Full-time RVing with pets can be a joy or a disaster. The secret to travel happiness with your beloved animal is to anticipate their needs during the worst of times. These three tips for helping anxious animals will put you both on the road to better days ahead.
Full-time RVing with pets
“For many dogs, a trip to the vet is the main reason they get to ride in the car. Is it any wonder then that getting in the car can be so stressful?” writes Dr. Jason Nicholas, a veterinarian behind The Preventive Vet, a website dedicated to pet safety awareness and health.
Whether you go by car or RV, these quick tips to decrease your pet’s anxiety will go a long way to ensuring good times for everyone on board.
1. Change how your pet views travel
If you think your dog or cat is nervous about RVing, your biggest task is to associate vehicle travel with good times. Before going full-time RVing with pets, Dr. Nicholas suggests spending time with your pet inside the vehicle for several days.
You’ll even want to “consider feeding him regular meals in the car, while you sit with him giving praise and pets.” As your pet’s comfortable level grows, try short trips around the block.
“Go to fun places – dog parks, play dates with your friend’s dogs, to the pet store, or whatever else you think will be fun for your pet,” says Dr. Nicholas. Gradually increase the duration of your adventures.
2. Try anxiety reducers and calming aids for pets
Gone are the days when we instantly resorted to tranquilizers when traveling with pets. Today we have many holistic options to try before resorting to pharmaceuticals. For example:
These snug-fitting little coats hit just the right accupressure points on the body to reduce stress. It works for human autistic children and pets alike.
Pheromone therapy products mimic the calming signals mothers project to their young. These products often calm nervous pets. “When emitted by one individual, pheromones are then detected by other individuals from the same species.
The messages conveyed by the pheromones affect behavior,” explains the Feliway company, a manufacturer of pheromone collars, diffusers and sprays.
Dogs look silly wearing it, but the Thundershirt Calming Cap works by using the same approach as a horse blinder. It calms by filtering an animal’s vision in order to decrease stimuli, while allowing the animal to move freely.
Many animals respond to special calming music composed with tones to please their sensitive ears. Keep anti-anxiety soundtracks on your RV or tow vehicle stereo, like “Through a Dogs Ear“. This music can help create a more relaxing environment for everyone on board.
3. Remember: Pets mirror our emotions
When your travel day turns to misadventure, your pet tunes into your response. For example, if you react calmly to common situations like a scary RV tire blowout, your pet will keep calm knowing you’ve got things under control.
“Our animals can reflect our thoughts, feelings, physical maladies, and even the significant issues we are dealing with in our lives,” says Marta Williams, author of “My Animal, My Self.” When panic isn’t present, pets can project steadfast, calm energy to help everyone pull through.
Every traveling pet parent has a bad day. Full-timing with pets makes it a little easier to get through the worst of them as long as you’re prepared help these furry co-pilots stay calm and happy.
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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.