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One of the most important things to us are our girls, Hayley, Sophie and Piper the Cat (our nephew used to call her that and the nickname kinda just stuck). Part of the reason we chose travelling the US in Wanda, was so that the dogs and cat could come along for the adventure.
However, we knew that just like it would be for us, this new lifestyle would be a drastic change for them. But we also know their personalities, the dogs love to hike and all three of them love company and attention, something they didn't always get enough of when we lived at home because our jobs took us away from them. So, we hoped once they got over the shock of it all, they would really enjoy it.
Here are some tips we implemented to ensure that they made a smooth transition and continue to be happy and enjoy this life on wheels:
Introduce Them to Their New Environment Slowly.
Depending on your pet's personality, this might be an easy or hard transition. All three of our pets were really shy meeting Wanda. Like us, they had no experience with RVs and it was all very new for them. None of them cared for it too much when we first brought them inside, they were all very nervous.
So we continued to bring them in (separately and together) and slowly increased the amount of time and frequency, so they could start to feel more comfortable. We saw the biggest improvement when we started to renovate. Bringing them inside during the build helped immensely. As we made Wanda our own, they somehow felt the change and started to claim their own spots and were actually eager to come inside. After the major renovations, we started spending overnights in Wanda with them, bringing their toys and beds with us before we all officially moved in.
Give Them Their Own Space.
Just like humans, pets need their own space. Obviously living in an RV makes this a bit difficult. But try to establish some out of the way places for them to relax in. We have two beds for the dogs, one in the living area and another in the bedroom. The living room bed is either under the desk or under the dining table, both of these places are away from normal foot traffic but are open and comfortable. We put the other bed in the bedroom so they have choices and everyone isn't always on top of each other, unless they want to be.
We wanted to create a space for Piper that would also act as a bit of an escape. While she does love the dogs and rolls around and wrestle with them, there are times she has had enough and wants to be up high where they can't easily reach her. So, we figured the dashboard of the cab would be perfect. We keep her food and water up there and we had a window seat cushion made which she loves to lay on and enjoy the view. It is by far her favorite place in Wanda.
Address Any Motion Sickness or Nervous Travel Problems
Luckily, of our three, motion sickness was only a problem with Sophie. We have known since we got her, that she did not travel well. A roadtrip to the Poconos taught us that the hard way. So we spoke to our Vet who recommended we give her Dramamine before we drive with her. This worked great, she didn't get sick all over the place and was much happier. As we have been traveling a lot more in Wanda and in Walter (our Jeep), she has adjusted and within the last week we were actually able to stop giving her the Dramamine.
We have also found that when we are driving, both dogs do much better if we move the beds up by our seats. They are a lot calmer and generally just go to sleep.
One last tip about their food. Before we left, we realized that the brand of dog food we used was not readily available nationwide. We didn't want the stress of trying to find it while we were on the road, so we decided to switch to a different brand which most major pet stores carry. Just make sure you switch their food before you set off to make sure the dogs like it and don't have any negative reactions to it.
Having our pups and cat with us has added to the joy of RV living because we get to share the adventure with them. Making sure they are happy and healthy is a top priority.
Let us know how your pets transitioned in to RV Life and share your tips.
By Ashley and Kevin Quiambao
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