Would you go truck camping with six rescue dogs? How about five Dachshunds? Perhaps you would prefer an eighteen pound cat? You will find all of these pets, and mod-ch, mod-ch more in this week’s Question of the Week answers.
This week’s Question of the Week was, “What have you done to your truck camper to make it more pet friendly?”
“We have not had to change much in our camper for our five Dachshunds. Yes, you read that right, five Dachshunds. The main thing we add is steps on the step up to the cabover so they can get to the bed. Anyone who has Dachshunds knows that the bed is theirs and they tolerate us to sleep there as well.
Besides the steps, we have a water bowl with the travel type lid so there are no spills and then a fencing unit to corral the mutts while outside.” – Rich Bain, 1999 Chevy C3500, 2010 Adventurer 810WS
“We didn’t modify anything, but we – two adults, a dog, and a cat – spent three weeks together in our truck camper a year and a half ago when we were between houses. When on the road, the cat slept in the dog kennel in the pickup’s back seat. He was fine with riding as long as his dog was nearby (he usually howls like he’s being murdered).
The only problem was getting the cat to adapt to being on a leash in campgrounds. The litter box was on the shower floor because it was out of the way. There is a ceiling vent in the bathroom, and a door that closes.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050
“For our cat, Sheena, we removed a drawer and its hardware from under the dinette seat. Since this area was exposed to the storage space below, we enclosed the area.
I built a slide-out tray out of wood, painted it, applied many coats of polyurethane, and filled it with kitty litter.” – Don and Sue Graf, 2008 Ford F350, Arctic Fox 865
“We have made one major modification and several small adaptations to our rig for our four dogs that travel with us. The kids, er, dogs, range from 45 pounds and are growing to about 90 pounds, so they need some space.
I removed the back seat of our extended cab. Using slotted angle iron and plywood, I built a bench that is covered with high density foam pads and carpeting. This provides a large comfortable bench for the kids, a view out for them, and ready access to the window pass-through to the camper. It also provides us with well protected storage space underneath, and plenty of room for their treats and water while on the road.
With sliding windows on both the camper and truck, I built a boot to seal the opening. The gap was too wide for the inflatable ones. We keep the two sliding windows open 99% of the time.
When on the road, I keep one of the camper roof vents cracked to pull air from the cab through the camper. One of the kids, our old man, prefers the bench in the camper with his head in the opening. He gets a view out the front window, some space from the young’uns, and a breeze in his face, yet is still within easy reach for a treat. We try to keep the bench in the camper partially clear for the kids to use while driving. Although they get along, they do need some space when road weary.
I built a carpeted platform that slides into the trailer hitch receiver when camped. This provides a step for us and for the dogs to go in and out of the camper. While we can use the bumper to step on, they are unable to.
We also have a few decorations on the camper, including dog print stickers, to remind us of who is in charge.” – Bill Peters, 2013 Chevy Silverado, 2013 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“We keep the litter box for our camper cat, Spridgy, in the back seat space of our quad cab truck. I didn’t like any of the various pass-through window boots available commercially, so I made something myself.
I had some two-inch thick, medium density foam laying around and I cut four properly sized pieces to put into the pass-through window to cover the two sides, top, and bottom. When we stop to camp, I open both the camper and the truck slider windows and install the foam pieces. The pieces of foam fit tightly enough that they hold themselves in place.
Now our traveling cat can use his kitty commode in almost total privacy and his litter box is not in our way.” – Buzz and Sherri Merchlewitz, 1998 Dodge Ram 2500, 2015 Hallmark Ute
“We have six rescues. Thankfully, they’re all small. It still requires a lot of teamwork to herd them in and out of the camper. Michelle found a wonderful portable fence at a thrift store for $15. We take it everywhere. We set it up outside the camper door and the dogs accept the fact that if we all aren’t in the camper or walking them on a leash, they are in their pen. It has made life much more simple.” – Tony and Michelle Tabacchi, 1973 Ford F350, 1973 Ford American Road
“Two-thirds of our 2012 Ford F350 super cab’s backseat area is a dog bed for our black Labrador Retriever, Shadow. She has to put up with our black cat, Mondo, who can freely come and go into the camper through the sliding cab through window.
Mondo prefers to curl up with Shadow in the back seat floor space most of the time. Even though Mondo is fully leash trained for nice long walks in the great outdoors, we still have the hassle of the necessary cat litter box. It takes up space in the truck camper’s bathroom. Neither animal is allowed on the camper’s bed and both are very well trained travelers.” – Gary and Laurii Gadwa, 2012 Ford F350, 2011 Eagle Cap 950
“Our spoiled Weimanier, Toby Todd, enjoys and owns all of the area under the dinette for his total comfort. His dog bed consumes the entire area. When he is resting it is difficult for us to comfortably place our legs and feet to enjoy a meal. Of course he refuses to move.
Dog food is a storage problem. When traveling, we buy fifteen pound bags of dog food. For storage we use a five gallon sealed bucket. We then transfer the food into a large plastic coffee can that goes in the pantry. The bucket is then placed in the back seat of the truck.
Otherwise, Toby enjoys traveling and his dedicated space in the camper unaware of our discomfort!” – Warne Todd, 2000 Ford F250 , 2005 Lance Model 981
“Our camper has a set of standard fold-down metal steps with punched-out drain holes that are really common to a lot of campers and trailers. We had no idea they posed a danger to our pets until the day our Springer Spaniel, Chance, went running down the steps, caught his toenail in one of the drain holes, and ripped it completely out of his foot. He was in great pain.
It was several days before he could walk on it, and we knew we had to do something to prevent this happening again. We bought a roll (about $20.00) of four-inch wide anti-slip safety grit tape and used it to cover the holes in the steps. The tape has stayed on perfectly, the pets are safe, and we have found the steps are less slick for us. I wish we had thought to put it on before our dog got hurt.” – Audrey Ruccio, 2008 Ford F450, 2008 Host Everest
“Actually, we didn’t do any mods to the 2013 Lance 855S, which is good as space is at a premium. We have a Shih Tsu female and a Himalayan-Siamese male cat. Of course, dogs and cats will adapt anywhere.
For the cat, we placed the litter box under the table against the wall, and he is happy with that. We do separate their feeding dishes. They drink water from the same bowl. They both sleep on an existing carpeted platform next to the mattress, on separate sides.
I get a lick on the face in the middle of the night when Harley Girl needs to go out, as she is good at letting you know when its time. Both pets are compatible and grew up together so that makes it easy to co-exist.” – Mick and Andrea Vancas, 2012 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, 2013 Lance 855S
“Twenty years ago, I designed a balcony for my cat to go outside to sleep in the sun, sniff the wind, and indulge in serious birdwatching while safely protected from coyotes and dogs. Many cats later, and many RVs later, I am still using the same two cat balconies.
Outside the cabover windows I hang the 20-inch by 20-inch bottom drawers of a wire closet organizer on five picture hanger hooks nailed into studs. These hooks are rated to support 100 pounds each. I cover only the part of the window that opens and push the screen aside, being careful not to leave a gap at the slanted corner of the window where the cat could fall out.
To install the balcony, I just lift the basket up and slide its wide lip down into the picture hanger hooks. I cut a carpet scrap to cover the wire bottom for my cats to be comfortable so their feet don’t slip through the wire grid. At that time it cost $31.07 to make each balcony.” – Janet Carter, 2006 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2001 Sun-Lite 6′ Camper
“We have the scissor steps on the back door. We covered the metal steps with rubber drawer liner to keep our lab from slipping. It works great.
Our 80-pound, nine year old dog sleeps in the front corner of our queen size bed. She rolled off once and will not sleep near the edge any more. We have screens on three sides surrounding the bed and she loves the fresh air.” – John and Jody Herman, 2001 GMC 1500, 2008 Palomino Bronco pop-up
“I use hospital pads (blue quilted pads for under patients) left over from my late Dad on one side of the dinette. Jack knows he is to only get up on that side. He is a water dog (Irish Water Spaniel) and is frequently damp at the very least. The pads are sturdy, launder easily, and are just the right size to tuck around the cushions. They are also easily removed if humans are expected.
I had a temperature controlled Fantastic fan installed and bought a self-cooling pet pad which fits perfectly on the floor of the camper. I keep it in the shoe cupboard near the floor at the back door and simply unroll it down the hallway as I leave the camper.
With the exhaust fan set about 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the window between the cab and truck left open, and the truck window open a little, the camper stays a comfortable temperature. I have a Northstar window boot. The self-cooling pet pad takes care of a longer stop.
I also have a special water dish. It’s a rectangular shape, has a round drink and fill opening at one end, and built-in hard handle at the same end. It’s hard to describe, but you fill it up half-way. When you lay it flat, the dog can drink independently. Also a seat belt through the handle holds it firmly in the cab and, when transferring it to the camper or campsite, the water drops to the bottom and is easily carried. It’s a fabulous invention. It holds a lot of water, never spills, and he gets to drink whenever he needs to.
When I purchased my 2000 hard side truck camper this spring, I discovered that Jack can’t leap into the overcab. My previous Northstar TC800 had a thinner mattress and thicker cushions. So, I purchased a two inch flat lawn chair pad and I place that on the dinette in the evening – when he is dry of course!
My remaining challenge was the lower screen in the camper door. Any dastardly squirrels in the campsite or a dog walking by resulted in the screen being popped out. I looked at commercial screen protectors but thought them unsafe as they go on the inside and claws could get caught and damaged in the grills. So I found a sheet of plastic window pane and had it screwed on the door interior.
The last modification I am having installed is a propane and carbon monoxide monitor that will send a message to my cell phone.” – Michele McLeod, 2013 F 150 HD, 2000 Travel Hawk 9.5
“We travel with a eighteen pound cat that thinks he’s a dog. We keep him on a leash or run cable at all times when he is out doors.
The first thing I did to my truck was make a cover for the electric windows and door lock switches that are on the armrests. This solved the problem of him unlocking the doors when we leave him behind in the camper. He likes to put his front paws on the armrest and look out the window and we would come back from a hike and find the front of the truck unlocked. Or when we are on the road he will walk down the armrest to lay on the dash and roll the windows down on his way to the dash. The covers saved that problem.
When we get to camp, his food and water dishes go in the drivers foot well and the litter box goes in the passenger side foot well. With the pass through window, he can go up front when he wants and we don’t trip over his stuff in the back. We used to have dogs but love traveling with a cat. You never have to stop to let them do their duty.” – Mike and Nancy Pohl, 1999 Ford F150, 1985 American Pilgrim 8.5 Hard side
“Really, the only thing I’ve added is a good dog bed that rolls up and goes into a stuff sack. If I have to leave my dog, the Fantastic Fan, which I’ve added, keeps the interior nice and cool. With two 100 watt solar panels, I don’t ever worry about the fan draining the house batteries. In the last three years our dog and I have traveled to all of the lower 48 states.” – Al Stebbins, 2005 GMC 2500, Northern Lite 8-11 Queen Classic
“We have a yellow lab named Sarah. We set her bed on the floor between the front dinette seats. We put the ramp up and she goes right up into the camper to the bed. Under a cabinet overhang we have a K-9 non-spill water bowl. We built a platform that sits on the rear seat which has a larger bed for traveling.” – John Dorrer, 2013 F-250 Ford, 2014 FWC Grandby
“Our Lance has a slide. Our dog took over under the dining table in the slide. It works out great because he is out of the way when we move around the camper. We set it up with his bed and blanket under the table. He is an older dog and can’t jump in the camper and the truck anymore, so we bought a tri-fold ramp for him to get in and out of the camper and the truck.” – Erwin Greven, 2002 Chevrolet 2500HD, 2002 Lance 921
“I built a boot out of foam covered with Sunbrella fabric that goes between the camper and the truck cab. This allows my cat, Momma Kitty, to go between the camper and truck when going down the road, and when stopped for the night. It has worked great for over 12,000 miles since February 2015.” – Dave Scobie, 2007 Toyota Tundra, 2014 Outfitter Caribou Lite 6.5
“To accommodate Riley, our rescued husky mix, we need to always bring her camp chair. We set up her chair between ours and she joins the gathering.” – David and Vicki Weaver, 2009 Dodge Ram 3500, 2006 Lance 845