Many full-time RVers travel and live with pets. Dogs and cats are the primary pets found in RVers and traveling with companions is rewarding when the proper care is provided and precautions are taken to avoid conflict. Being a good pet owner is easy and many RV parks allow pets with a few basic rules.
Know the Rules and Follow Them
RV parks, public spaces and many towns have specific rules regarding pets. At Coastal Breeze, the rules are simple and by design will ensure your pet is under control. Use a leash, set up a cable in the outside space and cleanup after your pet. The rules are standard and easy to follow, just keep your pet under control and respect your neighbors.
While traveling, some advanced planning is required because not all RV parks are pet friendly and each has its own set of unique rules. Plan your route to ensure stops at RV parks are all pet friendly visits. Otherwise, you may find yourself scrambling to find a spot at the last minute or end up staying at a rest stop rather than a nice park.
Many public spaces like walking paths and local parks also have rules for pets. The rules are often the same as those found in RV parks. Carry baggies and cleanup after your pet and use a leash when required and/or appropriate. Some areas do not allow pets as well. Pay attention to the rules before visiting federal wildlife refuges and other protected spaces because some do not allow personal pets.
The climate is especially important as a consideration for pets. Maintaining a level of comfort in hot or cold weather is very important for both cats and dogs. Running an air conditioning unit is useful for both you and your pet when the weather is hot. Be considerate of your pet and setup an outdoor shade area and always keep water at the ready. Nobody knows your pet better than you so look for signs of discomfort and take action to keep your pets comfortable. Heat is the most difficult thing for most pets but cold weather is also challenging. Small, short coated dogs may require a sweater and indoor heating when the temperature drops.
Beyond climate, simple things like a ramp to the door can go a long way towards helping your pet. Setup a bed and make sure the dog or cat has plenty of space and entertainment for the downtime periods during the day.
Planning Your Travel
Planning ahead is very important while traveling with pets. It applies not just to selecting RV parks and campsites but also to planning activities and your daily routine. Dogs especially require time outside, bathroom breaks and daily exercise. Planning travel is a bit different from RVers without pets because you must plan these stops. Many rest stops do have space for dogs but visiting parks and trails for exercise is always a good idea. You will also need to find boarding while visiting some national parks and places that do not allow dogs. Planning these things in advance will become a habit and it makes life much easier when you arrive and have a nice space booked and everything in order for your pets.
Getting a New Pet
Choosing a new pet for RV living requires a full assessment of your lifestyle. While traveling with a companion is rewarding, a high energy puppy like a border collie will be difficult, especially if you are not exceptionally active. Working dog breeds require serious exercise and they are a good fit for very active hikers, bikers and runners. Small dogs are easy to manage, especially in a small space while larger breeds might take up half your bed and a good chunk of the living space. Consider these things while determining which pet or breed is a good fit. Adopting a rescue is always a good idea as well. Full grown dogs that already show personality traits can make the decision much easier.
The best thing for living the RV lifestyle with a pet is staying active. Even cats will benefit from time spent outside, exercising. Some cat owners actually walk the animals on a leash and keep them outside on a lead for a few hours or more each day. Take your pets on regular walks and even consider having them along as an exercise partner. Play outside each day and take advantage of resources like local dog parks where they can go off-leash and socialize with other dogs.