Tips for road tripping with dogs, from people who live in a van year-round

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Memorial Day weekend is upon us and if you’re heading out on a road trip, you don’t have to leave Fido behind.

Although it may seem like an extra challenge to have a dog along with you in the vehicle ,, Will and Kristin Watson say it’s worth it.

The Watsons, along with their 3-year-old daughter Roam and their 10-year-old pit bull Rush, have been traveling in a renovated bus since April 2019.

” I wouldn’t want to do it without Rush,” Kristin said to Fox News Digital. “I understand that some people don’t bring their dogs because they don’t believe their dog can handle it. But I would suggest you give your dog the chance to see before you decide not to allow them to. “

” Most dogs want to be with their owners in every way possible, so they adapt,” Kristin said. “And they’re just as good companions for these types of trips “

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When the family moved onto the bus three years ago, Kristin said Rush took a little time to adjust to the lifestyle change, though he was a little anxious early on.

Will and Kristin Watson have been traveling in their renovated bus with their 3-year-old daughter Roam and their 10-year-old pit bull Rush since April 2019. 

Will and Kristin Watson have been traveling in their renovated bus with their 3-year-old daughter Roam and their 10-year-old pit bull Rush since April 2019.
(Will and Kristin Watson)

“I think he transitioned really well,” Kristin said. “One thing he did at the beginning was… while we were driving, his behavior was to run up to the front of a bus and then run to its back. Then he would run back to the front and then run back to the front. “

Will explained that he was having trouble protecting us while we were driving on the roads. “

Now, the Watsons give Rush some CBD for dogs before they hit the road.

“This has really, really helped him to relax and be able tucker under the seat while we drive,” Kristin stated. It also helps his hips as he gets older. He can now hop in and out of the bus much more easily since we started giving him that. “

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Though the Watsons don’t crate Rush on the bus, he does have two spots where he spends most of his time. According to Outside magazine, giving your dog a place in the car or bus can help make your pet feel more at home.

When the Watsons first moved onto the bus, Kristin said Rush handled the transition pretty well. 

Kristin stated that Rush did a good job of transitioning the Watsons onto the bus when they first moved on.
(Will and Kristin Watson)

In the Watsons’ bus, Rush spends his time either in the front with Will while he drives, or in the back on the bed.

“He likes to look out the back window and smell the new smells,” Will stated.

The Watsons also leave all essentials for Rush so that he can access them while on the road.

“He has access to all the necessities, including food and water. He also has toys and toys at his disposal whenever he needs them,” Kristin stated.

The Watsons also make sure to walk Rush every time they stop – which they do every few hours to stretch their legs and take bathroom breaks.

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Two of the greatest benefits of having Rush with the Watsons on the road are security and companionship. Kristin stated that Will will have to leave Roam and me behind on a work trip. “I feel super safe because my dog Rush is with me.” He’s one those dogs that barks only if someone is sniffing around the bus. He’s an alarm system.

Though Rush was a little anxious about being on the bus at first, the Watsons started giving him CBD for dogs, which has calmed him down and helped with his joint pain as he's gotten older.

Rush was initially anxious about riding on the bus. However, the Watsons began giving him CBD for dogs. This has helped him to relax and help with his joint pain as he gets older.
(Will and Kristin Watson)

“He’s very friendly, but he sounds like he will bite your head off if you come around the bus,” Kristin added.

Plus Rush loves to travel.

“He enjoys that we go to new places every day because he can smell new smells and pee on other things,” Will stated. “If we want to go out and walk a trail, or do something, Rush will come. He just loves it.” he said.

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One of the biggest challenges of having Rush along for family getaways is that some areas aren’t pet-friendly, Kristin said.

“If you’re going to national parks, most of the trails in national parks aren’t dog friendly,” Kristin explained. You need to be aware of the weather. If you are going to leave your dog or other animal behind in summertime, it is best to do so in the mornings or evenings when it is cooler. “

The Watsons said that having Rush with them gives them an extra layer of security, plus Rush likes to adventure as much as they do. 

According to the Watsons, Rush is a great companion and gives them extra security. Rush also enjoys adventure as much as the Watsons.
(Will and Kristin Watson)

The Watsons have a pet monitor, which measures the temperature and humidity levels in their bus and sends them alerts to their phones in case their AC shuts off. They also have a security system on the bus so that Rush can be viewed and talked to while they’re gone.

Rush is a pitbull, so he is not allowed in some campgrounds. This presents an additional challenge for the Watsons. They consider him an aggressive breed, unfortunately,” Will stated.

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The Watsons said they lean on a website called BringFido, which helps them find dog-friendly restaurants, activities and accommodations while they travel.

Kristin said that public lands are a great place to take your dog.

Watson family 3 Will and Kristin Watson

Kristin said that she would not have done this without Rush when it came to traveling and living in a bus.
(Will and Kristin Watson)

“They’re the places with the least amount of rules,” she said. There are beautiful, wide-open spaces for your dog to run and play in. We always try to find public land. “

Despite the few challenges, the Watsons have no regrets about bringing Rush on their travels.

“Bring your dog,” Kristin stated. “Never leave your dog behind. “

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