It’s so hard to travel freely and in good conscience while leaving our beloved furry family behind. We can’t board Master Chief (our older Pom) and we hate to kennel Stella Bean (our Golden Retriever), even though she does just fine.
For most of our lives, RVing was not something that ever crossed our minds. The only encounters that we had with RVs were in movies, to include a perennial holiday favorite, Christmas Vacation (“SH*TTER’S FULL!”) and the RV Movie movie starring Robin Williams, which made the B&B option look ever so good.
Tom and I had a big facepalm moment when we realized that we had been in Colorado for most of our lives together without ever exploring one of the best options out there for seeing the state with our dogs: RV’ing. We naively attended an RV Show and thought, “Hey, we can DO this!” We ultimately found ourselves feeling most at home (and poorer) in an iconic Airstream. Fortunately we saw the classic Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz movie, The Long, Long Trailer, well AFTER we bought our silver beauty – and laughed ourselves silly at having nearly every experience. I still promise not to bring home rocks as a souvenir.
Here are a few tips that we’ve picked up along the way in traveling with our furry ones that might help you, too:
- Hydrate your Hound
In your tow vehicle, on a hike, wherever you go – carry a handy way to hydrate not only yourselves but your pups too. We have a terrific Gulpy water bottle that my parents gave us years ago, where you can control the water flow into a built-in cup. Both of our dogs like to use it, big and small.
- Bring Poop Bags
Seriously. Don’t be “Those People.” Even if your dog has already done its business, carry another bag to avoid the campground mess and stink-eye from other campers.
- Leashes, Please
Every campground where we’ve stayed (state, national and private) requires that dogs be on leashes. It’s for their own protection as much as anything else. If they do get away, we found this terrific personalized collar at Orvis that features the dog’s name and contact phone number (to supplement chip ID and maybe help get your dog back a bit faster). You can also consider an RFID locator on your dog’s collar, and we did – but Stella tried to eat it.
- Feeding Time
We’ve found that stashing an extra three-day supply of food is a good idea, given that we never know when we might want to go somewhere else or extend the trip.
- Comfy Spaces
If you can, bring a soft place to lay their heads. While a bit price-y, these pet beds by Pendleton fit neatly under the dining table and by the bed, and they wash well. Of course, Chief sleeps wherever he wants to sleep, which is usually on our bed.
- Carry Records and Meds
Make sure that you have pet meds as well as vaccination and health records, particularly if you travel out-of-state. You may also want to proactively vaccinate against leptospirosis (if you have a dog like ours that has to put everything in her mouth, including elk poop).
- Oh, The Hair
Believe me, I get it. It’s everywhere. Tom’s parents gave us a palm mitt which has little silicone nubs that are great at getting all that hair out of the tow vehicle carpet, beyond its intended purpose of shedding our dog. And I would be remiss if I didn’t share this tip about a handy little fur buster that cleans our trailer in a snap, the Dyson cordless vacuum. Ours is older than this one, and I don’t remember it being quite so expensive…but a cordless handheld vacuum is an addition that’s well-worth the storage space.
Most of all, the best tip to remember is to just have fun! They only want to be with you. Take your dogs on walks in town, let people make a fuss. They always do, and the dogs make people smile. Dogs are a great way to meet other people and enrich your camping experience, knowing that all family members can participate.
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Do you have any other handy tips for traveling with pets? Let me know in the comments!
Tom and the pups in Creede, CO
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