This is a hard thread to read. Makes me really miss all my past furkids.
We have tent camped/RVed with both dogs & cats since I got my first furkid (AKC purebred American Eskimo Spitz... a rescue) from David as a wedding present in 1980. Based on that long experience, I would like to post a few things that other pet owners or those contemplating a pet may want to think about.
Please put collars/harnesses & your cellphone number &/or e-mail address on your pets. If they get out while you are traveling it can be very hard to locate them again. You can use a throwaway email address. I strongly suggest the e-mail as this will allow someone to contact you at no cost to them. You only need to check it if your pet goes missing and to dump the spam a couple times a year.
Place a notice in your door window... use your computer to make one or two. "Warning Pets on board. Do not open door. In case of emergency call -your cellphone number- or -2nd cellphone number-"
Micro chip your pets. The price of this is getting cheaper all the time.I think it is currently $15. Do this in addition to the collar & tags. Vets & Animal shelters have the scanners given to them so they have gotten into the habit of scanning for microchips.
Do NOT let your pets run loose (that includes cats). There are simply too many things that can go wrong and it's against the rules at most campgrounds (there are leash length limits too... please obey them and pick up after your pets). House pets tend to be at a disadvantage to feral animals. Also your pet tends to look like a snack to many wild animals. Coyotes are in pretty much every state now. They will kill any cat or small dog and they will do it in daylight and in full view of humans. A large owl as well as other winged predators are quite willing to take off your smaller pets. We had one that would sit on our front porch railing and have a staring contest with our cat. Our cat never wanted to go out if the owl was nearby. Our antique cat did wander around loose. She never went very far, just one or two sites over (one of the fulltime neighbours would feed her tuna fish and pet her, I think he missed his cat who had died). When the weather was nice I would leave the door to the pop-up standing open so the dog (on a long tie out) and the cat could go in/out as they liked. The cat & dog liked to lay under the pop-up to stay cool. A weekend kid tried to steal her claiming she was a stray (with a collar and tags on it). Only reason she did not succeed was because my kids saw her pick up the cat and take it into their camper. My kids banged (not knocked) and demanded the cat back. The mother started giving my kids flack about it and one of my kids simply walked in and took the cat. I had the irate mother visit me. Our cat! I had vet papers and photos in the vet folder to prove it. None of the cats in the campground were strays. They all belonged to the farm next door to the campground. Folks that lived there told me a few weeks later that they lost cats all the time to campers. But it evened out since they acquired both dogs & cats all the time from campers who abandoned them. I told all the fulltime neighbours with pets right then about the kid trying to steal the cat right out of our site. Lousy kid went cruising for another pet to steal! My kids stalked her all that weekend. After that, our cat stayed either inside or one of us was outside with her on weekends.
Keep rabies vaccines up to date and carry current vet records. Many public campgrounds will ask, some will want to see so keep the paperwork handy. Only COE in south Carolina had to see proof of rabies vaccine on pets. SC has a very bad rabies problem in their wild skunk population. I kept a cheap 2 pocket folder
with the dog's paperwork on one side and the cat's paperwork on the other (the vet folder). I thinned out the old paperwork once a year and kept a fairly current photo printed out of each (full body shot and close up of face... sorta like a mug shot for id purposes). I met others who kept a few "Lost Pet" flyers with "fill in the blank" format so they could immediately put up a couple of flyers in what ever park they lost the pet in and use one to make colour copies at a nearby copy machine. I kept a 12 month history on both pets. Take this folder with you if you have to take a furkid to an out-of-town vet. They really appreciate it. Your vet should be quite willing to give you a copy of the paperwork they generate for your pets file. Just tell them your pet travels with you. Consider getting the Bordetella vaccine (Kennel cough) as many kennels will not take your pet without it. There is some concerns about this particular vaccine. So do some research and talk to your vet first. We always got it for ours since we had to board them a couple times on very short notice.
Sad to say, there are people out there, even in campgrounds, that will steal a dog or cat. Some steal a specific breed for resell, some steal to sell to labs, etc. Others will steal because it's "lost" or "a stray" or any other excuse they can come up with. I rather like the "I didn't take your pet, it climbed in our camper all by itself". Stopping overnight in a campground, for a few minutes in a parking lot or rest stop, even stopping to eat and walking your pet puts potential eyes on it that may decide they want your pet. Leash your pets, micro chip them, carry documentation of ownership (vet papers & photos) and when you leave them in your RV alone while you eat inside a restaurant LOCK YOUR DOORS AND SET AUDIBLE ALARMS ON THE DOORS/WINDOWS. You can get a cheap battery powered door/window alarm at DollarTree for $1 each
. If your DollarTree doesn't carry them, you can order online and pick up in the store. If a child can get into your windows, then you need an alarm on it.