RV Information from Kampgrounds of America, Inc.

Traveling With Pets

Joe and Vicki Kieva

Joe: A lot of RVers take their dogs, cats and other household pets on the road. Vicki and I frequently see RVs with two or three dogs and/or cats. We have even shared campgrounds with dog-sled enthusiasts. These folks travel with a half-dozen or more dogs. The animals are very well behaved and their owners set an example in campground etiquette we wish other pet owners would follow.

Most, but not all, RV parks and government campgrounds accept dogs and cats. Don't be surprised, however, if there is an extra charge for your pet. You may even be assigned to an area of the campground designated for pet owners.

The campground will ask you to clean up after your pet, keep it on a leash and not allow it to disturb your neighbors. RV pet owners who think these rules do not apply to them are the reason some RV parks and campgrounds now refuse to allow pets.

Vicki: Some dogs and cats, like human beings, readily adapt and even look forward to RV travel while others have difficulty adjusting.

Keep in mind, your animals will be barraged by new sights, sounds and smells. They will be in close contact with a variety of strange people and surroundings. This can be stressful for some dogs and may lead to barking and unpredictable behavior.

It may be a good idea to accustom your pets to RVing by taking them on short trips at first, then gradually increasing the length of time they spend on the road and in campgrounds.

Try to locate a permanent place in the RV for the animal's food and water bowls.

Provide a protective travel case for your pets. It will prevent them from becoming flying missiles when the brakes are suddenly applied. It will also keep them from jumping on or otherwise interfering with the driver. The travel case can double as a familiar and secure place for your pet to sleep.

Joe: You'll want to carry a valid rabies vaccination certificate. Many government campgrounds and some RV parks require them. RVers traveling to and from Canada and Mexico are required to have a valid veterinarian health certificate, including a proof of rabies vaccination.

Be prepared in case your dog or cat gets away from you. Put an identification collar on it. Include your RV's make and license number as well as your RV's cellular phone number. You might ask your veterinarian about identification tattoos and under-the-skin implants. Check into the lost pet service offered by the Good Sam Club.

Carry a leash for exercising and some type of tethering rope or chain to keep your pet within the confines of your campsite.

By the way, don't leave your animal tethered and unattended outside the RV. Unable to flee, it would be easy prey for a wild animal. And you certainly wouldn't want your dog to attack a child who suddenly ran through your campsite.

Vicki: Think about what you will do with your pet when you are not able to take it with you for the day. You don't want to leave it unattended in a hot or unventilated RV. A vent fan or air conditioner can be left running, but what if there is a power failure?

Some campgrounds and recreation destinations offer "day-care" kennels. Before you drop your pet off for the day, inspect the premises. Ask what protective measures they take against parasites, infection and distemper.

Take care of your animal's health. Mosquitoes transmit heartworm. Ticks and fleas abound in outdoor areas. Ask your veterinarian about preventatives.

Be aware that strange food and water could cause digestive upset. This is not the time to alter your pet's diet.

Pet odors can build rapidly in the confined space of an RV. You'll want to work diligently to minimize odors and prevent fleas.

Finally, be a good neighbor. Clean up your pet's waste. Keep it on a leash. And please, don't permit it to bark, whine or otherwise disturb the RVers around you.

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