If you’re one of 7.7 million Canadian households that include a dog, you probably welcome the opportunity to travel with your pet. But before you reserve a campsite, learn how to RV with your dog and plan a safe, healthy and fun outing. Here are nine top tips for travelling with your dog.
1. Get a Clean Bill of Health
Visit your local veterinarian for a doggie checkup. Verify that your pet is healthy enough for travel and has all the required vaccinations. Ensure the microchip is in proper working order, too. Now’s also a good time to update your dog’s license and schedule a grooming appointment so your pooch looks its best for vacation.
2. Assemble Supporting Paperwork
Like you carry a driver’s license or ID, carry documents for your dog. Include your pet ownership paperwork, proof of recent vaccinations, allergy or medical information, and updated pics. Secure these documents in a waterproof container in a safe location and store photos of the documents on your phone. Remember to update these documents before each RV trip, too.
3. Pack the Right Gear
Transform your pet-friendly RV into a home-away-from-home for your pet. Use these suggestions as you pack your dog’s favourite accessories and essentials.
- Harness, carrier or crate
- Fresh water and food
- Water and food bowls
- Bed and blanket
- Collar and leash
- Brush and other grooming tools
- Outdoor bath tool
- Cleaning supplies
- Required documentation
- Medication and first aid kit
4. Secure Your Dog for the Ride
Whenever you’re travelling with your dog, protect them with a seatbelt as you drive. Use a harness, carrier or crate to prevent injuries in case you need to stop suddenly or are involved in an accident. Plus, keep in mind that a roaming pet can distract you as you drive. As with any new thing, get your pet used to protective gear before you travel.
5. Incorporate Frequent Exercise Breaks
Your dog has a regular daily routine that includes physical exercise and mental stimulation. When travelling with your dog, it’s important to try to stick to the routine and take frequent breaks as you drive. Give your dog time to exercise, play and get away from the vehicle. Include exercise breaks after you arrive at your destination, too. After all, a bored dog can become agitated, anxious or destructive, which isn’t fun for your pet or for you.
6. Select Dog-Friendly RV Parks
To boost your fun when travelling with your dog, stay in pet-friendly RV parks and campgrounds. This environment may offer amenities like a fenced-in dog park or a bathing station. However, you’ll still want to know and follow the rules, which may include keeping your pet on a leash at all times, cleaning up waste promptly and avoiding certain areas on the grounds.
7. Choose How to Leave Your Pet Alone
While you want to include your dog in many of your RV adventures, there are times when your pet needs to stay in the RV alone. Select engaging activities that prevent boredom and barking, chewing or other mischief. Try to plan outings during your dog’s normal nap time. Or draw the blinds and play relaxing music. You could also hire a local pet sitter to entertain your pet. Never leave your dog alone outdoors on a tie-out or roaming free.
8. Plan for Emergencies
Despite careful and thoughtful preparation, you could face an emergency on the road. Prepare for the worst-case scenario with a pet microchip, and ensure your dog always wears a collar and ID. Additionally, look up phone numbers for local veterinarians. You may also plan for motion sickness with frequent breaks and fresh air, and pack flea and tick medication plus a first aid kit. Consider bringing comfort items like a favourite blanket or toys, too, in case your dog feels anxious during thunderstorms or when overstimulated.
9. Schedule Practice Runs
Before you take a cross-country trip, help your pet become familiar with and feel comfortable in your homey RV environment.
First, spend a few hours and overnights navigating the RV in your driveway. Practice using the steps, sitting in the harness or crate, and sleeping in the designated spot.
Next, visit a local park for an overnight stay. Allow your pet to hang out in the RV alone for a bit and enjoy playing together. Use these short trips to discover your pet’s unique needs and then make any necessary adjustments.
Finally, plan a few short trips. Ensure your dog is comfortable and safe as you travel and tweak the packing list or activity schedule as needed. Now, you and your dog are ready for longer adventures.
Travelling with your dog enhances your RV adventures. These tips will help you learn how to RV with your dog creating a safe, comfortable and fun environment for your pet.