By Rob Tischler, Owner Allstar Coaches
As vacation season approaches, many pet owners will have to decide between abandoning their furry friends to kennels or undertaking the significant hassles that come from making pet-friendly travel arrangements. Unfortunately, neither option is ideal. It’s never easy to find someone trustworthy to care for your beloved pet – even for short periods of time – and the high cost of kenneling only makes getaways that much more expensive.
And if you decide to bring your animal along on your precious vacation, you’ll face an entirely different set of challenges. Animals don’t understand departure gates, rest stops, or damage fees. But they do understand hunger, and fear, and the inevitable call of nature and act on those impulses without fail, no matter how well they’re trained. Fortunately, there’s another option that allows pet owners to travel with their fur babies free from trouble and added expense: the trusty RV.
Comfortable and suitable for all passengers – Fido included – RV’s combine transportation, luxury accommodations, and entertainment into a single fun package. Unlike in planes, trains, or automobiles, your pets won’t be confined to a cramped kennel. Instead, they’ll have the freedom to move around, look out the window, and cuddle with their favorite humans as you watch the miles melt away.
And you’ll love the freedom that comes with RVing too. Gone are the check-in and check-out times that dictate every travel move. Instead, you’ll have the freedom to set your own schedule. And after all, isn’t that what vacationing is all about? RV’s will also help make your vacations more affordable. With an RV, you travel, sleep, eat, and play in the same place. That means fewer nights in expensive hotels, more home-cooked meals, and more time enjoying your vacation.
Many companies, including Allstar Coaches, now offer a wide selection of pet-friendly RV’s you can rent for your next getaway. So if you think traveling in an RV with your pet is the perfect idea for your next vacation, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Location. Location. Location: First, consider your location. There are three main points to consider before traveling to your destination with your pet:
- Make sure the park or campground is pet-friendly and accepts your dog’s breed (pit bulls, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers can be restricted).
- Be aware of the area’s natural predators and poisonous plants that could harm your pet.
- Know the area’s climate. You can’t leave your pet unattended for extended periods of time inside or out, however, you do have the ability to control the indoor temperature in an RV.
Food & Water: Before you depart, you need to understand how your pet handles fast-moving vehicles. Just like humans, pets can get motion sickness. While traveling, make sure to keep pets on the same diet to avoid upset stomachs. Also feed them at the same time every day to maintain consistency. This should go without saying, but be sure to always give your pet plenty of water.
Collars & Leashes: No matter where you are going, keep your pet’s collar on at all times and bring multiple leashes. Some state and national parks, as well as campgrounds, have specific leash guidelines that might require your pet to be leashed at all times. You also never know how your pet will respond in an unfamiliar environment, and by always having a collar and leash on your pet, you can relax knowing they will remain under your safe supervision.
Documentation: Be sure to bring up-to-date records on your pet’s vaccinations, medical history, and registration. Some campgrounds and parks may require this information before your stay. In addition, ensure your pet has identification tags on their harness or collar. You may also consider getting your pet microchipped so you can be quickly reunited if your pet goes missing.
In-Motion Safety: If you aren’t sure how your pet handles fast-moving vehicles, talk with your veterinarian about prescribing nausea and anxiety medication. Use a crate or pet seat belt for active pets while the RV is moving. Even calm pets should be put in a safe place with blankets and padding. If at first your pet is showing signs of anxiety (pacing, drooling, panting), do not fret; it may take a few miles before they get comfortable in their new environment.
Noise: Abide by the park’s quiet hours to avoid noise violations and fines. For the most part, inappropriate noise stems from bored or nervous animals. Treats and toys add a sense of comfort and familiarity, creating a happy environment for your pet. If you do leave your pet unattended, play music while you are gone or tire them out with plenty of exercise beforehand.
Cleanliness & Sanitation: While you may have access to a bathroom 24/7 (another advantage of RV travel) that’s not the case for your pets. Let dogs go to the bathroom at least three to five times a day – consider it a nice stretch break. Always clean up and dispose of your pet’s waste properly. Parks and campgrounds require it and can potentially fine you for failing to comply, so bring waste disposal bags. For other pets, bring all the proper cleaning and sanitation supplies – you both have to live in there after all.
And lastly, remember half the fun of RV travel is getting there. And you’ll never have to leave your pet home alone during vacation, ever again.