Seeing the world with a furry co-pilot is one of the best perks of this lifestyle. But full-time RVing with pets also requires exceptional patience and understanding. Even the biggest animal lover discovers that living with a dog or cat in a small space is overwhelming and frustrating at times. Knowing how to start RVing with dogs and cats is essential for their health and happiness. Here are some examples.
1. The Animals’ Needs Come First
If you think your life revolved around your animal before, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Whether you have a cat, dog, chimpanzee or other animal on-board, their needs come first.
Any decisions about where my husband and I go and what we do always depend on the needs of our German Shepherd, Wyatt. For example, he hates hot weather so we tend to choose itineraries that won’t make him uncomfortably hot.
Also, when we arrive at a destination, we try not to do activities that will take us away from the RV for more than a few hours. Leaving him alone all day to stare at the walls isn’t good for any animal’s happiness. Plus, Wyatt has demonstrated his displeasure on more than one occasion.
RVers who travel with cats have slightly more flexibility than dog parents. However many will still need to choose destinations and activities that won’t put their cat’s welfare at risk. That’s because even the most happy-go-lucky cat needs someone to check in occasionally. Unfortunately, finding a cat sitter in a new location can be tough.
2. Pets Take Up Even More Space
We call our RV the “Dog House on Wheels.” In a RV, dogs and cats own the living space. As an example, Wyatt loves to choose the most awkward places to chill out. He always trips us by laying on the floor in the kitchen area, or in the middle of walkway in our living space. Cats aren’t much easier. My full-timing friend keeps her two cats’ beds and perches all over the RV because cats are always happiest when they can survey the scenery.
Pet fur and bodily functions require even more patience and understanding. When full-time RVing with cats (or if you just bring it along for a holiday), litter box RV modifications can be made before you hit the road or you’ll have a smelly RV. Dogs have more freedom to do their business outside. But you must always be at one end of the leash to scoop up the mess. Frequent walks and lot of care is essential to keeping your RVing dogs healthy.
3. Hiding Food is Impossible
If you have a chow hound or kitty with constant cravings, hiding food in your RV is tough.
Dogs and cats always know when you stash things behind cabinets and doors. Recently on Thanksgiving, our dog Wyatt found pumpkin and pecan pies I had wrapped and placed on a shelf in our bedroom.
He was so determined to get to them that he broke through the living area baby gate we use to keep him confined. While we were eating Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s RV, he devoured both pies and almost ended up in the hospital.
Living with pets is difficult at times. But whether your a cat or dog parent, the memories you create together will always outshine any rough patches. That’s because animals teach us how to appreciate every moment, since they only know how to live in the now. When we follow this example on the open road, it makes every new adventure more meaningful than ever before.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.