Pets are family, there’s no doubt about that. And for most people, bringing your four-legged friend(s) RVing is a given when planning your summer adventures. An RV is perfect for family trips with pets because they provide many of the comforts of home combined with the freedom to explore new places. Your pets can enjoy the great outdoors, spend quality time with you, and always sleep in the same space at night. This consistency allows them to develop a regular routine, and to view the RV as another home.
Below, we’ve compiled some tips to help you and your fur-babies have a safe, happy, and FUN summer in your RV!
Just like packing for yourself, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessities for your pet before you head off on your adventure. Start by making a list of everything you think you’ll need for your pet. You can find a great list here: http://blog.gopetfriendly.com/travel-tips-more/road-trip-tips/ ).
One thing we would recommend is making sure your brand of pet food is readily available in a number of places along your way. That way, you can restock as you go — especially on longer trips — instead of having to pack a whole bunch of food in the beginning. This will help prevent digestive issues that can put a damper on any trip! We also recommend stocking up on bottled water for your pet (as well as yourself), for the same reason. Dirty or questionable water isn’t good for anyone.
Make sure to keep a copy of your veterinary records and pet ID on hand as well. If the unthinkable happens and you have to take your four-legged friend to the vet while you’re away from home, having all these records readily accessible will make the process much smoother.
2. Planning Your Itinerary
When travelling with pets, you’ll want to make sure your planned rest stops and final destination are pet friendly, and that you will have access to facilities, restaurants, and other things to do while you are there. Unfortunately, not all places that claim to be “pets allowed” are “pet friendly”. Calling ahead to confirm the pet policies at your planned destinations can help avoid unpleasant surprises upon arrival.
Here is a list of Saskatchewan Parks’ Pet Regulations in their campgrounds: http://www.tourismsaskatchewan.com/places-to-go/provincial-parks/camping/rules-and-regulations
Make sure to leave time for pit stops and rest breaks along the way, as well. Going for walks, stopping for picnics, or even going for hikes can help break up the monotony of a long road trip and give you and your pets some much-needed stretching time. Ensuring that your pets, especially dogs, get enough exercise and time to explore their surroundings, will help to tire them out and keep them calm during long road stretches. And for dogs, mental stimulation is key to keeping them happy and occupied — things like chew toys and treat balls are great!
Here’s an awesome resource for finding pet-friendly spots: http://www.gopetfriendly.com/Road-Trip-Planner.aspx
Routine is important in all aspects of your pets’ lives. It alleviates anxiety and subsequent behaviour issues, keeps their digestive systems regular, and generally contributes to a happy and comfortable life with your pet.
This is especially true when camping/RVing. Try to keep your pets on a routine schedule while you’re on the road. Feed them at the same times every day, and set a schedule for exercise and relief stops. Your pets will be much calmer if they know what to expect, and you will benefit from their good behaviour and predictable bathroom schedule.
4. Keeping your pets in the RV
When planning a trip in your RV, checking the weather is par for the course. No one wants to end up at the mercy of Mother Nature unexpectedly (although as we all know, especially in Saskatchewan, she can be pretty temperamental!). When travelling with your pets, it becomes especially important to pay attention to the weather, as you will need to be prepared for all situations.
On hot days, if you are leaving your pets in the RV while you go out, make sure your RV is hooked up to a generator that will automatically come on if the power goes out. This will ensure that your air conditioning does not stop running, and your pets will not overheat. If it’s supposed to be a colder day, the same goes for the furnace.
We recommend keeping your pets in their kennels/crates in the RV while you are gone — this will keep them from getting anxious and possibly wrecking something. Hopefully, it will also prevent them from being distracted by things going on outside so they won’t make noise and disturb your neighbours. You could also consider leaving a radio or the TV on for background noise. And, of course, make sure your pets are well exercised and relieved before you go.
Keeping your pet safe is probably the most important thing to consider when deciding to bring them with you on your RV adventure. It can be tempting to treat your RV like your home and to allow your pets to roam free while the vehicle is moving, or to have them in your lap while driving. However, both of these things are incredibly dangerous! Pets should always ride in the vehicle with you (if you are pulling a camper) and be secured in their crate or with a seat restraint so that they can’t move around while the vehicle is in motion. This will protect them from injury in the case of an accident and will keep them from distracting the driver.
Once you have stopped and set up camp, it is also important to make sure your pets are safe and can’t get away from you. A long leash or a light folding fence are great ways to keep your pets within your sight while allowing them to be part of the camping action!
Here are some other great resources for RVing with your pets!