Why It’s a Struggle to Adopt a Pet as a Full-Time RVer

Whether a cat or dog lover, having a furry friend along for your full-time RVing adventures can be nice. Unfortunately, if you wait until you hit the road to try to get a pet, it may be too late.

Many full-time RVers report that adopting a pet while traveling is challenging and sometimes even impossible. So, why is it so difficult?

Today, we’re diving into the struggle and why you should think twice before adopting or rescuing a pet while traveling.

Let’s get started!

Is Adopting a Pet Hard?

Adopting a pet can take a lot of work, whether you’re traveling or not. Rescue and adoption centers often have an application and screening process to ensure their pets find a quality and safe home. As a result, it can take longer than most people expect, leading to frustration.

The frustrations don’t always end once you’ve selected and homed a pet. While these pets often come with updated shots and papers, they can also come with bad habits. They may enjoy chewing on items and may not be house-trained. Just like bringing a newborn baby home, it can be rough as both you and the pet adjust.

Even after the adjustment period, you’ll need to ensure they get proper exercise and attention, especially dogs. Some breeds will require substantial amounts of play and exercise, or they’ll begin to misbehave. Make sure you do plenty of research to provide the proper lifestyle for your new best friend.

A dog in front of a wooden fence wearing a yellow scarf that says adopt me.

Why Is Adopting a Pet So Expensive?

There are numerous costs associated with adopting a pet. The fees you pay when adopting a pet typically help cover some of the veterinary care, vaccinations, spaying or neutering procedures, and microchipping. Most reputable shelters and facilities will complete these for every animal before placing them into an adoptive home.

Many of these facilities will also incur costs during the screening process. This includes background checks, home visits, and any other appointments they might require. Luckily, these are one-time fees.

However, once you adopt your pet, you’ll have the standard expenses of any pet owner. You’ll need to consider food, veterinary care, and any basic supplies they might need for playing or sleeping.

Check out these Weird and Wonderful RV Pets.

Why It’s a Struggle to Adopt a Pet as a Full-Time RVer

Adopting a pet as a full-time RVer can be challenging. However, if you can make it happen, it can be an enriching experience for you and your furry friend. So, why is it so hard? Let’s look and see!

Limited Space

The limited space is one of the most obvious struggles of adopting a pet as a full-time RVer. Living in a tiny home can be challenging, but adding a pet can make it even more difficult. Many adoption agencies like to know that the new home will have plenty of space for not only humans but also animals.

Some of the largest recreational vehicles barely have over 300 square feet. Depending on the agency, the size of your family, or the specific dog, having limited space may be a no-go for some pets.

A woman holding a dog in her arms in an outdoor shelter.

Constant Movement

Adoption and pet agencies like to see consistency. If you’re a full-time RVer traveling constantly from one location to the next, it can be anything but consistent. While some pets are adventurous, that’s certainly not always the case.

The constant movement and traveling can cause anxiety and stress in the animal. This could lead to misbehaving or finding other negative ways to deal with their feelings. Some dogs will bite at themselves or scratch themselves raw.

How Many Pets Are Too Many in an RV?

Pet Comfort and Safety

Whether in an RV or not, providing a comfortable and safe place for any pet you adopt is critical. Unfortunately, it can be very challenging to provide this in an RV. You can’t always take your pet on every adventure.

Many state and national parks have strict rules that pet owners must follow. As a result, it’s often best to leave them behind during these trips. However, it could be extremely uncomfortable and dangerous if your camper loses power or another emergency happens. These aren’t uncommon and occur much more often than you might think. You may not be able to fully enjoy yourself while away from your pet as you’ll constantly worry about it.

A family of four in a shelter petting a cat.

Outdoor Access

Rain or shine, most pets benefit from spending time outdoors. Unfortunately, this can prove to be a difficult task, especially when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. However, you’ll need to get used to making sure they get the time they need outside, whether that means getting wet or freezing with them.

One of the most challenging aspects is when you’re gone for the day on a trip or adventure that doesn’t allow pets. You could be exhausted from hiking or another physical activity, but your pet is excited and energetic. Whether you like it or not, you’ll need to grab their leash and take them for a walk or find a dog park to let them run.

Routine and Stability

Again, adoption centers and other facilities like to see routine and stability. These are two things that full-time RVers typically don’t experience regularly. While you and other nomads may love that every day is something new, a pet adoption agency likely won’t. They want to have confidence that the pets will have stability and be able to develop a routine.

If you plan to adopt as a full-time RVer, it may be best to be stationary for several months. This will allow you and your new pet to adjust to living together. Once everyone appears comfortable, you can begin to transition back into traveling.

A sign that says pet adoptions today with dogs in a cage in the background.

Long Travel Days

Sometimes, full-time RVers will have long travel days to spend several hours on the road. While it can be rough for the driver and passengers, it can be even more challenging for pets.

You may even discover that some are prone to motion sickness, even on shorter trips. This can complicate your travel days and be another thing to consider.

Read How to Be a Bad RV Pet Owner before committing to your own pet.

Adoption Agency Requirements

Finally, the biggest struggle can be the adoption agency’s requirements. Some of these locations may automatically deny requests from nomadic individuals.

Because this might be their standard policy, there’s no use in being upset or arguing with them about it. Accept it and move on to find another agency that’s willing to work with you. They’re just doing their job.

As we’ve mentioned, the agency may require that you show proof that you can provide a safe and comfortable home for the pet. While they may not deny you for living in a recreational vehicle, they may expect certain things. If they do, be ready to prove how badly you want to become a pet owner by checking all of their required boxes.

A woman standing in front of her RV kissing her small dog.

Should You Adopt a Pet as a Full-Time RVer?

Becoming a pet owner isn’t a decision to take lightly. Pets deserve a safe and proper home where they’ll receive love and affection. If you cannot provide this for them, it may not be the right time to adopt.

Don’t rush into this decision, and make sure you consider all the ramifications. It will likely reduce your freedom and ability to go and do as you please.

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