So it’s time to hit the road, Chico (or Lassie or Bruno)! What would those trips be if we had to leave our beloved pets at home?
With a little advance planning, there’s no need to. We’ve put together some of the best tips we’ve found on traveling with your fur kids. Read on for tips for traveling with your dog this summer, or any other time of the year.
You should start planning early as you will want to carefully plan your route. Doing this right will take time and effort. And it will all be worthwhile!
You will need to check with all of the campgrounds you plan to stop at to see if they allow dogs and if so, what their rules are.
Gopetfriendly.com is a great resource for route planning. Gopetfriendly.com maintains a large database of pet-friendly campgrounds, restaurants, national parks, and other attractions, but they will caution you to call ahead to be sure there have been no changes.
Some pet-friendly campgrounds will not allow dogs to be left alone in the RV or on site. If you plan to visit any attractions where dogs are not welcome, you will need to make other arrangements, such as finding a local kennel.
Even in parks that allow dogs to be alone in an RV, is it a good idea, especially if in the heat of summer?
If you must leave them, Kim Campbell Thornton of vetstreet.com recommends using technology to keep your dog cool. One such device is a remote temperature sensor that will monitor the heat inside the RV and let you know via your cell phone if it gets too hot. Plan ahead so you’ll be prepared for hot days.
Packing for Your Dog
Of course you will need to pack basics like food and water bowls, your dog’s bed and toys, but you will also want to be sure you pack your dog’s health records and proof of vaccinations. (Many pet-friendly campgrounds will ask to see a valid rabies certificate.) Remember any medications and supplements your dog may take, including flea and tick protection.
It’s also important to have several forms of identification for your dog—an ID tag and a photo at the very least—in case you get separated.
On the Road
Of course, you should never allow your dog to ride unrestrained in your RV. There are many types of harnesses, dog crates, and carriers that will keep him safe in case of sudden stops. Of course, choose the one most suitable for your dog, and the experience you are looking for with your dog during the travel. Also be sure to deactivate any airbags where your dog will be sitting.
Dog crates and car seats should be fastened with seatbelts or tie-downs. And never let your dog ride in a trailer towed behind your RV. He needs to be in the same space as you.
While traveling, it’s also a good idea to try to keep to your dog’s regular routine as much as possible. Regular meal times and exercise can help with the stress your dog might feel in a new situation. He will look forward to his walks just as much as he did at home—and possibly more with new environments to explore.
Consider bringing both a 6-foot leash for walking and a longer lead to allow your dog more freedom of movement when it’s appropriate. You can also consider a zip line which you can easily make yourself or you can get a zip line off Amazon.
We have one final tip before you hit the road, and that is to be a good neighbor and to ensure that your dog is, too. Be sure to carry waste bags with you and to clean up after your dog. You will also want to do what you can to keep his barking to a minimum. (Some campgrounds have rules about this and will ask you to leave if neighbors complain.)
You’ll also want to be careful to observe any restricted areas where dogs are not allowed. And if your dog is a breed with a prey drive, you will need to take extra precautions to keep her from breaking loose to chase a squirrel or a chipmunk.
Have Fun! With a little advanced planning, RVing with your dog can be an enjoyable experience for all of you. You will likely enjoy your vacation more if you don’t have to worry about how much he’s missing you in the kennel, or even at grandma’s. And your dog will love you for it! Check this book out for highly valuable information on this topic.