One of the hardest things about packing up the motorhome and going on holiday is leaving our pets behind. After all, pets can make for tricky travel buddies. Cats and dogs are territorial and cats can struggle in an enclosed space with a dog where they cannot escape. Should they fight while on a trip, it can lead to the two pets becoming permanently unhappy with one another, even after returning home.
Fortunately, it is possible to train cats and dogs to respect each other’s space. With some preparation and training, your next road trip can be even more enjoyable with your pets along for the ride.
Train your pets
James Wellbeloved, pet food experts from the UK, has dispelled the notion that dogs and cats cannot cohabit. On the contrary, they can become the best of friends, provided they are introduced carefully and your home is setup so your dog respects your cat’s boundaries, and so your cat has somewhere to sleep, eat and go to the toilet where the dog cannot reach.
This same training can be applied before traveling, though it needs to be done more attentively. After all, if your pets are going to be traveling in a motorhome for long periods, your dog needs to know it is not okay to disturb the cat, just as it is important to keep the cat’s important belongings (bedding; food and water bowls; litter tray) high up where the dog cannot reach them.
The best way to do this is to take your pets out on longer and longer trips so they get used to traveling together in the motorhome. Allow your cat to find a space where they feel comfortable and then start to place their belongings there so they learn it is their own. Keep your dog away with a physical obstacle they cannot get around and discourage your dog from becoming overly playful with your cat. Cats often enjoy playing with dogs, but only for short periods, while a dog can often play all day and sometimes doesn’t know when he or she has gone too far.
For shorter trips, you can separate your pets with crates. However, this also requires training if they aren’t already used to them, as they will likely feel anxious if put in a crate without first being made familiar.
Rules for the journey
Once your trip has begun, there are a few rules you should follow to help keep things peaceful. Firstly, make sure to have plenty of food and water on board so they can hydrate themselves whenever they feel the need.
Secondly, don’t leave your pets unattended. They might fight if they feel trapped inside without you and, should they escape, they will be unfamiliar with their surroundings and will likely get lost.
Thirdly, don’t let your pets roam freely while you are moving. Use crates or limit their movement with a leash. Otherwise, something might fall on them in transit or they might distract you while you are driving and cause an accident.
Finally, stop frequently. Cats and dogs are prone to car sickness and might start to feel unwell if you are moving for hours on end. Besides, your dog will need regular walks to burn off some energy, as well as toilet breaks.
It might require some hard work but traveling with your pets should not be dismissed as impossible. With the right training and some patience, your pets can enjoy your holidays with you and learn to share the same space while respecting each other’s limits.