What to Consider when RVing with Your Pets

According to a Recreation Vehicle Industry Association 2015 survey, 61 percent of recreational vehicle (RV) owners take their pets on trips with them. Of those, 90 percent take their dogs along for the ride, while 10 percent are accompanied by cats.

There’s nothing better for pet-friendly trips than a vehicle that provides all the comforts of home but comes on wheels, say GoPetFriendly.com travel experts. Vegan Voyagers Hayden and Aaron Hall—who are traveling around the U.S. with five cats, a dog and a chicken—couldn’t agree more.

“It’s a great way to travel with pets, because the inside of the RV never changes (which can be stressful for animal companions, especially cats) while the animals always have something new and exciting to see outside the window,” Hayden Hall said.

During stopovers in RV campgrounds and national parks, the Halls set up an outdoor pen for silkie chicken Brienne who likes to scratch the dirt looking for bugs. The cats prefer to watch the world through the RV windows, while Lulu, a rescued dog, joins the Halls on hiking adventures.

What to Consider When RVing With Your Pets

Boo and Jack checking out the scenery through the RV windows at Joshua Tree National Park in California.  Photo courtesy of Hayden and Aaron Hall

What to Consider when Planning an RV Trip with Pets

Choose an RV with pets in mind.

Whether renting or purchasing a motor home or travel trailer, look for large storage compartment for stowing away pet supplies.

Choosing an RV with little or no carpeting will make it easier to clean up after pets say experts at Kurgo.com. Also, make sure the fabric on the seating and bedding can be removed and washed. The RV should have easy access for dogs and the ability to add a ramp for senior pets. Avoid RVs with floor-to-ceiling windows, as there’s a risk that dogs could break through them.

The Halls chose a travel trailer—pulled by their truck—over a motorhome for financial reasons, but it also offers more space for their pets. They built a coop inside the trailer for Brienne and a giant litter box with a privacy curtain for the cats.

Make sure pets are comfortable in the RV before heading out on a trip.

The Halls recommend getting the pets used to the smell, feel and layout of the RV, so they won’t be shocked by the transition when you start your trip.

“Start by taking little weekend trips to see how the animals react,” Hall said. “Cats, especially, have their own unique personalities and each will react differently. Our cats travel in crates in the back seat of our truck when we’re moving, and they are fine with that. But we are lucky—not all cats enjoy being crated.”

Make a pet list.

As you prepare to pack the RV for a road trip gopetfriendly.com travel experts recommend creating a separate list for the pets.

This would include food and treats, drinking water, medications, food and water bowls (anti-spill water bowls work best in an RV), doggy gates and proof of vaccinations along with your pets’ health records. Some campgrounds may require this information, and it’s helpful to have it on hand should one of your pets need to visit a veterinarian while on the road.

Plan your trip around the pets.

Do lots of research before hitting the road to make sure the areas you plan to visit have pet-friendly campgrounds. The Halls use rvparkreviews.com and also reach out to pet-friendly RVing Facebook groups for recommendations. GoPetFriendly.com offers a huge list of pet-friendly destinations across the U.S. and Canada.

“Some RV parks may have breed restrictions, but in the year and a half we’ve been on the road we’ve found that most are pet friendly,” Aaron Hall said. “There are just so many state parks and RV parks out there that it’s never been an issue for us, and we’re traveling with seven animals.”

What to Consider When RVing with Your Pets

Lulu and Brienne hanging out in Pecan Park RV Resort in Florida. Photo courtesy: Hayden and Aaron Hall

Research where to get special-needs supplies in advance.

If your pets are on any special diets, research ahead of time for stores or animal hospitals in the areas you plan to visit that carry the food you’ll need.

“One of our cats is on medicated food, and sometimes we’ve had to drive an hour or two to get that food,” Hayden Hall said. “We’ve been successful getting it at Banfield Pet Hospitals that are scattered throughout the U.S.”

Another option, she said, is to purchase prescription food through Chewy.com and have it shipped to the campground where you are staying.

Invest in a pet monitor.

If there’s a malfunction that shuts off the air conditioning, temperatures inside an RV can quickly reach levels that are dangerous or even fatal for pets, according to GoPetFriendly.com. There are a variety of pet monitoring options that allow you to monitor your pet and the interior of your RV while you are away.

“There have been a few horror stories we’ve heard about people losing pets in RVs due to extreme temperatures,” Hall said. “We use the Canary Pet Monitor to alert us on our phones to any temperature changes inside the trailer. It also has a video so we can see what our pets are doing when we’re not at home.”

Restrain pets when the vehicle is in motion.

Recently I passed an RV with a Pomeranian sitting up front on the dashboard. The little dog looked so content but certainly not safe in the event of an accident.

Pets should always be restrained for their safety, say experts at Vetstreet.com. Crates, carriers or car harnesses will stop your pet from wandering around the RV. The Center for Pet Safety offers a list of crash-tested and certified restraining devices.

Provide pets with multiple forms of ID.

Dogs and cats should be wearing collars with ID tags that include your last name and two or three contact numbers including your cell.

Microchipping your pets is a great backup for reuniting lost pets with owners. Be sure to register the chip and keep your contact information updated with the online registry

Make sure family members know how to track you.

It’s important to have a backup plan in the event something happens that prevents you from returning to the RV.

Gopetfriendly.com recommends using the My Family locator app. The app allows family members to find exactly where the RV is located in case of an emergency. It’s important that they also know how to access the RV and where to find pet care instructions, so they can pass this information along to local pet care professionals.

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Photos courtesy of Hayden and Aaron Hall

42 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad A2 months ago

Thank you.

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Elizabeth M
Past Member 2 months ago

Thanks for this

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danii p
danii p2 months ago

Thanks

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danii p
danii p2 months ago

Thanks

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danii p
danii p2 months ago

Thanks

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Paula A
Paula A2 months ago

thank you

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R2 months ago

Consider leaving them at home with a sitter or at a reliable boarding facility...especially cats!!!

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Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Thank you

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN h2 months ago

tyfs

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Frances G
Frances G2 months ago

thank you

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