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How to Travel With Pets: Tips from Experienced RVers

RV travel can be enhanced with furry friends but there are some extra considerations when pets are part of the posse. Four pet owners weighed in to deliver some road-proven tips as they travel the country in their motorhomes.

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Cat and Dog Tips from the Grateful Glamper

For the past four years, Charity and Ben DeVries have been enjoying RV life with their family of “seven” in a 2004 Fleetwood RV Discovery® 39J. Their family includes two children, a large dog, and two cats. On a regular basis, the husband-and-wife team share widely popular videos documenting the ups and downs of RV living on their Grateful Glamper website and social media channels.

“One of the things we love about our Discovery is it’s built for cargo. That’s an absolute must when you’re carrying around a pet crate, cat litter, and food for a Great Pyrenees and two cats,” says Charity.

To maximize cargo efficiency, the Grateful Glamper suggests buying food in bulk and stowing the bags underneath in the luggage compartment. Daily pet food can be stored in plastic cereal containers for easy accessibility and feeding.

Other tips from the Grateful Glamper include:
  • A spill proof water bowl is a must and can be used by all of the pets.
  • A top entry litter box helps prevent littler tracking and keeps the dog from nosing around the cats’ business.
  • Know where your cats are before you put the slides in or out!
  • Know where the closest emergency vet is located. VCA has a network of veterinary hospitals in 46 states and five Canadian provinces.
  • Get a Waggle RV Pet Temperature Monitor. The system sends texts or emails with alerts about any potentially unsafe conditions for your pet. The best part is no Wi-Fi is needed since it uses cellular data.
  • Bring Fido is a great website that will help you find dog-friendly locations.
  • Identify and close any interior “holes” that cats might be tempted to explore.

“We learned the last tip the hard way. After a day of travel, we pulled into our campground and heard a faint meow. KitKat had found a gap at the front of the RV and had been sitting on the generator the entire time we were driving that day. She was just fine but it was another lesson learned,” says Charity.

Charity Devrie with cats KitKat, Scrappy; and dog, Alaska

Charity DeVries says the family’s three pets, cats KitKat and Scrappy and dog Alaska, are great travel friends for their two children Dakota and Trinity.

The Grateful Glamper has two YouTube videos on traveling with pets. The first video shares five tips for RV life with pets and the second includes 10 tips and products that make travel with pets easier.


Dog Tips from Gaston and Sven’s Dad

Scott and Sophia Murray have owned a 2016 Holiday Rambler Endeavor® 40DP for a little more than a year. The Murrays, along with Golden Retrievers Gaston and Sven and their cat Holly Hox, plan to start full-time RVing this July. To follow Gaston and Sven on their travels, check out GastonTheGolden on Instagram.

The Murray’s tips include:
  • Know your dog and what their tolerances are. Remember, your dog is now traveling and being introduced to new experiences and situations they’re not familiar with.
  • Take time to train your dogs. If they’re not well behaved at home, they definitely won’t be well behaved in new environments.
  • Know how your dog interacts with new people and new dogs. Don’t assume every person or dog you encounter is nice and wants to have a positive interaction with your dog.
  • If your dog is aggressive or reactive, don’t create situations that will put them in close contact with other dogs. You should also be sure to over communicate your need for space from others.
  • Plan activities that include your dogs.
  • Make sure you’re up to date on vaccinations, flea and tick protection, and heartworm prevention. Bring documentation from your vet just in case you need to provide it to a campground.

“If your dog is allowed on your couch or bed at home, plan for that in your motorhome,” says Scott. “Gaston and Sven love to sprawl out on the floor wherever we are, whether that’s at home or in the motorhome. Because of that, we made sure we found a motorhome with a king bed, expandable sectional couch, and opposing slide outs. We didn’t want to feel like we were constantly walking through an obstacle course when we were traveling with them.”

The Murrays cat Holly Hox and two Goldens Gaston and Sven

The Murrays plan to start living full time on the road this July with their cat Holly Hox and two Golden Retrievers, Gaston (middle) and Sven (rear).


Cat Tips from Wendy Gaynor

At age 72, Wendy Gaynor is happily traveling the country solo in her 43’ American Eagle® luxury motorhome from American Coach along with her three cats—Cleocatra, Zipper, and Miranda.

Gaynor’s tips include:
  • Microchip your pet. If a cat gets out at a fuel stop or a campground, the microchip may be the only way to identify the kitty at a shelter if he or she is lost.
  • When entering or leaving the motorhome, stomp your feet or make some sort of noise to make sure the cats aren’t at the door waiting to bolt out.
  • Consider a collar with bells on it so you can find your cats more easily when they’re moving around the RV.
  • When you’re getting ready to travel, give them plenty of water but just a little bit of food.
  • When traveling, remember that cats are not tourists. They do not need to see the scenery and would rather be in their own small, cozy space. Make their cat carrier warm and inviting by putting a towel or blanket in it.
  • It’s not safe if a cat runs across the dash or is trying to sit on your lap while you’re driving so a cat carrier is the best place for them when the coach is in motion.
  • Stop every few hours. Give your cats some attention and time to use the litter box and drink their water.

Dog Tips from the Adventurtunity Family

The Adventurtunity Family has been on the road full time since September 2020 in a 2017 Holiday RamblerVacationer® 36H. The family includes mom Kristi, dad Spencer, five-year-old son Kade, and Ruko Blu, an 18-month-old Golden Retriever.

The Adventurtunity Family’s tips include:
  • Always double check that campgrounds are pet friendly. Most are but some don't allow big dogs or dogs at all.
  • Check the dog rules for national and state parks in advance since you may need to leave your fluffy friend at home. There’s an NPS app or visit the NPS website for all the details.
  • On travel days, keep everything your pet needs within easy access.
  • Invest in a collapsible impact crate that can be easily stored flat when not in use.

“Some people may be apprehensive to travel, especially full time with a large dog, but our Vacationer provides us ample space to all live comfortably,” says Kristi. “We put Ruko’s water and food bowls under the dinette and we store his food and treats in one of the large drawers under the dinette couches. We have a large bed for him in front of the fireplace and even have room for a 40" collapsible crate that we can put in the front or back of the coach.”

LEFT: Five-year-old Kade Stevens and 18-month-old Ruko Blu are best buds and travel full time together in a 2017 Holiday Rambler Vacationer® 36H. RIGHT: Kade Stevens and Ruko Blu snuggle together in front of the electric fireplace in the family’s 37’ Vacationer.

What are your best RV pet travel tips? Reach out and let us know!

About REV Recreation Group, Inc.
REV Recreation Group, Inc. is a REV Group® subsidiary and a leading manufacturer of Class A Gas and Diesel recreational vehicle brands. This company has one of the best and longest standing distribution networks in the industry and boasts some of the industry’s most recognized and iconic brand names such as American Coach®, Fleetwood RV®, and Holiday Rambler®. Headquartered in Decatur, IN, which is also its principal manufacturing location, it operates two state-of-the-art service and repair centers and a genuine parts online warehouse.


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