Whether you’re traveling overnight, for a long weekend, or taking off for months at a time, there are a few travel essentials that your pets will need for your road tip and a few comfort items they’ll appreciate you for packing. Here’s our checklist to make sure you don’t forget any of the necessities:
Food and Bowls – Pack your pet’s bowls and enough food for your trip, plus a little extra – just in case! We use dehydrated pet food from The Honest Kitchen because it’s light and easy to travel with – a ten-pound box rehydrates into forty pounds of food!
Expert Tip: Keep a small box of dehydrated food, water, and collapsible bowls in your car so you can feed your pet on the go. Fantastic day trips shouldn’t have to be cut short to make it home for dinner!
Medications and Supplements – Take enough of your pets’ medications and supplements to last the trip, plus a day or two. Crazy things happen and, if your stay gets extended, you don’t want to be running to the pharmacy.
Expert Tip: For travel to Canada, have all prescriptions refilled before crossing the border. Commonly used chains like Walgreens and CVS may not be easily available.
Medical Records – If your pet gets sick or injured, it’s a good idea to have his entire medical file with you. However, toting that pile of paper around is a pain! Instead, scan all your pet’s medical records to a USB drive that’s easy to pack.
Expert Tip: The one document you’ll want in paper form as well as on the USB drive is your pet’s vaccination record. You’ll need these at some campgrounds, at boarding and daycare facilities, and if you’re crossing the border to or from Canada with your pet.
Bedding – Some pets want to sleep in their own bed, while others prefer to curl up on the sofa or hop in bed with you! Depending on your pet’s desires, pack his bed or a sheet or blanket that you can use to cover any furniture where he might make himself comfortable.
Expert Tip: A full-sized fitted sheet fits perfectly on many RV sofas, and an old yoga mat rolled up and tucked down between the back and the seat keeps everything in place.
First Aid Kit – Accidents happen, and a well-stocked first aid kit will come in handy should you or your pooch suffer a minor injury.
Expert Tip: Knowing how to check your dog’s pulse, respiration, and temperature (http://blog.gopetfriendly.com/how-to-check-your-dogs-pulse-respiration-and-temperature/) is extremely helpful in emergency situations, or when your dog’s just not feeling himself, but you don’t know how serious his condition might be.
Treats – Ty and Buster have us well trained – if they’re expected to behave nicely in a new environment, we’re expected to reward them! Using a treat pouch that clips to your belt is a good way to make sure you always have the goodies handy.
Expert Tip: Dogs that eat dehydrated food (like Ty and Buster) don’t know that kibble isn’t a treat. Shhhhh! Purchasing a small bag of high-quality kibble to fill your treat pouch is a lot cheaper and healthier for your pup than buying treats.
Pet Restraints – The most important part of traveling with your pet is making sure you all come home together safely. You wouldn’t travel with a child unrestrained in your vehicle or motorhome, and the same should go for your pets! A seat belt harness or secured carrier will protect your pet in case of an accident, and also keep your pet from distracting you while you’re driving.
Expert Tip: The lap belts in your motorhome’s sofas are the perfect spot to buckle up your pup. For smaller pets, provide a cozy bed where they can curl up on the sofa and they’ll be comfortable for the whole ride.
Waste Bags – The most common reason pets are banned from public areas is because an irresponsible owner didn’t clean up after their dog. It’s a problem that can easily be rectified, so pack your waste bags and always pick up after your pet.
Expert Tip: Nothing is more frustrating than when people abandon their pet’s waste. When I see someone walking away from their duty, I casually offer them a waste bag from my roll – it works every time!
Walking Harness and Leash – A good walking harness and comfortable leash are musts if you’re planning to hit trail or looking forward to some urban hiking with your dog.
Expert Tip: A dog that pulls on the leash is no fun to walk! Try a no-pull harness where the leash attaches at the chest rather that at the back of the harness to reduce pulling and provide better control.
Remote Temperature Monitor – Being able to monitor the temperature inside your RV while you’re away could be the difference between life and death for your pets. A power surge, careless neighbor, or faulty wiring could cause your air conditioning to fail and the temperature inside to rise to dangerous levels. Having a monitor that will alert you when the temperature crosses the threshold you’ve set provides peace of mind when you’re away.
Expert Tip: Test any device you’ll use to monitor the temperature in your RV before relying on it to monitor your pets’ environment. On a sunny day, leave your empty car in the sun until it gets hot inside, then place the monitor in the car, close the door, and wait to see how long it takes for the text or email alert to arrive.
With those tips, you’ll have everything needed to make your next pet friendly road trip safe and fun. The only thing that’s left to do is gather your gear and hit the road! (The mode of transportation is up to you.)