How To RV With Pets

Have you been playing with the idea of bringing your pet along with you in your RV as you Work Kamp?  According to the American Pet Products Association, sixty-eight percent of American households own a pet.  A recent online survey by GfK shows that sixty-one percent of Canadians own pets.  And KOA’s own research shows about 43 percent of our guests camp with their four-legged friends. As a continent of animal lovers, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the majority of RVers take their furry, feathered, or scaled friends on the road with them.

If you’re one of the many who have been thinking about how to take your pet on the road, we have some tips for you.  While the majority of travel companions are dogs, many of these tips will work for other pets as well.

Prepping for the trip

Before you leave, there are several to-do boxes that should be checked.

  • Make an appointment with your vet for a check-up. This is a great time to update vaccines, make sure your pet doesn’t have any health issues, and have them microchipped if they aren’t already.  Collars can easily fall off, but a microchip gives them a much better chance of being found if they get lost.
  • Make sure you have pet restraints for your RV. Whether it is a crate or car harness, your pet will be safer if they are securely restrained in the vehicle.

    Dogs playing in Kamp K9, Cape Hatteras KOA Resort, NC

  • Research your desired destination to make sure the area doesn’t have breed-specific legislation. BSL is a blanket term for laws that regulate or ban certain breeds of dogs.  Typically, breeds that fall under this legislation are "bully" breeds such as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and English Bull Terriers.  It can also include breeds such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dalmatians, and Mastiffs.  To find out what locations have BSL, you can check this interactive map:  While many KOA campgrounds do not have rules on dog breeds, you will want to be open about your animal(s) during the interview in case it is an issue.
  • Make sure your pet is welcome. Many campgrounds and national parks have restrictions on pets.  For instance, pets are not allowed on trails and boardwalks in national parks.  Fortunately, most KOAs are pet-friendly and even have Kamp K9s, a fenced in area for your dog to play in.
  • Make a list of veterinarians and emergency animal hospitals in each place you will be visiting. KOA owners will probably have an idea of the good vets in the area so feel free to ask them for a referral.  Hopefully you won’t need to use the info, but if something unfortunate does happen, you will be prepared.

Packing for your pet

Pets have some basic needs that you will need to pack for.

  • Bring enough food and treats for the trip. Pack their bowls as well. Don’t forget the can opener if the food is canned!
  • Bring leashes, collars with I.D. tags, and harnesses for taking them on walks. Make sure to bring plastic bags for waste pick-up as well.
  • Bring bedding for your pet to sleep on.
  • Grooming tools such as brushes, nail clippers, and bath items will be very useful.
  • A few of their favorite toys will keep them busy and make the road feel like home.
  • A current, clear picture of your pet is important to have in case they get lost.
  • Medications for your pet – prescriptions, flea and tick medications, heartworm pills, etc…
  • Paperwork – including vaccination records and proof of ownership – are essential.

Exercise your pet

Being on the road can give pets, especially dogs, cabin fever.

  • While you’re driving, make sure to make some pit-stops so your furry friends can get out and stretch their legs.
  • If you’re working, walk your pet during your breaks or off-hours. Most campground owners will not appreciate you using your working hours to exercise your animals.  It is not uncommon to find someone who is willing to walk them for you, either paid or unpaid.  Ask the campground owner or manager for advice if you’re not sure how to find a dog walker.
  • Don’t leave your pet unattended outside. There are many things that could go wrong, including them running away and being attacked by another animal (including a wild animal).

Because people tend to bond over their love of animals, KOA campground owners often view their employees having pets as a great way to interact with guests.  Having a pet with you can be seen as a positive, and can be enjoyable for everyone at the campground.

Bringing your pet along with you during your travels can be fun and fulfilling for everyone involved, especially if you plan ahead

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