Traveling with Pets

Traveling with two cats and a dog is takes some extra effort to maintain their welfare on the road. Below, we’ll address some of the most common questions we get:

Why did you decide to take your pets?

Our pets had already been a part of our lives for years when we decided to build out the bus and travel on it. We definitely weren’t willing to leave them behind and taking them with us felt like a no-brainer.

How did your pets adapt to the bus?

All in all, both cats and dog had a pretty seamless transition to bus. Once introduced to the space, they accepted it readily and quickly went about claiming their favorite places to lounge. We’re not sure what sort of nuanced treaties they’ve negotiated with each other, but they coexist together in a small space without strife.

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view from under the bed.

Where do your pets ride while driving?

When we first designed the bus, we had built out two kennels underneath the bed for the cats to ride in. Our dog, we assumed, would ride in her own bed in the back of the bus. We thought these would be the best and most comfortable options for each of them. However, during our first road trip, all three pets showed us that they had different ideas.

img_20161018_142331712Cats

Despite doing our best to make the rear kennels as comfortable as possible, our cats hated riding in them and communicated their displeasure by meowing loudly and incessantly. Instead, we built out the dining room table into a collapsible pet crate, and they now ride in their beds inside of this kennel. Most drives they nap or lounge on a scratch pad.

Dog

Our dog didn’t care for riding in her bed, but instead prefers to lay on the couch during drives. Rather than fight this, we decided to embrace it and now the couch is her designated traveling spot. We installed an eye-bolt into the frame of the couch that enables us to hook her leash and harness to it, acting as a doggy-seat-belt. Now she’s unfazed by driving and spends travel days napping or looking out the window.

How do you find vet care on the road?

We primarily use Petsmart’s Banfield Pet Hospitals for our pets’ care. Because they’re a national chain of veterinary clinics, we can take our pets to any Banfield anywhere in the U.S. and know that they’ll be able to pull up our pets’ vaccine histories & medical records and deliver consistent services. (If only it were so seamless to find healthcare anywhere in the country as a human!) We’ve also used  Tractor Supply’s Low Cost PetVet Clinic for our annual vaccines.

Do campgrounds allow pets?

By and large, the answer to this question is, yes! In our experience, state parks, national forests, and BLM land are the most pet-friendly places. National parks do allow campers to bring pets, but often restrict where domestic animals can go within the parks.

Private RV parks can be more restrictive and may have limits on the number and type of pets permitted for guests. Quite a few have a two-pet limit and have breed-restrictions for dogs. Rules vary by location, but so long as you plan in advance, finding a place to stay isn’t often a problem.

What do I need to travel with my pet?

The most common rule at campgrounds is that pets are required to stay on-leash. Because of this, make sure your pet is used to walking on a leash before you start traveling. It took about two weeks (and a lot of patience) before our cats became comfortable walking on-leash.

Secondly, be sure to keep a copy of your pet’s current rabies vaccination certificate on hand (in addition to the collar-tag). This is required if you want to cross the border into Canada or Mexico, as well as by a number of state parks.

Thirdly, having an understanding of your pets behavior is essential to ensuring smooth travels. This might mean that you have to change habits depending on how they respond to new situations. If you’re not sure how your pet might react to strange sights & sounds, consider taking some short mini-trips or even completing basic obedience training before you start traveling extensively.

Welcome to cougar country

Welcome to (tiny) cougar country – taking the cats for a walk in the desert.

6 thoughts on “Traveling with Pets

  1. Carol says:

    Excellent information. You guys are on such an excellent adventure and your experience is going to be priceless to so many others. Now, When can we expect a full fledged published travel guide at Barnes & Nobles! I’m thinking Triple A travel club as well.

    Like

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