What’s a road trip without the four-legged family members along for the ride? While traveling, it’s pretty common to see dogs sitting up in the passenger seat, enjoying the trip just like everyone else. Some pups were born for road life.
However, there are plenty of things to take into consideration when hitting the road with your pets. A lot can happen while on the road or at your destination, which is why traveling with pets takes a little extra planning and preparation. To ensure everyone stays safe and has fun, we’ve compiled this little guide to traveling with pets. Here are some things to keep in mind when setting out on your next adventure!
Video source: RV Education 101
How to Road Trip with Pets
Here are some steps you can take to ensure your road trip is pet-friendly and that everyone has a great time.
1. Create a packing checklist beforehand.
The easiest way to forget something is to wait until the last minute to think of what you need. There are several things, like your pup’s water bowl, that you’ll wait to pack until you’re ready to leave. Creating a packing checklist ahead of time ensures that you cover all of their needs.
Road trip checklist for pets
Here are some things you’ll want to be sure to pack for the road and the destination.
- Leash and collar (with identifying tags)
- Food bowls
- Plenty of food, remember that you may not be able to find your dog’s brand on the road
- Extra water
- Poop bags
- Pet first-aid kit
- Travel harness or crate
- Info on your pet’s vet and local vet at your destination
Cater this list to your pet and how long you’ll be gone. What do they use on the daily basis? What do they require on a monthly basis? These are all questions to consider.
Make sure your pets have all their vaccination records and tags. A lot of campgrounds require pets to have this info and will check. Some campgrounds are also breed-restrictive, so make sure to ask about that before arriving if you are traveling with larger dogs and certain breeds.
2. Make sure they’re secured while traveling.
It can be tempting to let your pets roam the RV or truck while traveling. This, however, is very dangerous— not only for your four-legged friends, but for you as well! In the event of an accident, an unsecured animal can become a projectile. It’s always best to be safe, and for that reason, your pet should be secured by a harness or crate while in motion.
Because your pet will be tied down, be sure to take frequent breaks while on the road. This will give them a chance to relieve themselves and stretch their legs.
3. Be aware of campground rules.
Not every campground allows pets. Be sure to call ahead of time wherever you plan on stopping to get a rundown of their pet policy. Don’t assume that the rules for one national park apply to every national park, and don’t assume that state park rules are the same across the board, either.
4. Create a routine.
Your rig is your home, and just like at a typical non-moving home, pets generally do best when you stick to a schedule. Go on regular morning and afternoon walks and keep feeding time the same, no matter where you are.
5. Keep your pets leashed.
This goes along with following campground rules. You can’t let your cats and dogs run around like crazy. It’s not safe for them and for other campers. Good news, though. A lot of campgrounds do have an off-leash area where pets can get some exercise. Be sure to give them some off-leash time here, if possible.
6. Keep ’em cool (or warm).
It’s also important to consider what to do with your pets if you leave the RV. If you are heading out on a hike or maybe grabbing a bite to eat, make sure you are plugged in (or your generator is running) and your pets are kept cool. If you are running your generator, make sure you aren’t away for long periods just in case there is a power failure. The same goes for cold weather. If they are left alone, make sure they have adequate heat. Remember, RVs quickly become cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
7. Pick up after your pet.
Do this, people. Most pet owners are responsible, but there are a few that like to let their pets just do their thing. Besides the sanitary reasons and basic decency, picking up after your pet helps to ensure that campgrounds continue to allow campers with dogs and cats. Everyone wins.
Have a Paws-itively Good Time!
Perhaps most important of all, remember to have fun and make memories with your four-legged friend. Bringing a dog along on an RV trip adds a whole new layer of fun. Relish in their wonder and excitement of the new surroundings.