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Introducing a New Pup into a Full Time RVing Family

Vanessa Russell of The Adventure Detour: Have we completely lost our minds? Probably so. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to get a brand new puppy while you’re traveling in an RV? Well, in this episode, you’re about to find out. One thing that we said we would never ever do as full-time RVers of nine years is get a pet while we were traveling. And you may wonder, “Why not? Pets are amazing, right?” It’s just because we didn’t want it to limit our ability to travel, to go on the fly, to leave the RV and stay in a hotel if we wanted, to hop on a plane and go home and visit. Pets are a big responsibility, and so we just really didn’t want to add that to the mix, and we always said we would never do it. But obviously, we did, so how did that happen? Our daughter was pining over getting a puppy, she begged and begged and begged, and despite saying no for years and years, I saw this guy’s photo online and knew I had to have him. So I said, “Let’s get a small RV dog,” right? “A little RV dog, so how about a French bulldog,” right? “They get maybe 25-28 pounds, perfect size for an RV.” Yeah, so we go get him, he’s probably the biggest, record-breaking French bulldog ever, he’s almost 40 pounds, and they said, “Get a long-haired Frenchy. They’re rare and really beautiful,” they say, right? Just kidding, I don’t know who said that, I don’t even know who they is, but we did get the long-haired version, and wow, he sheds like crazy. But you know what? Through all of it, he is the perfect dog for our family, he’s not a laid back couch potato like we thought, he’s not small like we thought, he’s not non-shedding like we thought, but he’s absolutely perfect for us.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes you think one thing and life completely flips it the other way? He’s the perfect example, he’s the member of our family that we just didn’t even know we needed until we had him. So, this is Oliver, and through our travels with Oliver so far, we’ve learned three important things that we feel like all RVers that travel with pets should have, and so here’s our three tips for you.

Tip number one, carpet your RV stairs. Now, why do I say that? Most RV stairs are metal, and they’re slick, and they get hot, so they can burn your pet’s paws going down them in the summertime when you’re facing the sun, and it’s a traction issue. So, what we quickly found out with him– and who wants to carry a 40 pound dog in and out of the RV, right? Not me, not multiple times a day, potty training– is that he was scared of our stairs because the metal stairs had quite a bit of gap in between each rung, and so he was scared and he wouldn’t go up and down the stairs. So, we found, by carpeting them, and the help of some really good dog treats, that we could lure him up the stairs, and he was fine with it as soon as we carpeted it. So the carpet on the stairs is great for traction and protecting your pet’s paws.

The second item that’s really helpful for all pet parents when you’re RV traveling is to get some kind of pet seatbelt for your traveling companion. Now, we actually have a car seat for Oliver that is an enclosed seat that attaches to his collar and then attaches to the seatbelt in the back of our truck. That sounds a little bougie, right? That sounds like high maintenance pet parents, but it’s not really for that at all, it’s actually for safety, because if you’re hitting the brakes hard in your RV or in your truck, or you were to, you know, happen to get into an accident, your pet can become a projectile, right? Which could harm them, but they could also harm one of your family members, so it’s just safest to keep your dog restrained either in a kennel, or in some kind of seat or in a seatbelt when you’re on the road traveling with your pet.

Item number three is something we never considered until after we got him. We got Oliver in the summer in Florida. Wow, I don’t recommend that, by the way, it’s hotter than blazes and we’re trying to potty train a dog in 100-degree weather in Florida in the summer, yeah. But what we did learn about that is that your pets really needs to be protected temperature-wise when you’re gone exploring. So, if you leave your pets in your RV and you go out exploring, what were to happen If you were to lose power while you’re gone? I mean, that could be a nightmare. In 100-degree weather like we were dealing with in Florida, it wouldn’t take long for them to get in trouble. So the third item is to get some sort of pet temperature monitor that can alert you via your phone, on a text or an email, if you were to lose power in your RV or even if it just gets too hot. So, we set a certain temperature threshold, and if the inside of our RV gets above that threshold, it sends us a text message. And so those are three things that I think any pet owner needs when you’re traveling in an RV, even if you have a lizard or a bunny or something more exotic than a dog, right? You still need to protect them from the heat and for power loss.

But ultimately, we love this little guy and we’re glad he became, you know, part of our family. Scott Russell: Yeah, we can’t imagine travel, we don’t even remember traveling without him. Venessa: It’s like he’s always been with us, even though we went nine years without him on the road, so it’s really been a blessing and a perfect fit. So, now I’m curious, do you travel with your pets in your RV? announcer: Learn more about RV family life and adventures at The Adventure Detour.