Every year more RVers and dogs (cats too!) hit the road together for adventures in far-away places. But taking your furry family member along comes with challenges you might not expect. For example, not all pets adapt to the road right away and some are terrified of being in motion. But even if you think your dog or cat won’t be a good road buddy, don’t give up. These tips can help make the transition to RVing with dogs and cats much easier for everyone, including your pet:
Get your pet comfortable in your home on wheels.
Cats and dogs who aren’t used to being in a vehicle or don’t enjoy it will need extra time to adapt to road life. Thankfully your RV is more like a home than an automobile, making it much easier to create a comfy retreat. Before ever traveling with your pet, put their belongings inside the RV and spend time inside playing and doing things your pet enjoys. Show them the RV is a safe, fun and comfortable spot. Have a few separate play sessions inside the RV before you ever hit the road.
Take a few trips around the block.
Whether you have a motorhome or a towable, the act of preparing to travel, then traveling a very short distance can help ease your pet into vehicle travel. If your dog or cat has previously showed signs of nausea while in a vehicle, be prepared with vet-approved anti-nausea medication. Once your pet is familiar with the actions of starting, stopping and starting again, the next time you do it for real it won’t be as scary.
Carry and use restraint devices like crates, leashes and portable kennels.
Even if your pet loves to travel, having restraint devices like crates, leashes and portable kennels on hand will ensure their safety while keeping you sane. Crates are lifesavers if you’re ever in an accident and they also act as safe dens when you’re away from the RV. If your pet isn’t familiar with these items, make a slow introduction before you ever travel together. Follow the advice of pet trainers and use lots of praise and rewards like toys, treats and affection as you work with your dog or cat.
When you start RVing with dogs and cats;
- take a slow, easygoing approach before you ever go on a real trip.
- make the introduction as fun and playful as possible.
- Drug your dog or cat with sedatives. These drugs should only be used as a last resort because prevent your pet from physically reacting to stress but don’t clear the mind of anxious thoughts. Turn to holistic remedies first, such as the Calming Cap, an amazing device that works like a horse blinder to calm anxious pets.
- Ever become mad or punish your pet when displaying anxious behavior. Remember, they have no idea whey the ground and their home is moving. Your goal is to make it a fun, not stressful experience.
As you begin to train your pet to become a co-pilot, don’t forget to train yourself as well. This lively discussion in the iRV2 Forums will enlighten you about what it’s like to RV with dogs and cats, as well as introduce you to non-pet owners’ perceptions of animals in campgrounds and RV parks. Check it out: Dogs , lots of dogs