Last week we asked our Question of the Week; “How do you keep your pet comfortable and safe when you go truck camping?” Here’s part two of your responses.
“Dear Angela – We are Spicy Rose and Geisha Rose Cat Kelly. Our person mentioned you were seeking advice on keeping your pet comfortable and safe when truck camping. Since we began truck camping about a year ago at age fifteen, we have decided to pass along our tips.
First of all, make sure your person carefully introduces you to the camper. Spend a bit of time helping your person put things away, making sure there is plenty of cat food, treats, and litter. Best to lounge on the bed, which is always a very safe place to be, and watch carefully.
Second, be sure your people prepare a comfy place for you to ride. Our persons bought us a Pud Pod (it’s actually a doggie play yard, but don’t tell the Girls. sk). The Pud Pod is a six-sided canvas and net container with a net top that zips on and off. If you want to see it, here is the url: http://www.precisionpet.com/detail.aspx?ID=138
Our Pud Pod is big enough for us to move around comfortably. It is on a soft, folded blanket on the backseat floor rack of the truck cab. When it is time to travel, our persons put us in the Pud Pod, zip the top, and cover the top with our fuzzy blanket so we can hide. There is a puppy training-pad inside in case we have an accident or get sick, but that is rare. Sometimes we like to come out and have some lap time, but mostly not. The view out of the window is scary! We don’t have a pass-through in our rig so we don’t know about that.
Third, go to your vet (ugh, we hate doctors!) and get a little something to take the edge off the first day or two of driving. No use getting carsick or hoarse. On our first trip, we drove for two days then stopped for several to camp. Camping was nice and helped us adjust to traveling. When we drove on we didn’t need any medicine.
Fourth, when we’re at the campsite, our persons carry us from the truck to the camper. We can use our box (it is in the shower stall), or grab a snack or drink (food and water dishes are on a plastic pet mat under the dining table) on our way to the cab-over bed. Now we can supervise our people and enjoy the (non-moving) views out of the windows. Our camper has padded benches below each window that are just perfect for kitties to sit on and look out.
Our persons usually camp after five to six hours of driving. If they don’t, we yell at them to remind them it is time to stop.
I’m Spicy Rose and I’m very curious about the outside, but I don’t want to be outside on a leash. We cats generally like to explore but on our terms where we can be under things for safety. My sister does not like to explore!
Last, even though we don’t like to go out on leashes, Mom insisted that we learn about the camper steps. She put our harnesses and leashes on, took us outside and helped us climb up into the camper and then the truck. Now we know if we got outside, the steps are the way to get back to safety. We have to practice every time we go on a trip.
Our people are really glad we’re good travelers. Old dogs may not be able to learn new tricks but old cats certainly can. We are experienced Camper Cats.”
Michael and Sherrie Kelly, Spicy Rose Kelly, Calico Cat, Geisha Rose Kelly, Calico Cat
2006 Ford F-350, diesel, DRW, crew cab, 4X4
2006 Bigfoot 25C10.6
“Camping with house rabbits brings us a lot of attention, from young to old, at whatever campground we stay in. When traveling, Miss Ivy and Mr. Pepper ride in a cage in the extended cab portion of the truck situated so I can see and talk to them as we travel. The cage is lined with baby quilts so they are very comfortable.
When at the campsite, the rabbits are never left alone in their outside pen. As they are a prey animal, I am not about to provide someone a free lunch. When staying in our Bigfoot truck camper, Miss Ivy gets the front of the camper with her litter box on the floor by the step up to the bed. Mr. Pepper gets the back half of the camper with his litter box next to the back door. As there is just the three of us, I have no problems maneuvering around the litter boxes, food, and water bowls.
The only problem we have ever had was staying at Patapsco Valley State Park in Maryland. After setting up our campsite, the Park Ranger stopped and informed me that rabbits were classified as livestock and as such were not allowed in the park. After negotiations we were allowed to stay but the rabbits could only come out of the camper after dark so no one would see them.”
Miss Ivy, Mr. Pepper, and Rich Balling
“Hi Angela. It seems that when we see another camper, we see pets! We travel with two Maltese; the small one is Buttons and the larger one is Dozer. They are well traveled dogs and they get very excited when we start loading the camper with lots of running and jumping.
We have an expanded cab truck, so the back bench belongs to the dogs. We set two crates in the back and have fresh water between the front seats. Our dogs seem to like the confinement of the crates and they pop up in the front from time to time to keep an eye on us. When we are traveling, we stop every couple of hours and walk the dogs for exercise and potty time.
Heat is a problem for dogs. In real hot weather, we don’t leave them in the truck without the air conditioning running. If we plan to be out of the truck, say for lunch, we’ll put them in the camper with the windows open and try to park in the shade. We carry a folding wire pen that we attach to the ladder. This makes a nice four foot by four foot pen and they can be outside without being tied up.
It’s important to keep plenty of fresh water at all times because they seem to drink more while traveling. When we are set up in a campground, we have air conditioning if needed and the dogs have the run of the camper. On cold evenings it’s nice to have a couple of warm dogs in bed with us.
All in all, we enjoy camping with our dogs and so do lots of other campers. It’s always fun to take the dogs for a walk around the campground and talk to other pet owners.”
Jim and Judy Holyfield, Buttons and Dozer
1994 Ford F-350 gas
1991 Hornet Camper
“Hi guys. I mostly travel with a 118 pound five year old black lab, but lately I have been having my daughter’s four pound Chihuahua. The lab takes most of the back seat of the crew cab, while the little one either is sleeping on my lap or her bed. I have a anti-spill dish for their water that they both share. In the camper, the lab goes on her bed on the floor. Once I put him up in bed and thought he would share, but he hogged the whole thing. The little one goes up in the bed and it is no problem.
If it’s cool out, I will leave them in the truck with all of the windows down two to three inches with the sunroof raised from the rear. If it’s hot, I will put them into the camper with the generator and air conditioner going.
Both dogs are well behaved and will stay by me and the camper unleashed (when allowed).”
Don Kingfield, black lab, Joey and chihuahua, Lola
2008 GMC 2500 HD Duramax, crew cab, 4X4
2008 Lance Loaded 861
”We do not travel with pets, but our neighbors during our last outing had a unique way of handling the situation. They had a wire cage they assembled on the ground, and placed their two small dogs in it. This gave the dogs fresh air, sunlight and the ability to bark at anything that moved within sight of their camper until their owners came back at days end.”