RV travel is unlike any other form of travel. Enthusiasts love the freedom to travel from destination to destination without schedule or expectation. The world is theirs.
What’s the other thing RV enthusiasts love about this journey to freedom? They can have their pets along for the ride. Always. If you have pets, anywhere you stop can be their backyard, and you get to soak up every destination together. Plus, there’s no pet fee or policy, or need to board your furry friends.
Of course, just as you enjoy the comforts of home by bringing along many of those comforts, you also want to pack what’s needed so your pets feel just as comfortable and safe on the road. From what to pack to tips to travel well with pets, our Tiffin-owning pet lovers weighed in on our Facebook and Instagram pages. They offer ideas for your travel list and tips to keep these four-legged guys and gals safe and happy.
Medical Records and Medication
The most-posted tip from Tiffin owners bubbled up repeatedly: Never leave home without your pet’s medical records.
“We always bring vet and vaccination records, as well as extra collars and leashes just in case,” says Mary-Frances Albanesi Wood. “We are blessed that Georgia, our Treeing Walker Coonhound, travels well.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also recommends bringing along an up-to-date Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. This document is actually required in many states. According to the AVMA, “certain vaccinations must be up to date for a health certificate to be issued. As part of the exam, your veterinarian may check for heartworm disease and prescribe heartworm preventative medication.” The certificate is used by some states to ensure your pet is healthy to travel and is not showing signs of a disease that could be passed to other animals or to local residents.
If your pet is on daily medication, you’ll want to add that to your travel list so it’s never forgotten. If medications change often, be sure this is part of your every-trip, master checklist so you account for new medications each time you leave home. Beyond medication, Julie Tidrick posted that she always brings rice for her animals’ occasional upset stomachs. Plus, she packs bottled water for her pets, as many Tiffin-owners say they do. Tidrick has also found it easier to stop at every rest stop and let the pets out at every fuel stop.
“(It’s) good for pet exercise, toilet breaks, and good for humans’ backs and behinds to walk around a bit,” she says. “Takes longer, but (it’s) a more relaxing day.”
Baby Monitors, Pet Cams, and Good Communication
Sometimes the unexpected happens. In the event you venture away from your campsite while your pets stay behind in your motorhome, be sure you have an emergency plan in place for your animals. Tiffin owners have accounted for this in various ways.
“Always let a family member or friend know where you park your RV in the event you are in an accident,” says Tiffin-owner Carolyn Breinich. That way, she says, “someone knows where your pets are.”
Or, while at the campground, you might rely on a campsite neighbor. Create a sign for your RV window, providing a cell phone number. Debi Bockius-Mosley keeps an “In Case of Emergency” sign in her Tiffin RV. She puts it in the windshield, and asks a neighboring RVer to use the information if there’s a power outage or unexpected incident at the campground. One nice thing according to Bockius-Mosley is, “the inverter will keep the air conditioner running in the event of power failure so (our) fur girl stays cool.”
If you’d rather keep closer tabs on your pets while they’re in the RV and you’re away, there’s a ton of pet cameras and monitors available. A quick Amazon search shows pet cameras ranging from as low as $19.99, while more robust models come in between $200 to $300. The Furbo Dog Camera even features a treat-tossing mechanism, while the PetChatz HDX lets you video chat with your furry friend.
Of course, many parents and grandparents of babies and small children already own a baby monitor. And those can get the job done just as well as most pet cams. Samantha Ashley uses her baby camera to alert her if her dogs bark or if the temperature changes in her motorhome.
Let’s Not Forget Our RVing Cats
Cats have their own unique needs and roadtripping tendencies. From their unlikely RV perches and special sleeping spots to their low-maintenance potty requirements. Tiffin-owner Paul Hughes puts the litter box in the shower on long trips. That way, they can go to the bathroom easily at fuel and food stops.
Susanne Moon of Portland, Oregon, brings along three cat trees, cat treats, special food, and her three Ragdoll cats’ shot records. “They rule the roost,” she says. “Our lives revolve around them and I can’t imagine traveling without them.”
And on our Instagram account, Bugsy the Adventure Cat offered tips from a cat’s point of view. “Our humans make sure we’re in our carriers before slides go out or come in,” Bugsy writes. “We know a kitty who lost her leg in a slide accident!” Hopefully this doesn’t send readers into a state of frenzied alarm, but Bugsy tells it like it is. ”Once we get rolling, they let us out of our carriers so we can get to water, snacks, and the litter box! Oh ... another thing! Keep the cabinet doors closed! You’d be surprised where — within the bowels of an RV — a cat can go!!!!”
11 Quick Tips Inspired by Golden Retrievers Murphy and Carter
We’ll close this thing out with 11 insider tips provided by Kevin and Johnann, Tiffin owners and the parents of Murphy and Carter. You may remember the pair. They were featured in a Tiffin owner story, published last fall. Or, maybe you’ve come to know Murphy and Carter from their Instagram account. They currently have 43,000 followers and are full-time RVers.
The couple, along with Murphy and Carter, travel the country where they participate in American Kennel Club (AKC) competitions. Carter is an AKC Championship winner and continues to train and compete, while Murphy, who is partially blind, is a certified therapy dog.
Needless to say, they’ve logged a lot of miles. And when it comes to traveling with dogs, here’s eleven things they’ve learned along the way:
Insider tips for traveling with your pets
1. Take a gallon of water from home for each day of travel for the dogs.
2. Always bring extra leashes.
3. A lighted collar for night walks is super helpful.
4. Have a pet first aid kit on hand.
5. Outdoor pet rugs keep them clean and, in turn, keep the motorhome cleaner.
6. Always have their shot records. Some states and places require it.
7. The Dyson stick vacuum is great for sucking up fur.
8. An outdoor exercise pen is a must. It’s fun to hang outside with them, and it’s useful for letting them in and out at night. Plus, it keeps your pets safe from other animals. Make sure the campground allows them before you book.
9. Travel with a portable booster bathtub so you don’t have to bend over and break your back when bathing them. Find one with removable legs for easy storage.
10. Buy temporary key tags to put on their collars with the campground name and lot number written on them so if they get out, it’s easy for someone to return them.
11. Memory foam bath mats work well to place around the motorhome to prevent the dogs from sliding.
If you’d like to read more tips and suggestions from Tiffin owners, check out all comments posted to our “Traveling With Pets” Facebook and Instagram threads. You can also check out the American Veterinary Medical Association’s “Traveling With Your Pet FAQ.”