videos, and more, check out RV Trader’s Pet Resource Page. And, if you’re searching for your next RV, browse the new and used models, for sale and for rent, on RVTrader.com.