Like many RVers, we have an interspecies household. RVing with pets is wonderful! In fact, our two dogs and two cats have become master travelers. Although we love them all dearly—and they seem to enjoy exploring new areas—when it comes time to relocate, they really don’t get a vote. Of course we always try to keep them comfortable and happy, but when we move from one extreme climate to another, they don’t understand and it can be a bit of shock to their systems. Pets aren’t entirely able to convey how they’re feeling, so you should attempt to keep your pets with you, as much as possible. This way, you can regulate the temperature and monitor their conditions to make sure they aren’t too hot or too cold. As you travel from one climate to another, take your pets out for short walks at every stop. This will help them begin to gradually adjust to the changing temperature. In my experience, it takes older pets about a week to 10 days to acclimate and younger animals adjust even quicker. Here are few things you can do to ease their transition. When Moving from a Warm Climate to a Colder One
Depending on the thickness of your pets’ coats, they may need to wear a sweater or jacket to keep them warmer, especially when going out. If your dogs are used to long walks or your cats enjoy exploring outside on their own, you will want to limit their exposure until they become used to the lower temperatures. Since it is much more difficult for them to warm back up when they’re wet, dry them off when they come back in the RV. Place them near a heat source and rub them vigorously with towels or blankets.
Chances are they, won’t exactly mind coming back inside, but you’ll need to supplement their outdoor exercise with indoor activities. Wrestle or play Tug of War with your dogs and let your cats chase jingle balls or pin lights. This also serves the purpose of helping them warm up from being out in the cold. Also, make sure they have adequate bedding. Even in a fully-heated RV, the floor can get very cold in frigid temperatures. If you aren’t comfortable walking barefoot, don’t expect Fido’s fur to keep him warm all night. Thick blankets and cushions allow him to sleep in whatever manner works best.
Moving from a Cold Climate to a Warmer One
Moving from a cooler environment to a warmer one may be even more difficult on your pets than the reverse. You can always put a jacket on them and provide additional bedding, but you can’t make it less humid. The only thing you can do is make them as comfortable as possible as their bodies adjusts to the changes. Make sure you acclimate your pets to your new climate gradually. For example, take your dogs for short walks during the day and longer walks in the evening to get them used to all of the new temperatures. Gradually increase the length of the walks and try to stay near the RV so they can go back inside if they begin to have difficulty. If you let your cats out, just be vigilant so you can let them in when they’ve had enough.
Make sure to brush your pets regularly to help them lose their “winter” coats as quickly as possible. This helps them make the transition more quickly than they could on their own. Also, consider dousing your dogs to cool them off on the hottest days, at least until they’re used to the warmer climate. It might also be a good time for a trim, particularly for long-haired dogs.
Having adequate access to water can mean the difference between relative discomfort and an emergency trip to the vet. Providing constant access to water is essential for the safety of your animals. Keep in mind, not all campground water is potable and considered appropriate for drinking, so you might want to invest in a water purifier or gallons of bottled water for the trip.
One of the easiest ways to keep your dogs and cats comfortable is to make sure that the thermostat in your RV is adjusted to maintain a pleasant temperature in the areas they frequent. Make sure to provide plenty of water and consider feeding smaller animals a bit more when it’s cold. The health, safety, and comfort of your pet is nothing to play around with. You love your furry friends and by following these tips you can help them transition more easily when you relocate.