Camping is a wonderful experience for the whole family!
This pet-friendly lifestyle allows people and their furry companions to be together in the comforts of their own space while traveling or staying on-site.
While your pet is enjoying the camp-life and great outdoors, keep these possible dangers in the back of your mind so they stay safe and out of harm’s way.
Bringing Your Pet Along? Watch Out for Common Pet Dangers when RVing
Traveling in a vehicle can be stressful to a pet. While there’s soothing and calming remedies out there– from calming sprays, to stress relieving supplements, anxiety jackets and more– be sure to pass it by your veterinarian before giving your pet any calming remedy for travel.
Not only that, but pets can get motion sickness too! Create a secure and comfortable traveling area, perhaps with a familiar blanket from home and a favorite toy. Also, have water available for travel stops. A no-spill dish like the Road Refresher or Highwave AutoDogMug works great on the road.
For extremely antsy or stressed out riders, talk to your veterinarian to determine what the best option for your pet may be. Keep in mind, although you want your pet to tag along, it may be best for them to stay safe and comfortable at home with relatives or a caring sitter for this trip.
Down the Road Danger
Excited riders bouncing around the vehicle is NOT safe for you, your pet, or anyone else on the road. Ideally, your pet should be secured in the backseat or in a crate —not in the passenger’s seat and never on the driver’s lap. This can cause distractions and loss of control, posing a huge safety risk.
Secure your roadside companions with a tether like the Mighty Paw Dog Seat Belt, preferably attached to a harness rather than a collar. (In the event of any sudden breaking or sharp turns, a harness will be safer on your pet than a collar.)
The K&H Travel Carrier is another travel option to keep your pet contained and comfortable during the ride.
Climbing Aboard Assistance
RV steps can be steep, making it hard for your pet to safely climb in or out. After all, your pet may be climbing or jumping into a camper or vehicle more than usual on a road trip.
Consider having a pet ramp for travel. A ramp can make access easier for pets so that jumping doesn’t take such a toll on their joints or backs. This one features a textured surface and folds in half when not in use for storage.
As much as I hate to put the thought in your head– you must be warned… Travel trailers and motorhomes have nooks and crannies when the slides are either deployed or retracted. Pets may like to hide in these small “cave-like” spaces. But be careful. Slide-outs are extremely powerful mechanisms destroying anything in their way. Always make sure to visually see your pet the entire time deploying or retracting RV slide-outs.
Germs Germs Everywhere
Ever notice how many campers bring along their pets? A lot!
With so many pets in one area, it is very important to get your pet vaccinated, keep vaccinations up to date, and always keep their current records with you. (Many campgrounds require proof of vaccinations upon arrival.)
Kennel cough, canine influenza, and intestinal parasites can be easily transmitted through shared parks, pet relieving areas, and communal water bowls. Accordingly, dogs playing near one another can also spread fleas and ticks. Be sure to administer flea and tick medication routinely and do a tick check before returning home.
Investigating the Site
Odds are, you’ll be rolling into a campsite recently occupied. The first thing your pet will probably want to do is investigate their new and exciting surroundings! Before letting your pet outside the camper, first do some investigating yourself. Make sure the site is clean from trash, food, bones from a leftover cookout, or other pet droppings that could make them ill or harm them.
Run Away Pet
It can be easy for a pet to slip away or out of the camper, especially as often as you or the family goes in and out of the camper when onsite. (I sure know our camper door is ever-revolving!) In this case, have a collar on your pet with your contact info– just in case they are to get loose. In fact, Go Tags can be customized and come in many different forms; stainless steel, slide on, glow in the dark, and in different colors.
It’s also wise to have a current printed photo with a pet description on hand. A photo can be used to quickly share with the campground office and to make copies notifying other campers of a lost pet.
With a considerable amount of animals sharing the same turf, it can become an area of potential altercation. Always, always, ALWAYS keep your pets leashed!
You’ll typically find that most pet owners are respectful and courteous of you and your pet’s space. Yet the camping season brings a wide range of different animals… and humans… From time to time, you may run into other pet owners or dog lovers who might push campsite boundaries or pet space. Don’t be afraid to politely tell other campers not to pet your dog or bring their dog right up to yours for a “meet and greet” if your dog is displaying nervous or anxious behavior. A bandana or harness may help in keeping others at a comfortable distance so that your pet can become acclimated to the new camping experience.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning & Fire
Carbon monoxide gas is invisible, odorless, and can be deadly. RV campers and their pets could potentially be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning if proper ventilation is inadequate or appliances need repairing. As a result, the invisible gas can fill the size of a camper fast. It is crucial to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your RV. (In fact, it’s not a bad idea to have an extra plug-in as backup, like the Kidde Detector Plug-In.)
Likewise, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that 2,000 RV fires occur every year. After all, RV’s are like compact houses. This means there’s a lot of electrical, mechanical, and household appliances in close quarters along with gasoline, propane, bonfire supplies, firewood, and other combustibles nearby. For this reason, it’s necessary to have regular maintenance and safety checks performed by a service professional. Be sure to test your smoke detector, ensure your RV’s carbon monoxide and propane detectors are properly functioning, and have fire extinguishers on board. Also, ensure the RV power cord is connected to shore power properly and in good working condition.
These Pet Inside Finder Stickers can be lifesaving to have on windows or RV doors. In case of an emergency, others will quickly know how many pets there are inside the camper.
Camping involves spending a lot more time in the great outdoors. In this case, be mindful of extreme temperatures harming your pet. Never leave your pets outside, especially alone, for long periods of time. Always have water and shade available. The YETI Boomer Stainless Steel Dog Bowl is a durable, rust-resistant dog bowl– perfect for outside use. To combat the hot sun, the Zooba Outdoor Portable Dog Bed keeps your pet off the hot ground and shaded. Speaking of hot, remember to feel the cement before taking your pet on a long walk as hot surfaces can burn their paws.
It doesn’t take long for camper units to heat up or cool down just like our everyday vehicles do. Power outages, electrical surges, or cutting shore power to your RV can cause the temperature to quickly reach dangerous levels for pets inside. When temperatures are warm enough to need AC, take caution about leaving your animals alone in the camper.
Thankfully, there are monitoring systems out there created to give you peace of mind, like:
- Waggle RV/Dog Safety Temperature & Humidity Sensor
- MarCELL Cellular Temperature/Humidity Monitor
- Temp Stick Remote WiFi Temp and Humidity Sensor
Poisonous Plants & Dangerous Animals
Poisonous plants and animals differ from state to state. With this in mind, know what to watch out for at your destination. If you’re unfamiliar with an area, upon arrival ask the campground registration desk what to look out for– for you and your pet, such as poisonous plants or animals.
Additionally, never let your pet off leash or out of sight when walking or hiking trails. In the matter of seconds, a pet can take off after an animal or eat a poisonous plant. A secure, comfortable harness and a hands-free leash (if you’d like both hands free for exploring) will help keep your pet at your side while enjoying the exciting outdoors.
Camp Activities & Excursions
Odds are, your pet will find themselves tagging along on new excursions. While it can seem so easy with the coolest pet companions to get up and go, it’s important to be prepared for them– the best we can.
For water related activities make sure to have a pet flotation device, like EzyDog’s. For cold temperatures, keep pets warm with a jacket— the Helios Blizzard Jacket is meant to withstand the harshest weather conditions. Additionally, when out and about, bring a portable water bottle, a good quality leash, and of course, don’t forget the poo bags!
TIP: One of the first things you should do after arriving and getting set up at a new campground, is locate a nearby vet (preferably with 24 hour emergency services). Save the contact information in your phone or write it down in the event your pet needs quick, medical attention.
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RVING IS BEING together – pets and all.
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