RVING WITH PETS
Travelling with Four Legged Friends
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RV Living in the 21st Century
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Animals are such an important part of so many families - they also make great RVers. When we settle into a new destination ours can’t wait to get out the door to investigate the new smells, sights, sounds and interesting places to walk.
Each time we come home, they extend the warmest of welcomes with tails wagging and a jubilant greeting. Their contagious love and devotion is difficult to explain and they don’t ask for much in return, they simply want to be our friend. We may have dogs but all pets provide RVers with a sense of security plus they are warm understanding companions. Although, pets do tie you down at times, they also give your life a sense of purpose.
Pets welcome at RV Parks?
Generally yes, but we find park pet policies range from one extreme to the other. Approximately five states have rules prohibiting pets in their state parks. These restrictions are listed in the write-ups of each park in the large International Campground Directories. This information is also available from state tourist bureaus or local Chamber of Commerce offices. Frequently small animals (under 20 pounds) are welcome but we see pets of all types and all sizes strolling the campground roads and trails. A cat belonging to friends in Mexico loved to be tied outside for the entire day. Our American neighbour in Milton, Ontario was travelling with his pet cockatiel on his shoulder and en route north a few years ago an RVing neighbour was caressing his immense pet snake on his patio.
Although most parks don’t question pets, a few do charge a fee per pet while others prefer a costly refundable deposit if your site is clean when you leave. When we had three dogs - we found there was frequently a one or two-pets per RV restriction, but this may be negotiable if you talk to the manager. In our 19 years of fulltiming, John and I have encountered very few restrictions while travelling with our two dachshunds but we decided early in our travels when our pets are not welcome we don’t stay. We are fulltimers so our pets are fulltimers too. North America is a big place and there is always interesting destinations that understand the value pets are to RVers.
Q - Must pets be leashed at all times?
Yes even cats in campgrounds must be on a leash. Most parks insist that you clean up after your pets and if they are running loose you have no control. Our kids come from a show kennel and our previous two would only go potty if they were in an exercise cage. However when they were in their “playpen” our gentle babies quickly became ferocious ‘Guard Dogs On Duty’ if anyone approached.
- What preparation is necessary to travel to another country?
When we check into a new campground we make a mental note where the local animal hospital is located (as well as one for us) – just in case. All dogs and cats require an International Statement of Health from your vet along with a record of shots received.
Special conditions also exist for birds and other pets but your vet should be aware of applicable regs. Log onto www.inspections.gc.ca for more detailed info. It is also wise to carry a copy of their medical history for emergencies. During our winters in Mexico our pet’s papers were issued from our Canadian vet, however officials mainly were more interested to know if our dogs would bite? Routine rabies vaccine is frequently effective for a three years period although most vets recommend annual shots. When we asked Dr Allyson about this she recorded the expiration date on our certificate, plus she removed the label from the vial and pasted it onto the certificate. To enter Canada you only need a vaccination once every three years, but when heading south, if the expiration date is not on your rabies certificate it will be considered a 12-month vaccine. For easier travelling ask your vet to add the expiry date to their certificate.
Carry a supply of their special medicines, including heartworm pills, plus a copy of their prescription(s) with you. It is difficult to restock without costly examinations from a veterinarian who doesn’t know your animal. Be certain all pills (yours RX pills as well) are properly labeled before crossing any border. We keep all their treatment invoices and health papers together in a pet Passport folder we obtained from our animal hospital.
Fleas seem to be more of a problem in the warm sunny south. If your spray or treatment isn’t effective visit a local pet store or veterinarian to see what combats the resistant strain in that area. Don’t forget to treat their beds along with your RV furniture/carpets.
Q - Is it easy to buy dog food wherever you go?
Carry a good supply of your pet’s favorite food; it is possible but frequently difficult to find familiar brands as you move from place to place.
Note: In 2004 transporting pet food across the border can sometimes be a problem. If there is meat from hoofed animals in the pet food it may be confiscated. From time to time a poultry ban is also in place (See Travel To Canada www.rvliving.net/traveltocanada.htm - and Travel to the USA www.rvliving.net/TraveltoUSA.htm pages for latest info.)
Q How can we prevent our pets from getting lost?
Many RV Clubs sell Pet ID Tags. These tags have an 800# phone number on the back along with your pet’s name. Anyone finding a lost pet can phone the 800 # number. The owner also phones the number to report their location; hopefully both owner and pet will be united. Tags are also available with your name and address from pet hospitals and pet stores. One more way to find a lost pet is to have your veterinarian insert a microchip under their skin. Particulars of the owners can be read by any animal shelter and vet clinic – plus the pet can’t lose the chip like they can a tag.
It is sometimes difficult to understand park pet policies but remember we all pay for inconsiderate pet owners. To ensure you leave a good impression, ask yourself if you and your pets would be welcome back? And were you a responsible owner? Don’t worry about pet restrictions just work around them, take your kids on your next trip and simply have fun.
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Special Tip: Make some forms similar to the following for yourself. Fill one in each time you change destinations. Keep it with your driver’s license. If you have an accident in a vehicle away from your RV, rescue people will know immediately where your RV, maybe your mate and your pets are located.
This is a
copy of the notification we carry in our wallet - modify yours as
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