We had no idea what we were getting into when we hitched up and drove away with 2 cats and a dog (and the kids and all our possessions). We were so busy cleaning out the house and getting everything loaded up, that we didn’t really consider the ramifications of having pets along for the journey. Here I discuss the 5 considerations when RVing with pets.
RVing with pets can be a great experience for everyone. You get to bring your furry family member with you on your trips. No longer do you need to debate whether to leave the cats alone for a few days, or figuring out if a pet sitter or boarding facility is better for your pet. This is less stress for everyone. Let’s not forget about cost savings! The 5 considerations for RVing with pets are: 1) limited space, 2) fur flurries, 3) the escapes, 4) discrimination and 5) poop!
1 – Limited Space
OK. This is really obvious, but I have to reiterate that RVing with pets means sharing an already small space with your four-legged children. This means you will always be tripping over them or sitting down and putting your feet on top of them. It means tripping over their food and water. We are constantly spilling their water. We also have dedicated the bottom of our pantry to pet food storage. The cat food is fairly small, but Dessy’s food takes up quite a bit of space. No one really has their own spot. The cats of course just find a quiet spot somewhere (sometimes even in our closet) and just nap. Dessy has a way of fitting under our dinette (it is cozy down there with fluffy carpeting). She amazes us with her ability to occupy such a small space. We initially purchased an awesome dog bed, but guess what, we just ended up tripping over it!!
2 – Fur Everywhere
Unless you have a pet that doesn’t shed (one of those fancy hypoallergenic dog breeds 😉 or a nice hairless cat (I know, there are others), you will be surrounded by fur…swirling bits of fur everywhere. Our Dessy doesn’t shed much, really, she doesn’t, but we are constantly sweeping with little relief. We have an air purifier that has really helped to pick up dust and dander. We can tell a difference when we don’t have it on. Even our dehumidifier helps with purifying the air somewhat. We always keep a lint roller nearby and brush everyone outside…return the hair to whence it came.
3 – The Escape Artist
The likelihood of your pet escaping and getting lost is higher since you are always moving and your pet may not be familiar with the surroundings. Our cat escaped one night without us realizing it. We had to search the campground in the dark. Luckily, we found her, but have been much more vigilant since then. We have not implemented anything fancy, like a tracker or chip. We simply ensure that we see the cat before we leave the RV and double check the outside to ensure that we don’t see her. It has become a family affair to always check the RV for all pets when we have returned whether it be a simple walk around the campground or a full day out exploring.
4 – Discrimination
Not all RV parks will welcome Fido, especially if they have been identified as an “aggressive breed”. This tends to include, but is not limited to, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, German Shepherd, and Dobermans. Make sure to disclose what kind of dog you have, even if they don’t ask, so you can avoid any unpleasantness when the park discovers you have a restricted pet. Depending on their policies they may deny your stay. Even some places that allow dogs may charge extra for the pets or even put you in a specific part of the park. This may not be a problem at all for you, but is definitely something to keep in mind when traveling with your dog. Some places also limit how many pets you have. We have run into the “2 pet maximum” policy in the past… We have 3…rut row.
5 – Poopy Situation
Almost every park that allows dogs has a dog park or an area large enough for walking your dog and having him/her do their business. We have been to some places though that are basically parking lots and don’t offer green space for happy doggy time. The best places we have been to not only had a dog park/walk area, but they also provided plenty of doggy bags and receptacles. Making it super easy to take care your dog. What about cats? They tend to be more indoor and require a little box. So where does it go? There have been some really creative folks that have created secret cubby areas for the litter box that grant the cat a more private experience. We did not do that though and just keep our top entry litter box in our tub. Is it the best? Not really. It is simple though…most of the time. Taking a shower or prepping it for the kid’s bath can be a pain, but overall it is the most out of the way place for it.
The biggest thing with RVing with pets – do your research. Make phone calls, watch videos, and read various blogs. Talk to other RVers with pets whenever you can to find out what they are doing. Get on the forums and ask away. Take a deep breath, you had your pet before hitting the road and things aren’t as complicated as you might think. Just be vigilant and enjoy your journey with your furry babies.
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