Motorhoming | Family Motor Coach Association
Owners: Chris and Nelson Davis, Madison, Wisc.
FMCA membership number: F268041 (joined in 1999)
Type of pet: two dogs
Breeds: a longhaired dachshund and a wirehaired dachshund
Names: Nugget (longhaired) and Mr. Tibbs (wirehaired)
Ages: 4 and 8
How often do your pets accompany you on motorhome trips?
Always. They go when and where we go. One reason we got the motor coach is so our dogs can be at home while traveling
What type of motorhome do you own?
A 37-foot 2000 Fleetwood Bounder Diesel
Do your pets have any favorite travel destinations?
Anywhere we go. They like to explore new places. I think the beach is one of their favorites, though.
What do you like best about motorhoming with your pets?
You and your dogs are at home while on the road. No matter where we go and how the scenery changes, their motor coach home is still the same. Same bed, toys, etc. It is their refuge and where their family is.
Was it easy for your pets to adapt to motorhome travel?
Both of our dogs took to it like a fish to water. The only problem we have with Mr. Tibbs is he loves to bolt out the door and explore. He is getting better at waiting until we say he can go out, and he is always on his leash. We have had Nugget since he was 11 months old and Mr. Tibbs since he was 7 years old.
Do your pets have a favorite spots in the motorhome?
When we are traveling they share a crate. We started out with individual crates but Mr. Tibbs kept sneaking into Nugget’s crate, so we tried them together and they have traveled that way ever since. When traveling in the car, they have their seat belts. As far as a favorite spot while parked, Mr. Tibbs likes his dog bed and Nugget likes the padded ottoman — that is, if they are not in the chair with one of us and on our laps.
What are your pets’ favorite toys?
The Wubba dog toy because it squeaks and has lots of tug-of-war space. They also like the hole ball that I put treats into. If something squeaks, is soft, and allows them to play tug-of-war with us or each other, they are happy. I have to keep an eye on Nugget because he loves to take the stuffing out of the toys while looking for the squeaker.
Have you modified your motorhome to accommodate your pets?
Not really. They ride in a pet crate while we are traveling and we have two dog beds for them. But we do have friends who have modified their coaches. One friend with birds bought a coach with bunk beds so she could have one bed made into a huge bird cage. Another friend, who has two cats, had a couch modified so two compartments could fit underneath: one for each cat.
What is your favorite activity to do with your pets while traveling?
If you mean while moving from point A to point B: Taking walks to explore the new area and stretch our legs. Taking breaks so they can get out of their crate and move around the coach.
If you mean while on our overall travel for the season, it is exploring new places. They enjoy a romp through the motorhome as we play fetch. They also like to run from one end of the motorhome to the other, and taking walks.
Advice for other motorhomers who travel with pets or are considering traveling with pets:
By all means get out there and go. Most pets are very adaptable to different places, especially when their HOME base remains the same.
I recommend keeping them in a crate, seat belt or safely confined while traveling, because you wouldn’t want your pet injured in an emergency. It also makes it easier to find your pet should you experience an emergency.
When you pack to go, take your pets’ familiar things with you so things remain familiar. If it is the first time getting ready to travel, let them explore your motorhome while you are getting ready. Encourage them to check things out. Bring in some of their things early so they can find familiar things and know they are included, just as you are bringing out your things. Also, feed them in your motorhome while you are having a snack so this, too, becomes familiar.
Consider using microchip IDs for your pets and have good identification on them in the event they bolt due to a sudden noise or wander off. Carry a copy of your pet’s vet records as a precaution.
I highly recommend keeping your pet on a leash, while outside, at all times. And never leave a pet alone in coyote country, because, yes, the coyotes will kill your pet.
Be a responsible pet owner and ALWAYS, always carry bags to clean up after your pet — it makes everyone happy. Above all, relax and your pet will relax. Enjoy the adventure and live your dream.
My husband and I went from a VW Microbus Camper to our 37-foot Bounder Diesel the year we retired. Following the advice of other RVers, we took off the fall of the year we retired and have been traveling ever since. We have always had dogs who usually come from the humane society or rescue shelters.
We love traveling this great country of ours and have spent 44 days on an RV tour of Mexico. We have also traveled to Alaska on our own, spending a month in Canada getting there, two months in Alaska and a month in Canada on the way back to the United States. That was a big year for us.
As you travel you meet many wonderful people and make some close and lasting friendships. You are never alone as an RVer. We broke down in the desert once, and within 10 minutes two fellow RVers had stopped to see what they could do to help. While in Key West a lady we met volunteered to watch the dogs so we could take a day cruise.
We met a lady who was writing a pet newsletter for Escapees RV Club members. When she retired last year I took over doing the newsletter. It’s called “Petlovers Birds of a Feather Group.” If anyone is interested in receiving it, they can e-mail me at [email protected].
Are you interested in participating in FMCA.com's Pet Spotlight? Send an e-mail to [email protected].