We know that your pets are beloved family members and traveling with them is of the utmost importance to you, everywhere you go, they go! That’s why we decided to compile a few tips for traveling safely with your family pet.
We talked with Tiffin owners who travel with cats, dogs, birds and even a monkey or two. We found that there is no shortage of time spent ensuring your pets are safe and happy when you’re on the road.
Our “Roughing It Smoothly” motto doesn’t just have to be for the human folks who travel in our coaches. Time and again owners put their pets comfort and safety at the top of the list.
Exercise and Pet Relief
Take for example Pamella T. who drives a 2007 FRED Open Road and has traveled with her dog Titan for six years. She says that Titan loves to travel and “would even drive the motorhome if they would let him!” Titan is exercised regularly with the golf cart and taken to dog parks when traveling.
It’s always a good idea to think about how your pet will burn off some of that energy from driving sometimes as long as eight to ten hours a day. Nathan L. recommends “lots of stops and walks” and we do too.
Be sure to take your pet out of the motorhome every time you stop for a break to fuel up, use the restroom or eat. This can decrease the likelihood of unwanted accidents. Experts recommend stopping at least every two hours to allow your pet to walk or take a potty break (Buisnesswire). Don’t forget to pick up any droppings and dispose of them; it’s inconsiderate to leave behind a gift like that for other travelers!
If you have small pets you can train them to use pee pads if stopping often isn’t an option or if you will be gone for long periods of time from your unit when it’s parked. Robin W. says that training her small dogs to use pee pads “makes (her) life much easier and they don’t ever have to hold it which makes (her) feel better if (she’s) gone longer than expected. “ That’s a great point, you may be gone longer than you thought and ensuring your pet understands where to go when you’re not there is helpful to all.
Safety and Security
Accidents can happen, no one wants them to, but if you’re proactive you can keep your pets safe. Frederick H. tells the story of why crating your pet while on the road is a better choice than allowing them to roam free while driving. He says “please crate your pets while traveling and keep them in their crates until you have completed operating all slide outs. In our first motorhome a slide going out almost crushed our dog. She was not crated ran behind it as it was going out and we didn’t notice that she had gotten in that small area. Something made us stop mid- way extending the slide to look for her. That’s where we found her before she was crushed. Bed slide outs also have a space were little dogs and cats can get in and hide before slide outs are extended. Be very careful. Our pets are crated before we retract or extend any slide outs. (This is) our safety policy for each trip.”
Diane B. owner of a 2013 Tiffin Allegro Open Road further goes on to recommend that you “don’t forget to keep your pets cool in hot weather. (She) always runs the generator and keeps the ac going for (her pets) if not parked in a campground. She also says they love their “doggie window” by the passenger seat. Though this little window isn’t designed for pets, but for the driver many Tiffin Motorhome owners have said their pets prefer the window for themselves!
Another wonderful idea on safety comes from Tara M. she recommends placing a sticker on your coach door and windows to notify others that pets are inside. These stickers have a place for your contact information as well as number of pets and what kinds are on the inside.
Tara goes on to say that she and her husband leave a few windows cracked when gone, just in case there is a power failure while you’re away and the air goes out. They also use something called a pet harness that attaches to the seat belts as an alternative to crating to keep her pets safe while on the move.
Some pet owners prefer to not leave their pets to roam the entire coach alone while they’re away. Terri C. who travels in an Allegro Bus owns two eighty pound labs and uses a baby gate to keep them in the back of the RV while they’re away. They place water and food bowls in the shower to reduce any mess from water that may spill on the floor.
There are pet owners who have modified their coach to fit their pets or who have made special beds or pillows for them to enjoy. Brenda K. owner of a Phaeton and two miniature pinschers made “a memory foam pillow that fits on the shelf behind the couch that’s level with the couch so they can lay and look out the window.” They also bought s set of small steps they place at the end of the couch so the dogs won’t get hurt from jumping to the floor.
Vincent G. has modified his coach extensively for his “minpin” rescue. He has built crate compartments for each of them. They “currently travel with seven adopted minpins!” You can learn more about Vincent and his wife’s heartfelt commitment to pet rescue at www.minpinrescue.org.
We hope that you have found these stories and recommendations helpful. We will leave you with a few bullet points for pet safety that you can consider as you travel.
- Consider a microchip and tag for your pet or to the least ensure they have a tag with name and up to date contact information attached to their collar.
- Play with your pet during rest stops to help it burn off a little energy and have some fun.
- Carry a spray water bottle to “water” your pets. Speaking from experience there may be times your pet will refuse to drink from their dish in a strange place. You can spray water easily into the corner of their mouth with a spray bottle that you can keep cool in the fridge.
- It may be a good idea to visit your vet for a checkup before a long trip, especially if your pet has been exhibiting any behavior that is concerning
- Stock up on food or medications etc., You may leave your home thinking you have enough food to get you through the day, then reach your destination and there be no place to buy the specific food you need.
- Practice makes perfect, so if you’re new to the RV lifestyle and traveling with a pet take them out on short trips, maybe run an errand with them a few times inside your coach so that can become accustomed to their new Tiffin Motorhome!
- Carry your pet’s favorite things on your trip. Just like children, pets thrive on normalcy and routine. So don’t forget that pet bed, chew toy or other comforting items from home.
- Don’t tie your pet up outside your coach unless you will be within sight. Many campgrounds don’t allow pets to be leashed outdoors anyway, so it’s always best to be nearby if you have them out.
- Never leave your pet in your RV for long periods of time without someone checking on them periodically. Temperatures can become very hot or very cold, generators can stop running, storms can hit on a whim, so be prepared to have a nice neighbor or park attendant check on your pets if you’re away for several hours.
- Carry copies of your pet’s medical records with you.
- Take a recent photo of you with your pet to take along with you in the event they’re lost. Be sure the photo is in color!
- Pack a few old towels in case of spills or sickness.