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5 Ways to Sell Your RV Fast

10 Tips for Backing Into a Campsite

8 Tips for Dealing with Pet Anxiety While RVing

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You love your pet and want to bring them everywhere with you, including on the road in your RV. But before you head out onto the open road in your travel trailer or other RV, you’ll need to anticipate how your four-legged friend will react to spending time in a camper, especially if they’ve never done it before. Though you love RVing, there’s a chance that being in a new environment will stress out your pet. Prepare yourself and your furry co-pilots for life on the road with RV Trader’s eight tips for dealing with pet anxiety while RVing.

1. Know the Signs of Pet Anxiety

The first step to managing your pet’s anxiety is to be able to identify the symptoms. Here are a few signs to look for:

  • Whining, howling, or excessive barking in dogs
  • Bathroom accidents
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Trying to escape or digging around doors
  • Holding their tails close to their bodies
  • Unusual aggression and/or destructive behavior

There are two types of anxiety: persistent and situational. Persistent anxiety is when your pet has a natural tendency to experience stress, which can require regular treatment. An example of this is separation anxiety, where your pet always feels stress when alone, no matter the specific situation. If your pet experiences separation anxiety, or any other persistent anxiety, we recommend not leaving them alone in your camper. Try to keep them with you at all times, or have someone remain in the RV with your pet if you need to leave and cannot take them with you.

On the other hand, situational anxiety is when stress is caused by specific events and activities. Your pet may not usually have anxiety, but the strange experience of being in an unfamiliar vehicle that rumbles down the road and stops in unknown territory could trigger a typically calm pet to feel stress. If your furry friend has never been camping or in an RV before, keep a watchful eye on how they respond to each of the new things they encounter to see how they respond. If possible, slowly introduce them to these new stimuli. For example, let your pet explore your RV ahead of time in the days leading up to your trip.

2. Take a Test Ride

If your pet is new to RVing, let them spend short periods of time on the road before you set off on your adventure. Get your furry friend comfortable with the sights, sounds, smells, and movement of the camper. Take test rides around the neighborhood or to your pet’s favorite places, like the park.

If your pet shows signs of stress or anxiety when in the RV, pull over and calm them down by slowly petting them. These test rides can be a great way to gauge how relaxed your pet will be when you’re on the road for days at a time.

3. Pack Their Favorites

If your pet is anxious on the road, it’s important to make them feel safe and comfortable in your RV. Start by packing some items from home that will feel familiar to them even in new surroundings. Bring their crate, dog bed, and any bedding that smells like home. Reward your pet, especially if they’ve been well behaved after long drives, with their favorite treats to encourage continued good behavior. Pack their favorite toys to play with at RV parks, campsites, or at rest stops.

4. Give Your Pet a Place to Ride

Determine where your pet will sit or lay while you are driving. Giving them a safe and stable place to ride will help with their anxiety and prevent them from sliding around while the RV is in motion. If your pet is crate trained, anchor it to the RV to prevent the crate from sliding around when you drive. If your furry friend requires constant physical touch and petting, adjustable harnesses can keep them closer to you. These strap into an RV’s seat belts so your pet can sit up or lay down comfortably. If you have a smaller furry companion, a pet car seat keeps them contained while giving them a view out the RV’s windows.

5. Create a Routine

If your pet is new to RVing, it’s important to create a routine for them. This routine should incorporate their regular at-home activities, as well as things for them to do on the road. Set designated times to get off the road and let your pet use the bathroom or go for a walk. Be sure to keep them on their regular feeding schedule, and always make sure they have access to plenty of water. While RVing offers a sense of adventure and spontaneity for humans, pets benefit from more structure and consistency. 

6. Make Stops on the Road

It can be challenging to find pet-friendly places to go and things to do, but your furry friend will thank you. Make stops on the road that give your pet a much-needed bathroom break and let them stretch their legs and explore. New surroundings can be incredibly exciting, but keep an eye on your pet to see how they’re handling everything. Loud noises and large crowds at rest stops can stress out your pet. Be sure to keep them leashed and close by whenever they’re out of the RV.

7. Keep Pets Calm When They’re Alone

Unfortunately, your pet won’t be able to accompany you to every pitstop you make on the road. If you do have to leave them alone in the RV, make your trips quick and keep the RV cool with a temperature-control system. It can also help to play relaxing music, or a movie or TV show, so your pet has background noise to distract them. As we said before, we strongly discourage leaving pets with separation anxiety alone in the RV.

8. Get Some Extra Help

Even after following all of these tips, you still might not be able to manage your pet’s anxiety. Fortunately, there are products that can give you some extra help when it comes to keeping your pet relaxed. You can purchase over-the-counter calming supplements online or in a store. If your furry friend has persistent anxiety, it’s best to give them a supplement every day. For situational anxiety, a calming supplement can be a last resort if none of the other soothing methods work. While many of these don’t require a prescription, you should speak with your veterinarian  as a precaution before you give your pet these supplements.

There are also wearable methods of reducing pet anxiety. Anti-anxiety jackets, including the ThunderShirt and The Anxiety Wrap, create a hug-like feeling that comforts your pet and can decrease persistent anxiety.

Conclusion: RVing can be an exciting adventure for your pet. By following these tips before you leave and on the road, you can help your pet deal with their anxiety as they show symptoms and teach them to cope with life on the road. Prioritizing your anxious pet’s needs can lead to new experiences and miles of fun in your RV with your cuddly companion.

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 to make your pet feel right at home, such as a cozy and fuel efficient Class B, browse the new and used models on RVTrader.com.

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Arielle Patterson
Arielle Patterson

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One Response

  1. Drs Foster and Smith Ultra Calming chews have greatly helped our dog with anxiety in thunderstorms, during fireworks, in changes in location, etc. Available at Petco.

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