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5 Tips for RVing with Pets
Peanut butter and jelly.... marshmallows and chocolate..... trailer hitches and shin bruises. Some things just go together, like pets and RVs! After living in an extremely small space with our dog, I'd love to share some tips and tricks we've learned for traveling in an RV with your furry friends.
Sharing space with an animal was a completely foreign concept to me. I could appreciate the pets of my friends and family from a distance, but was beyond ultimately positive I would never have one in my own home. As with so many things in my life.....a glorious plot twist reminded me that sometimes, I need to leave space for thinking bigger than my original rigid plan. Enter: Bianchi.
Our dog Bianchi (BeeYonkee) is named after a brand of Italian road bicycle. He's a Cavapoo: King Charles Cavalier Spaniel/Poodle mix. (We suspect there is also a small percentage of sloth in his parentage.) He is a healthy dose of pure sunshine into every single day. When we moved from 1,600 square feet to about 112 square feet, he adapted with zero problems. His perch on the top of the couch in our Grand Design trailer has a perfect view out the window, a stripe of sun perfect for lounging, and a direct breeze from the A/C. We found a spot for his water/food dishes, and figured we were all set! Then the doubts started creeping in..... What if he gets out and can't find his way home since we're always traveling to new unfamiliar places? Campsites are notorious for unpredictable power surges; what if the rig lost power while we were gone and Bianchi was inside? How hot or cold would it get in there without electricity? We had some research to do! We'd love to share it with you!
Five Tips for RVing with your Pet
- 1. Know the temperature of your RV, no matter where you are.
Every once in a while, our RV pet monitor sends a text to my phone that lets me know the temperature of the RV has gone above or below my specified temperatures. The reassurance this provides is invaluable! There are several models available, such as MarCELL (which we use and love) and Waggle (which we've heard great things about.) A monitor is set in your rig, you pay a nominal cellular fee (8.25 per month for us) and not only do you have peace of mind for your four-legged family members, but also the integrity of your rig when you're out and about. No one wants their pipes to freeze or mold to grow just because you didn't have all the information about what's happening in your RV!
- 2. GPS is your friend!
When you're traveling from place to place, it's a terrifying thought that if your pets were to wander, they'd have no idea how to find their way home. We were parked recently next to a family with a puppy who heard fireworks, bolted right out of his little gated area, and remained lost for days. (Thankfully, they were reunited on the last day before they had to leave for another state!) We use a Fi collar that tracks Bianchi's GPS location in real-time, features a lost-pet mode that lights up his collar in the dark if he's lost, and sends notifications to my phone if he's without an owner (not near one of our cell phones.) It even features a step-counter that tracks how active he is! (We are aware how ridiculous this feature is, but admittedly we feel competitive about those other poodle mixes that flex their 12 mile hikes. Sometimes, it even motivates us to take an extra walk before bed. Modern technology.... you're a marvel.) He's not a runner, and we've never truly lost him, but it makes us so happy to know we're pup-pared. (I know. I won't do that again; I apologize.)
- 3. Pics or it Didn't Happen
We choose to employ a video monitoring system inside and outside our rig for security. After having a stranger climb on top of our RV and steal a cellular booster right off the roof in Virginia, we feel better knowing we have eyes on our home no matter where we are. Our three battery-operated cameras are rechargable and run on wi-fi. We have programmed our interior camera to start recording when we (our cell phones) leave the RV, so we can always check on Bianchi if we need to. We get alerts when someone comes to the door or approaches the rear ladder, which most of the time are annoying innocuous events, but it has let us capture some pretty entertaining close-ups of squirrels who are quite curious about our cameras. If we were to boondock or park somewhere we aren't familiar with, I love that we could check the camera before opening the door to investigate a visitor or unexpected noise. This certainly isn't a necessity, but especially for you full-timers and pet-owners.... it's a way to stay connected with peace of mind even when you roam during the day. We use Reolink, but there are lots of great options for you to explore!
- 4. Are you packin? I'm packin. I'm a little embarrassed about it, but I'm packin.
I'm not talking about firearms, I'm talkin about my pup. We love to hike and explore new areas on foot. The first time Bianchi just collapsed on the ground and refused to move, I thought it was funny that he was so lazy. Every single subsequent time... I lamented the fact that I had to carry our 21 pound dog because his little legs were too lazy to carry on. (Since then, I've discovered he's got severe hip displasia; sorry about that, little guy. My bad.) I get it.... little legs, little walks--- but not anymore! I can bring Bianchi into terrian he couldn't manage or distances he couldn't endure with our super-cool, stylish, not-at-all-over-the-top backpack. Here's the brand we use, and he actually loves it! His collar clips into the front, his paws go through the perfectly-placed holes, and there are carabiner clips for his water bowl and bags. We're both big fans of this one!
- 5. Invest in some mobile conveniences
Apart from being a small space in general, traveling in an RV presents some unique challenges for what you bring along and how you store it. We invested in a large tupperware food container so we dont' have bags of dog food in the RV, as well as travel-friendly accessories. Collapsible food and water dishes save space and won't shatter when we're rolling down the road and can be easily carried along on hikes. We love to find a wash-your-own-pet location where we're headed! Did you know that wherever you find a Pet Supermarket, there is a $10 charge to give your dog a bath with their sink, soap and towels? Clean dog, no mess in the rig, and no attempt at using that mudpit outdoor hose to wash a dog who is standing in dirt.
We would love to hear your experiences, tips and tricks for RVing with your pets! If you use any of our suggestions or have some of your own, throw them down in the comments. Click the orange subscribe button below to always get new blog posts right to your inbox. Thanks for following along with us, and safe travels!