Traveling with Pets – Part 1 – Bernice’s Tips

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December 24, 2008

Pets can make great travel companions providing you take the extra care needed to fulfill their needs while on the road. And depending on where you will be traveling, the health of your pet and the temperament of your pet, the requirements will likely vary. Here are some general tips to make traveling with your pets more enjoyable for everyone.

  • If traveling with dogs, it’s important to obedience train them, control them, and clean up after them immediately. Teach your dog to stay alone without barking (unless someone is trying to get into the RV). If you can’t train on your own, find a group through a veterinarian, kennels, or the yellow pages, and don’t give up. Patience, persistence, and practice will pay off. You won’t believe the compliments you’ll get on your dog’s manners. – Lt. Col. Virginia Dillon (VD), Alexandria, VA
  • If you plan to visit a state or national park with your pet, check to see what the rules are before you go. If dogs are allowed, you must have them on a leash at all times. Be aware that a lot of parks and campground will not let you tie your dog outside. Some major attractions, such as Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and most of the Disney parks, have kennels where your pet can spend the day while you visit the attraction. –VD
  • Don’t give your pets too much water or food before you get on the road. Carry your pets’ current identification and be sure you have clean-up equipment. (Your neighbors will thank you.) Take a swivel stake for tying your pet and a square of linoleum or carpet to place under food and water dishes. – Herb and Mary-Lou Pletcher, Taneytown, MD
  • An RV can be the ideal way to travel with any pet. Nevertheless, some animals travel better than others. Only you know your pet’s personality well enough to decide whether bringing him or her along is a good idea. The best travelers are confident and accustomed to change and trustworthy around strangers. – Cynthia D. Miller (CM), Yuba City, CA
  • Your pet will need a travel checklist too, so you won’t forget to pack everything he or she needs for a comfortable trip: food and treats, medicine, bedding, grooming necessities, collar and leash, pooper scooper, food and water dishes, and toys. – CM
  • When traveling with a dog, you must plan to stop every hour or two for at least 10 minutes. Highway rest areas provide grassy plots for caretakers to walk their pets. – CM
  • Ask your veterinarian what paper work you need if you will be crossing state lines or over the border to Canada or Mexico. No matter where you’re going, you should bring along a copy of a current health certificate, immunization records, and rabies certificate for your dog. Rabies tags are not always enough proof. Each state has different rules about what is considered a “current” health certificate, so check what the rules are in each state where you’ll be stopping. – CM
  • Have your pet wear a collar with a securely attached identification tag at all times on your trip. The tag should list the telephone number of a friend, relative, or veterinarian at home plus the number of your cellular telephone, if you’re bringing one along. – CM

Next week I’ll have more tips specifically detailing some steps you can take before traveling with your pet to help ensure a safe and pleasant trip.

Enjoy your RVing!

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  1. Great post Bernice and thank you! Both dogs read it and nodded in affirmative. 😉 Since I’m a full-timer my dogs love it and are well behaved and taken care of. The cool part is no matter where we are the minute we come inside they are home and content, Like me.:-)


  2. Panda

    There are Families On The Road that take their pets with them, and sometimes the pets are more exotic than cats and dogs. For a quick link to what FOTR families have done, check out .

    BTW, our family traveled with our little rooster, Struedel. His story and pics can be found on that link too.

  3. JP

    We travel with two cats. Spent 4 mos traveling in a 27′ Prowler TT and now use a 39′ class A. We have found that using a “boot tray” to place our cats food and water on saves it from being spilled on the floor. It saved the floors from the kids snowy boots when we lived up north and now saves the RV from the cats toying with food and water. The only problem is that these are only available in the winter and not in non-snow states.

  4. bob

    We travel with a dog (so appreciate the comments Bernice has made), 5 cats (and agree with Ellen about the scratching post), 4 ferrets, and a 5 foot long Iguana. The biggest challenges we have encountered over the years: keeping track of the cats, who love to hide, and getting the ferrets into California, since they are outlaed there.

  5. Ellen

    Sometimes cats are forgotten when articles are written about traveling with pets. It’s not that they are easier to travel with, believe me. We have been traveling with Pete (Siamese) and Maude (Himalayan) for two years. The smartest thing we did was bring scratching posts along. It sure saved the furniture. 🙂 We have a fifth wheel, and put the cats in a cage in the back seat of the truck. That works fairly well. We stop every few hours, and we all go into the trailer so they can snack and use the litter. That helps, except sometimes it’s not easy to get them back in the cage. They are adjusting more each trip, but that first 6000 miles was noisy. Whew!

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