Traveling with Pets
can be an ordeal ....

.... or a joy. Pay close attention to those who "traveling with pets" have been there, done that!" Remember their "lessons learned" and you can avoid most of their "learned the hard way" difficulties.

Most of the lessons those folks have collected are common sense things. Too often, in the excitement of taking our pets along, we get into trouble because we overlook the simple things.

All that's usually required to easily travel with a dog, cat or some other critter, is to take the time to think about it just a little. Our pets don't require much from us. What they do require though, is absolutely necessary! Food, water, shelter .... and the opportunity for reasonable hygiene!

Most dogs and cats won't soil their beds if given the chance to do what comes naturally, outside, or in a prepared location! (like a litterbox). So give 'em a break, literally!

That's where it's at. A little proper preparation prevents pathetically poor performance .... Plan on "rest stops" during a day of traveling with pets, so that the critters can do what they need to, without wobbling all over a bouncing rig. Won't do you any harm either, to get out and stretch your legs a mite while they snoop an' poop!

My bet is, a cat would rather do their "business" when things are a little calmer, rather then trying to not bounce out of the litter box when you find a pothole at 70 mph! I Know I've never found it much fun to exercise the throne on the roll!

RVing with your pet may just force you to slow down and take the time to enjoy it!

Collected here are a good bit of the things I've learned over our years of traveling with pets, having always had dogs with us on the road.

On our "honeymoon", Heidi and I shared our bed, in the bed of our truck, sheltered by a beat up old camper shell, with Brandy, the little Aussie she'd given me, and her first litter of 8 pups! Have you ever spent your wedding night with a momma and her week old pups?

Talk about traveling with pets! Rooooomantic Baby!

I've seasoned those lessons a bit with what I've been able to gather from the other "been there, done that" folks we've met traveling with pets.

Tips for Traveling with Pets, traveling with dogs, traveling with cats:

  • Keep all pets on a leash when outside. (unless of course you've found a dog park!) This means all of them! Dogs, cats .... Turtles, any that might enjoy a walk in the park.
  • Clean up after your pet, every time. Hang a container of doggie bags beside the door of your RV so you can grab a few on your way out for a walk. Heidi and I have little containers that hang on our leashes.
  • NEVER leave food and water outside as they will attract many rude visitors. As soon as your companion is done eating, or when you leave, put the bowls inside. Food left outside is called Bear Bait!
  • Do not tether your friend, unattended, outside. Your neighbor is not going to appreciate either the singing or complaining of your Beagle. Though Yogi may appreciate the snack when he happens along durning your afternoon nap! If you go inside for a nap .... or a little marital bliss, take the kid with you!
  • It is advisable to not tether an animal directly to a rig with a chain or a cable. An electrical surge in a FHU or a short of some sort has been known to straighten the hair on Yappy the pekinese!
  • You should already have a first aid kit for yourself. Much of the same sort of materials can be used to assemble one for your pets as well. Keep a small pet first aid kit in your "doggie duffel". I've added a pet first aid kit list below.
  • Make sure that your pets have plenty of fresh food and water. You probably want to filter the water coming into your RV, or you'll want to keep bottled water for the pets. Constant, sudden changes of food and water can give your animals a case of the jittery gizzard! One place you really don't want to contribute to a case of Canine Montezumas Revenge is in an 80 lb. Lab living in a 35' motorhome! Taking a little care, regarding consistent food and water will be a good thing.
  • If you want to take an overnight side trip, without traveling with pets, do it. Just arrange a "pet sitter" or a boarding situation to keep them safe and secure. I've heard some campgrounds have such a service available.
  • Pets in closed up vehicles, your RV included, get hot sizzling quick, Adequate ventilation is not nice, It is required. Be very careful. Don't rely on airconditioning, even if you're in a FHU situation. If you leave the kids in the rig, on a hot day, make sure a neighbor knows, and can access your rig in case of a power failure or some such event. Dogs and Cats can't deal with heat as well as people can.
  • What if you are injured or have an accident during a day trip? Leave an information card on the seat of your truck or towed vehicle indicating where your RV is parked and that there are animals "Home Alone".
  • Maintain your immunization records, rabies certificates etc close at hand when traveling with pets. Saves a lot of scrambling if you need them unexpectedly.
  • Getting a micro chip ID implant is growing in popularity. It provides an almost foolproof way of indentifying your pup or cat if they get seperated from you .... and finding you to get them home.

Here is a short checklist for Traveling with pets. Some of these will be duplicates of the tips above but if you read fast it won't hurt so much! Don't hesitate to add your own personal requirements as well.

Traveling with pets Checklist:

  • Kennel or crate. A crate trained pet solves a lot of issues. I figure this is indispensible.
  • Collapsible Wire pen - approximately 24" wide panels that fold up in seconds. Convenient exercise pen.
  • Food and water bowls.
  • Treats.
  • Stain remover / cleaning supplies. For those inescapable accidents.
  • Plastic bags. For "picking up" on walks and around camp. Dedicated doo doo bags are available at nearly any pet supply.
  • Grooming tools.
  • Old towels - or new ones are OK. For cleaning up muddy pups.
  • Collars and Multiple leashes. They have a way of breaking and getting lost.
  • Beds. A place each can call his own gives 'em a sense of stability.
  • Identification. Be sure their tags are in place and record all license numbers, tattoo numbers and microchip numbers of your pets and keep this list with your rabies and immunization records.
  • Immunization and Rabies records. Health certificates.
  • A recent photograph - can be helpful if the unfortunate happens and you get seperated.
  • Pet first aid kit.
  • Individual prescription medications.

I found these items were recommended by a couple of organizations. The important thing is to seek proper veterinary care as soon as you can for anything beyond a minor cut or scrape. I'm told first aid kits may be purchased from many animal shelters and the Humane Society as well.

First Aid Kit for traveling with pets:

  • bandage rolls
  • large square non stick gauze pads
  • terry cloth towels
  • bandage tape
  • scissors
  • tweezers
  • pliers
  • magnifying glass
  • triple-antibiotic ointment
  • disposable iodine wipes
  • hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • rubbing alcohol
  • milk of magnesia
  • thermometer
  • pet shampoo
  • leash
  • appropriate muzzle
  • latex gloves
  • emergency blankets
  • flea and tick powder

Traveling with pets can be a great time. Take a little care and most of the foreseeable problems can be avoided. Those that you find unavoidable will be dealt with much easier if you are well prepared in advance.

As I'm pretty sure you already know, since you found me, the internet is a pretty fine place to gather a lot of good information. If you want to keep looking for more information about traveling with pets, here are a couple more that you may find useful:


See you at the Dog Park!

Return from Traveling with Pets to Goin' RV Boondocking