Many RVers love to have their pets travel with them, myself included. When my shiatsu, Dexter was alive he loved to come with us and I didn’t like boarding him in a kennel while we were away. It wasn’t always convenient to have friends or family take care of him either. Having a pet travel with the family is important but it takes more than just throwing in some food and their bed into the unit. Just how safe are these pets while traveling with us in our RV?
Pet Safety when the RV is in motion
It’s so easy for an animal to have an accident either slipping or falling when the vehicle is in motion and it can happen so quickly there isn’t any time to react.
- It’s much safer to have the pet in a secured crate or pet carrier if at all possible.
- Crates didn’t work for me after Dexter was around five years old. He hated it and kept scratching at the door continuously and wouldn’t settle down. My solution was a harness that I attached to the seat – he was happier as well.
- There are travel bowls available that will sit in the carrier so the animal can have water at anytime and they don’t spill when the RV is in motion.
What would happen if your pet got loose and was nowhere to be found? A few preventative measures could mean the difference between having him returned safely or not. Some animals are escape artists and get loose any chance they can. I had a pet once escape from the pound! He could not be contained and unfortunately was picked up but even escaped from their enclosure – they weren’t too happy about it.
- Have a collar on the animal with a tag that includes their name and your contact information. There would be no point in having your home phone number on the tag if you are on the road – your cell phone number or email would probably be better.
- A tattoo or microchip with your Vet’s information
Sometimes pets may need to be left in the RV while we are out for the day and RVs can get really hot in the summer or cold in the winter.
- Have fresh water available
- Have proper ventilation and a controlled temperature in the unit.
- I absolutely hate it when dogs bark unnecessarily. Have you ever been in a park and the people next door are away and their dog barks the whole time? If your dog is a barker it’s probably better not to leave him behind.
- Don’t leave the animal chained or confined outside if you’re away. If tethered outdoors make sure they can’t get tangled up in anything and are out of the way of anyone walking in the area. They will need to have the chance to get out of the sun and harsh weather if necessary and have access to food and water.
Not everyone thinks your animal is a cute as you do and not everyone likes to hear the barking or noise that some dogs can create if not properly checked.
- Have your pet on a leash at all times if you are outside with them.
- Not everyone is an animal lover so be careful when approaching other people and make sure they’re comfortable being near your pet before you get too close.
- This one is a pet peeve of mine. Please clean up after your animal! Unfortunately that’s part of being a pet owner’s job and no one wants to step in animal waste when they are enjoying the outdoors as well. If pet owners aren’t careful we may not be allowed to bring our pets with us into campgrounds. What a shame that would be.
- Don’t let the dog bark unnecessarily – it can be annoying to the neighbours.
- If using the Laundromat to wash the animals bedding make sure the tub is cleaned out thoroughly afterwards. There’s nothing worse than placing clothes in a washer and they come out covered in animal hair. I washed my clothes in a Laundromat once after a woman who owned a cat. Unfortunately she wasn’t aware of it but everything she owned was covered in cat hair and when my clothes came out they were covered as well. I wasn’t too happy but she was so sweet I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so never said anything. I am just that much more cautious now.
Things to bring for your pet’s safety
- Medical information such as the inoculation records – make sure their rabies shots are up to date and have a record of them.
- The vet’s emergency contact information.
- Any medicines they need or a prescription renewal in case they’re lost or destroyed.
- Medicines for emergencies – such as for ticks or fleas
- Crate or kennel or in my case a harness.
- Food dish, water bowl and travel water bowl
- Food – it’s not always possible to purchase their favourite food in other locations. Bring a good supply.
- Waste bags.
- Their favourite toys and sleeping pad as well as treats
- Grooming tools – brush, shampoo, etc.
Prevent problems before they happen
- When making campground reservations make sure it’s pet friendly and let them know you have an animal traveling with you. It wouldn’t be pleasant to arrive and find out you can’t stay.
- Bring along an emergency first aid kit specifically for the animal.
- Have a colour photo of your pet just in case they do get lost – you will want to put up posters, etc.
Accidents do happen. It’s not always possible to completely avoid them but by being prepared and aware of potential dangers it’s possible to prevent them from happening – at least for the most part. A safe, healthy and happy pet makes traveling with your family pet that much easier for everyone. Pet safety is always important.