We love our pets, so it was an easy decision for us to take them with us on the road. We have a total of 4 animals, a 15-year-old cat, and a 2-year-old cat. For dogs, we have a 13-year-old mini dachshund and a 12-year-old 1/2 dachshund 1/2 mutt. Here are some tips for traveling with your pet if you decide to go camping or fulltime RVing with your pets.
Make sure your pets have a microchip.
You never know what is going to happen. Your cat could dive out of the camper door and get lost, your dog breaks the leash and chases a rabbit, you get into an accident and your pet gets scared and runs away. There are so many possibilities, if your pet is microchipped, you will be glad it is because if your pet is found, they will be able to notify you.
Think about installing a dog ramp.
We have older dogs and one is a full dachshund that suffers from IVDD. He had a really bad episode in April of 2017 and was completely paralyzed for almost a month. It was a long road to recovery and lots of crate rest and meds. Our other dog has a predisposition for IVDD (the full dachshund is his dad) but he hasn’t ever had an episode. He does have a bad hip though so we have to be careful. Both dogs are old so we installed a dog ramp to help them because I was always afraid of stepping wrong while carrying them out of the camper and hurting us both (I’m a clutz!).
Start with short rides.
If your cat or dog has never been in a car before, you may want to start with short rides to get your pet used to the car. We didn’t do this and totally regretted it. We traveled from Wisconsin to Missouri and our cats had never really been in a vehicle. They cried the entire time, so it made it really stressful for everyone involved. Our cats now travel like pros, but we really wish that we had thought of that ahead of time.
Be prepared for fleas
While it’s not something you like to think about, there is a pretty good chance your pet will pick up fleas if you aren’t prepared. In Wisconsin, our pets never got fleas. We never treated them for them because they never got them. It was a huge shock when our dogs picked them up from outside and then gave them to the cats also. Talk about NOT fun! We looked up every natural treatment we could think of. The problem was some could be used for dogs but not for cats, etc. (If you know of any natural treatments that work, feel free to leave a comment!)
We also tried many over the counter treatments. It was so frustrating because we just weren’t getting rid of them. The only thing that we found that worked for both the cats and the dogs were Seresto flea collars. I’m not saying that those are the only thing that works for fleas, but they were the only thing that worked for us.
Be aware of the weather
Let’s face it, air conditioners and heaters can both fail. If you are going to be gone, you want to make sure your pet is going to be safe. Personally, if it going to be a really hot day, we don’t go anywhere in case something happens so we can keep an eye on our pets. There are systems that will allow you to monitor your pets by video and will ping your phone if the temperature gets below or above a certain temperature. While I don’t have any experience with these types of devices, I have met campers that have. I met one couple that used it when we were workamping in Missouri over the winter. They were out of town (their fur babies were with them) and their phone pinged them that their camper fell below a certain temperature. Because of that, they knew that the propane was out and called the office to have their tank filled so that their RV didn’t freeze while they were away.
Always keep your pet on a leash.
While this may seem like common sense, I was shocked at how many people would just open the door and let their pet out while not on a leash when we were workamping. Also, if you are the type of person that likes to tie your dog out while you are in the camper, make sure it is allowed. I have workamped at some campgrounds where you had to be on the other end of the leash of your dog. This means that you couldn’t tie the dog out. Campground employees don’t like having to knock on your door to tell you that you are breaking the rules, so please keep this in mind.
Pick up after your pet.
We typically get the cheap Walmart sandwich bags (where you can get 150 bags for $1.00) for picking up after our dogs. It is crazy how many people that don’t pick up after their pet. By not picking up after your pet, you risk getting blacklisted from a campground or charged a fine. I have seen fines as high as $100 if you are caught not picking up after your dog. You may think that you won’t get caught, but a lot of campgrounds have cameras around. You also never know when a worker at the campground is walking through a few rows away and sees you. Not to mention, it’s just common courtesy to pick up after your pet.
Other things like a collapsible dog crate can be great for when you want to keep your dog in a crate while you are gone. Especially if you don’t want a bulky crate taking up space. A raised dog bed is also nice for helping to keep your pet cooler on warm days.