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Traveling with a dog in a RV

One of the main things under consideration when I decided to buy my RV was the ability to travel with a pet. It is very difficult to stay where ever you want to with a dog or cat. Some hotels accept them and some don't but it is restricting either way.

If you have an RV, your pet can travel with you. You don't need to hire a pet sitter or pay to put him or her into a pet hotel. This probably means you can go on a longer trip as well or at least have more flexibility. But there are some things to keep in mind.

Plan your stops ahead of time

Every dog is different in how they travel and how much noise they make. Maybe you have the rare dog that doesn't make any noise. Most dogs will bark once in a while. And some will bark constantly when their owner is not around. You may not even know how disruptive your dog can be to others. This means you need to find pet-friendly campgrounds . There is no way to hide a barking dog. Many campgrounds don't allow dogs at all and others have certain rules you need to follow. The same with state and national parks.

Watch the weather and then plan

RVs are larger but they are still like a vehicle in that they get really hot inside. Your dog can die right in your home away from home. You have to plan your trips with this in mind. Don't travel around the south in the middle of summer with a dog and expect to have leisurely nice dinners and tourist outings while leaving your dog inside in the parking lot. If you are stopping in borderline warm places, remember how much warmer it gets in the RV even when it's nice outside. Through my observations, around 80 degrees is a good trigger point to start carefully thinking about what and where you are doing it. When it is 80 degrees outside, parked on blacktop, I have seen the temperature of my RV warm up to around 90 inside. Your dog will need more water and become more lethargic. Park in the shade and use your vents. Or upgrade your vents so they are thermostat controlled and run on 12 volt power. This where solar power can come in handy. I feel free to use my vent fan more when the sun is providing the power. You can also buy grids that fit into cab windows so they let air in and are still securely locked in place, protecting both your dog and property.


Know your breed

You can call it a prejudice if you like but there are certain dog breeds with a bad reputation. And many of those breeds are simply not accepted in many rv parks or campgrounds . If you have an aggressive breed, please ask about it when you are trying to make a reservation. You don't want to learn the rules after you've arrived and have no other options. Many pet friendly RV parks will not accept certain breeds and they can't spell everything out in guide books or big signs. It may be in the fine print somewhere.

Know your dog

Hopefully you know how your dog travels before embarking on a long trip. This takes time and a little practice to know for certain. Some dogs are great travelers from the start and others are just always nervous. Don't buy an RV and immediately plan a two week trip with your dog. To speed up the adjustment time, bring their favorite things along. This may be a blanket, a toy or whatever makes them happy at home. Other than yourself of course!


Have a place of their own

It is not good to have a dog roaming loose around the RV. A free dog is not good for your own safety as well as your dogs. Just like with seat belts for people, dogs are more likely to survive an accident if they are secured. Your options include crating them, but you may not have the space for this. You may have an enclosed bed area or a bathroom that can restrict their movement. This keeps them out from under your feet but it is not necessarily more safe for them. The safest method is using a properly sized dog seat belt, if you can.

Take a break

Dogs enjoy a break from the highway, probably as much or more than people do. If a dog has to go, he or she is probably more antsy and nervous riding down the highway. Plan lots of stops to get outside for walks and breaks. I provide maps and listings for truck stops , rest areas and other stores to help with this planning.

Do you have any more tips that you've found useful traveling with your four legged friend?

Adam | Feb 28, 2009 | Category: Pet Friendly

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