RV’ING WITH PETS: PLANNING AHEAD
One of the best benefits of going on an RV adventure our pets are with us. We don’t have the stress of finding animal friendly hotels, nor sadly leaving them behind with a pet sitter. Our pets are part of our small family, and we wouldn’t want to exclude them from such a fun trip. Here are some steps to help you plan a RV trip with your pets.
Before You Go: Planning Ahead Will Help Your Pets Be Happy Campers
Here are Four Planning Ahead Steps that will help you plan for a better trip and hopefully not let you forget important basic pet items …
Firstly, plan your itinerary to be pet-friendly. Many campgrounds do not allow pets on trails, in the backcountry, or on waterfronts. It has to do with safety issues, so please follow the rules. Visit their website if they have one, you also check yelp to see what others are saying, or you can even call so you can plan accordingly. For instance, some campgrounds allow pets at base camp but not on the trails. And sometimes it’s either too hot or too cold for your pet to stay in your RV unsupervised. So rather than being fined/ticketed for having your pet with you, spend time doing your research on pet-friendly places. You’ll alleviate a lot of stress for everyone, including your pets when you know that you’ll be able to take him everywhere with you.
Secondary, put together a “Pet First Aid Kit.” You should always keep an emergency kit in the RV for both yourself and others, including one for your pets. Make sure to check the supplies in your kit regularly, replace items you end up using or those that expire with time. In addition to your pet first aid kit, bring any of your pet’s medications, even if your pet only needs to take it rarely. One of our pets is old and fragile, she has prescribed pain pills and inflammation pills that we give her for those off days. Also purchase a first aid pet book. Check out this list that The Humane Society of The United States provides on their website:
Basic first-aid supplies
- Absorbent gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
- Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
- Cotton balls or swabs
- Gauze rolls
- Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison control expert)
- Ice pack
- Non-latex disposable gloves
- Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
- Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
- Scissors (with blunt ends)
- Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
- Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
- A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment
- A pet carrier
Other useful items:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet’s size.
- Ear cleaning solution
- Expired credit card or sample credit card (from direct-mail credit card offers) to scrape away insect stingers
- Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)
- Nail clippers
- Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
- Penlight or flashlight
- Plastic eyedropper or syringe
- Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to clean the thermometer
- Splints and tongue depressors
- Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals, pet supply stores, and your local pharmacy)
- Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your pet’s collar when you travel)
- Needle-nosed pliers
Thirdly, pack pet specific supplies. Our veterinarian provided us with a pdf of immunization records and medical records which we store on iCloud so its on all our electronics. Some people would prefer a hard copy, which we also keep as backup. I would suggest keeping them in a waterproof container or bag.
You should also save your veterinarian’s phone number and The ASPCA Poison Control Center: (800) 426-4435. The poison control center is open 24/7. (Note: They might charge you a consultation fee.)
Make sure your pet’s identification tags are on his collar while your out, with your cell phone number. You’ll be traveling, so your home phone number won’t be much help if they wander off. Also, carry current photos of your pet in case he gets lost.
Fourthly, RV pet packing lists; They keep us from forgetting the things we absolutely need on our trip. Your list will be unique to your pets’ needs, but here are some basic things you’ll always want to include:
- Pet First Aid Kit
- Any medications specific to your pet
- Immunization records, medical records
- Phone Numbers: Veterinarian, ASPCA Poison Control Center(800) 426-4435, etc.
- Collar with identification tags
- Food and treats (don’t forget a can opener if you’re going to need it)
- Food and water bowls
- Pet bed and favorite toys (Things that smell like home)
- Fashionable attire (booties, sweater, etc.)
- Leash, Exercise pen, or a Crate
- Old towels for drying your pet, or cleaning dirty paws
- Poop pickup baggies
With good common sense, and planning ahead, most pets can be happy campers.