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RV Road Trip Tips for You and Your Dog

"We are never in any particular hurry when we go on our road trips"

Tips on going on an RV road trip with your dog

By Jack Payton

When my wife and I fire up the RV for our weekend excursions, Mortie’s ears perk up and his tail begins wagging feverishly.

He knows we’re going on a trip!

Mortie loves going camping – getting away from the mundane routines and familiarity of our suburban backyard is a treat he looks forward to almost as much as Jennifer and I. It’s important to all of us that we get away from the daily grind as often as possible, so we go camping at least a once a month between April and October.

And while enjoying the fresh air and abundant flora and fauna of the great outdoors is something that suit’s Mortie’s natural disposition, such was not originally the case when it came to hopping into the 1993 Beaver Contessa and going for a six or eight hour drive.

And when we hop into the Beaver for our annual two-week multi-state driving tour, poor Mortie initially didn’t understand why we seemed so tethered to our vehicle, and more upsetting to him was that he himself had to be tethered on a leash when we arrived at the RV Park. He was used to being able to run free with Mother Nature when we got to our destination!

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So Jennifer and I began looking into ways that we could ensure that our beloved retriever had a more enjoyable ride aboard the vehicle, and had a better time once we reached our destination. The goal was to ensure that all of us had a safe and comfortable trip – because if Mortie was anxious or gloomy, my wife and I didn’t have a very good time either.

But with proper planning, a few precautions and a little bit of time to allow Mortie to adjust, he’s come to enjoy both the ride and the visits to various RV parks throughout the western United States.

So here are a handful of tips that we’ve picked up over the years that you can incorporate to improve the RV experience for you and your dog:

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  • After a careful consideration, we decided not to crate Mortie up during our rides, instead allowing him to roam freely – with the exception of a makeshift gate that keeps him from hopping into my driving cabin. We recognize that there is a safety risk here; animals will be more likely to avoid injury in the event of an accident if they are safely harnessed. We certainly would understand that others will err on the side of caution here, but we’ve decided to make Mortie’s comfort and enjoyment of the trip the priority, so we’ve sacrificed a bit on the safety side. This is a determination that the individual dog owner will have to make for themselves and their pet.
  • We are never in any particular hurry when we go on our road trips, so we make sure that we make frequent stops to allow Mortie to run around and “use the bathroom”. Mortie gets restless if he can’t burn off some energy every couple hours, so we plan on stopping often – rest areas are generally great places to let your dog wander around for five or ten minutes.
  • When we were first getting Mortie used to long road trips we made sure to bring some items familiar to him – his blanketchew toys, etc. – so he would feel more comfortable and less out of his element.
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  • For our own sake, we make sure that we bring along a comfortable dog bed for Mortie for when he wants to lay down. Now this doesn’t always keep him off of the RV furniture, so Jennifer made some slip covers that can be removed and washed periodically. We also make sure we have a doggy vacuum handy at all times to quickly sweep up dog hair that can begin to accumulate quickly.
  • We make sure to do our due diligence when selecting RV Parks to stay at. We make sure to choose one that is at least near an area where Mortie can run around a bit. Most reputable RV Parks have leash policies – and this is a good thing – so we want to make sure we aren’t too far from a place where our dog can get some exercise. We also look for RV parks that have a policy against aggressive dog breeds, as Mortie can be far too trusting and friendly around other dogs, and we’ve heard horror stories about travelers and their pets getting mixed up with the wrong kind of mutt at the RV park.

About The Author

Jack Payton is a car nut in the purest form. He loves to write about everything gear related, and rebuilt his first engine at 15. He works as a freelance writer for the online tires retailer http://www.tires-easy.com. In his spare time he enjoys family road trips, attending car shows, and tossing the Frisbee to his dog, Mortie.

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