For those embarking on the exciting van life journey, one of the biggest questions is – Should I bring a furry friend along? Selecting the right pet to join you on the open road requires careful thought.
While dogs may seem like the classic choice, cats can also thrive in a nomadic lifestyle with proper preparation. Read on for tips on choosing the best pet for van living.
Important Factors to Consider For Van Life Pets
- Your availability for pet care – Can you commit to being there for daily walks, playtime, and affection? Leaving a pet alone in a van for long stretches will impact their well-being.
- Energy level compatibility – An active, outdoorsy human will do best with a similarly energetic dog who will love hiking and adventure. Mellower pets suit laidback travelers.
- Temperature control – Vehicles heat up and cool down rapidly. Is bringing your pet’s preferred climate along feasible? Proper temperature regulation is a must.
- Interest and lifestyle fit – Choose a pet who will enjoy, not resent, frequent travel and new destinations. Recall pets have an adjustment period.
Dogs for Van Lifers
Dogs are a popular van life pet choice, thanks to their enthusiastic ability to jump into new activities and environments alongside their humans. When selecting a canine companion for the van:
- Consider size – While big dogs have great personalities, smaller breeds will have an easier time in limited van quarters. Some top picks are Jack Russell Terriers, French Bulldogs, and Poodles.
- Prepare for active lifestyles – Dogs love joining hiking, swimming, and outdoor adventures. Be sure to bring along adequate supplies like spare food, water, grooming tools, poop bags, etc.
- Train them for travel – Practice car rides and being alone in the van. Use crates and restraints safely. Get dogs used to being handled on a leash. Socialization is key.
- Watch the heat – Provide shade, ventilation, and cooling accessories. Don’t leave dogs alone in hot vehicles. Schedule activities in cooler parts of the day.
- Ensure exercise – Dogs need daily walks and play. Scope out dog parks and trails near your destinations. Fetch toys are great van dog amenities.
While cats are less traditional van-life pets, they can thrive on the road with a few tweaks:
- Start by taking short practice trips to acclimate anxious cats to travel. Use calming treats or pheromone diffusers as needed.
- Designate a safe spot in the van just for your cat to retreat to. Bring familiar bedding and toys.
- Invest in a harness, leash, and crate. Allow supervised outdoor time to explore new places safely. Set up temporary litter boxes.
- Never allow free-roaming outside the moving vehicle. Always use a secured carrier when driving.
- Ensure the van has places to climb, scratch, and perch. Add climbing nets and cat trees. Bring nail clippers.
- Adapt feeding schedules, litter box setups, and playtime routines for life on the go. Maintain consistency.
- Visit the vet before extended travel to address motion sickness medication, kitty anxiety meds, etc. Update all vet records.
With preparation for their unique needs, cats can thrive as fulfilling van-life pets. The companionship and joy they provide on the open road is unbeatable.
Selecting an ideal van life pet companion requires an honest assessment of your travel style, commitment level, and the pet’s personality and needs. Be realistic about what you can handle.
The open road will be most enjoyable when shared with a furry partner well suited for the lifestyle.