As we embrace the warmer summer weather, longer or more frequent RV trips are often on the cards. For those with fur babies, we’ve compiled some tips for ensuring your pet can travel in comfort and with minimum fuss in your RV.
Travelling with pets has never been more popular, and anyone who doubts it, need only look to the proliferation of pet-friendly holiday parks during the past decade. There’s also been a recent explosion in pet ownership, courtesy of COVID lockdowns.
Statistically, you’re more likely than ever to be setting out with pets for the first time this touring season. That’s why we’ve gathered some advice on how to avoid any pitfalls.
Begin your planning with a visit to your vet to ensure your pet is in premium health and has any medical supplies that may be needed for the trip ahead. Ensure vaccinations and licences are up to date and identification tags are secure, easy to read, and visible to others. Get your pet microchipped in case they go missing.
If you’re introducing your pet to RV travel for the first time, start with some short trips to let your four-legged companion explore the RV to feel comfortable and alleviate any elements of anxiety.
Plan your travels around your pet where possible. Look for pet-friendly campgrounds and do your research about any places in the surrounding areas where you will not be able to take your pet along. These include, but are not limited to, DOC sites and other protected areas.
When considering your route, find suitable places for rest stops and short walks, ensuring that there aren’t any restrictions in place on adjacent protected areas where nesting native birds might be endangered by a curious dog or cat.
Have you packed plenty of poop bags? Have these on hand and dispose of them thoughtfully. Pack special toys and blankets and have extra water bottles at the ready in addition to your pet’s food or drink dishes. Containers should have tight-fitting lids and can be stored in the shower when you’re travelling.
Does your pet travel with a special belt or harness, or do they stay in their crate while you’re on the road? Have plenty of old towels laid down or at the ready to mop up any spills, especially if your pet is prone to motion sickness. Op shops are a great place to source old, clean towels for this purpose.
Many beaches have dog bans in place in summer. Other local bodies may limit access at certain times of the day, or they may insist your pet is on a lead at all times. Check the local situation online beforehand. Look for any signage when you’re in a new place, be that beach, lake, river, or coastal walkway, or you might attract a fine.
Check campground regulations about pet care and management before you arrive. They may require your pet to be contained behind a fence. Fold-up fences are a great investment for dog owners. Campground owners may insist that your dog is on a leash when walking through the park.
Rules set by others may sometimes seem harsh, but not all people are dog lovers. Many children have had traumatic experiences with dogs who jump up or charge strangers. You may know they are just being curious or friendly, but people will appreciate you being considerate around others who do not know your pet as well as you do.
If you have to leave your pet behind for any reason, make sure their water bowl is full and the fan is set to cool.
If you have to leave your pet in a vehicle, take steps to ensure they will not overheat. If it’s 21°C outside, the inside temperature of a vehicle can climb to 32°C in 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, it could be as high as 40°C.
Join an online group dedicated to travelling with pets. You never know what useful tips you might learn, such as storing a cheap camping chair for your pet, staying where there’s a pet daycare facility nearby, and taking along those old towels for wet days. You’ll also get to see photos of some wonderful places and pets.
Finally, if you’re new to the RV world and considering travelling with your family’s fur baby, think about buying a vehicle that’s designed with your pet in mind, ensuring it has easy-to-clean flooring and furniture, or whether there’s a designated pet area or tie-down point. The team at Wilderness Motorhomes can advise you on this and are happy to help with any queries.