skoolie pets

Traveling With Skoolie Pets – The Ultimate Guide

Bandit and Kona checking out their new bus

Traveling with skoolie pets is one of our greatest joys of living and traveling in a DIY skoolie.  If you pay close attention to your skoolie pet, you will notice if your pet is digging and enjoying their travels with you or they are not.  

Animals are not so much different than us humans.  They are actually much better than humans, but we will save that conversation for a night around a campfire when we meet down the road sometime.  

Traveling and living with skoolie pets is an acquired skill.  It’s really no different than learning how to happily and successfully travel with your spouse, partner, friends, or children.  

By making an effort to ensure your pet is comfortable, engaged, happy, and secure, you are on the right road to providing them with an excellent life on the road with you. 

We are going to discuss some tips, ideas, and strategies on making sure your skoolie pets are living the life you would want to live yourself.

Design Your Skoolie With Your Pets In Mind

Unfortunately, pets are often an afterthought when we design and build our DIY school bus conversions.  

All too often we are imagining and designing our skoolie floorplan for our lives, comfort, convenience, and enjoyment.

living with a skoolie dog

If your skoolie pet had the cognitive and communicative ability to help you design your skoolie with their dreams, security, and happiness in mind, how different would your build look?

If your want to learn more about Skoolie Floor Plans, click this link for more information.

All too often we are imagining and designing our skoolie floorplan for our lives, comfort, convenience, and enjoyment.

Let’s talk about some of the things that may prevent your skoolie pet from being as happy as they can be and some tips, ideas, and strategies to overcome those challenges.

traveling with skoolie pets

Travel Anxiety

We have heard it from so many nomadic friends.  It doesn’t matter if you are traveling in a skoolie, a van conversion, RV, overlander vehicle, or a camper car or SUV, travel anxiety is a real thing for pets.

You know, pets, at least most pets, are not so much different than you and I.  They experience anxiety at times for many different reasons just like people do.  

The main difference between a pets’ anxiety and a person’s anxiety, is that we are much slower and unaware of our pets' anxiety.  We just don’t make the effort to recognize or too easily dismiss because they are “just a pet.”

If your pet, most likely a dog, cat, or bird, suffers from travel anxiety, here are a few ideas to help them and yourself cope with that stress.

Find A Secluded Safe Travel Spot

Having a dedicated travel spot for your pet to rest or hide while you are traveling has helped many pets. Specifically, different animals prefer different solutions if they have travel anxiety.


Dogs often prefer a “den”.  Somewhere that is dark, underneath a couch, bed, or countertop is a great location for a travel kennel or den for them.

Many people think putting a dog in a kennel is punishment.  More often than not, your dog will prefer his alone time in his safe little crate or kennel.  It is a natural behavior and instinct for canines. 

bandit shows of his skoolie den


Pumpkin the skoolie cat
Pumpkin with @Escobedontheroad

If your cat suffers from travel anxiety, also having a secluded spot where they can “hide” is very comforting to felines.  Just as with your skoolie dog, having a dark, secluded place for your skoolie cat is a good thing.  


Your bird may be in its happy place already.  Their aviary or cage is more often than not their safe and happy place.  Placing a sheet or dark cover over the cage should be enough to calm and relax them.  


You may think you or your kids are the only ones to get bored while camping or traveling from one destination to another.  If that is what you believe, we are here to blow your mind.

Drop it like its hot sauce bus pups
Drop it like its hot sauce bus pups

Your skoolie pets get bored too!  It’s too cold to go outside or there is a thunderstorm all around your skoolie.  Perhaps you are not feeling well enough to take your pet outside?

How is your skoolie pet going to spend their downtime, whether you are traveling or camping in one spot for a while?

Hopefully, for your pet, you have designed your skoolie to accommodate your little friend so that they too can stimulate their brains and not get too bored inside of your skoolie.

Creating cat tunnels for your cat to explore and play in, plenty of chew toys for your dog and or bird and a nice warm spot for your reptile to do whatever reptiles do will go a long way for your skoolie pets contentment.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the norm when designing your skoolies’ interior and floorplan.  Try to imagine what would be fun and engaging for your pet.  

Binks and Bo - Skoolie pups
Binks and Bo – Skoolie pups w @Escobedontheroad

Our pets need something to relax, occupy, and stimulate their brain and time just like you and I have with music, Netflix, computer games, or any other activity we do to relax and have fun. 

Different Pets Have Different Needs

Just like different people due to their age, interests, IQ, or any other variable that makes us unique have different needs in life, so do our skoolie pets.  

Different animals due to their physiology have different dietary and environmental needs unique to that species or breed.

Perhaps you have an animal that is furless.  Your skoolies’ environmental controls are going to be different than if you have a pet with a thick coat of hair with down.  

Let’s take a look at some specific species needs of our different skoolie pets.


Dogs seem like a good pet to start with since it is the single most popular skoolie pet.  After all, a dog is a woman's and mans’ best friend!

skoolie pup

So, here are some of the specific needs of a dog who you have chosen to be your skoolie traveling companion.

Dogs need to be safe

This applies to traveling and when you are parked camping somewhere. 

While traveling, it is a smart idea to have a traveling harness to keep them safe in the event of an accident or sudden stops. 
We recommend the Slowton Dog Harness and SeatBelt.

Also, while you are parked and camping.  A good lead or leash is important to keep your pup from wandering off and getting lost or into trouble with the local wildlife.  


Keeping a fresh bowl of water always available to critical to your dogs' health and happiness.  

Karl & Athena

Cool enough in the hot climates 

MaxxAir fans are a dog's best friend!  When it is hot, keep the air moving and circulating inside of that bus.  It could mean the difference from a happy dog to an emergency Vet visit.

Warm enough in the cold climates. 

Most of the time, a good down blanket or some fleece over a wool blanket or bed will keep your pup warm if you are not around to snuggle up with them.  

Vaccinations and Shots updated 

If you plan on being around people and other skoolie pets, an updated record of their shots and vaccinations are a wise idea as well.

Teddy & Stormy jolly green short fun bus
Teddy & Stormy- Jolly Green Short Fun Bus

A place to see outside.

Having a perch or place in your skoolie that will allow your dog to see and look outside is very healthy for their psychological health. 

Being down on ground level and not being able to see what is happening in the world outside makes for a very boring and bleak existence. 

Try to imagine for yourself if you were never able to look out the window when you want to.


Cats are pretty much the same as for dogs when it comes to their physical and psychological needs. 

A couple of things we will note differently than for dogs are the following.

Running Water

Felines do not like to drink from sitting still or stale water.  They prefer running water.  So, having a freshwater dish for your little cat friend will keep them hydrated and happier at the same time. 

We really like this water dish for kitties:  iPettie Neverland Cat Water Fountain.

skoolie pups

Tunnels and Maze

If you really want to take your skoolie build to the next level, especially for your feline travel buddy, create a maze or obstacle course with different perches for your cat. 

Cats love to climb, play, and show how agile they are.  It is a great mood and personality enhancer for your cat.  


We can’t really speak from experience on what activities make a reptilian pet happy or stimulated other than being able to regulate their temperature and eating.

Hotplate or Pad

Allowing your reptile, regardless of its species, the ability to regulate its core temperature is critical for its health and quality of life.  Whether this is done with lamps, heating pads, or perches and water, be creative in your reptiles' home design.

Food and Storage

Depending on the type of reptile you have chosen to be your skoolie pet companion, the food they eat will have a consequence on how you store that food.

Some reptiles require live food.  Be prepared to store that food safely and adequate for your little scaled friend.


Birds are great!  Incredibly smart and slam, packed full of personality.  Birds, due to their high IQ and personalities can be a challenge and require lots of attention.  

If you are a bird owner, you know and understand the reality of owning a bird. The more intelligent and complicated personality the bird has, you understand the more time and patience is needed.

Providing the safest and most interesting environment for your bird will go so far for its happiness and psychological health.  

Other Animals

We have met skoolie friends who have rabbits, exotic mammals, possum, raccoons, and even a tarantula.   We may not particularly enjoy all species of pets, we appreciate and respect the pets our fellow skoolie friends have.

Whatever pet you have decided to be a part of your life, learn and understand its behaviors, dietary needs, and personality and behaviors so that you and it can live their best skoolie life.   

Safety First for Skoolie Pets

Besides keeping your pet happy and engaged one of the most important aspects of skoolie life for your pets is keeping them safe.  

There are too many examples and scenarios where a common situation can go sideways quickly that could mean harm or death for both you and your pet.

Be smart, keep your wits sharp, and be attentive when being responsible for both yourself and your little skoolie companion.  


Besides keeping your pet safe while traveling, some of the most dangerous moments for your pet, and yourself, are when you are making stops along the way to your next destination.  

Do Not Allow Your Pet To Exit Your Skoolie Without You

When you stop somewhere for fuel, food or just to stretch your legs, be sure to keep your pet secure and do not allow them to exit your skoolie without you or your permission.

oliver uggs thie poets journey

This is a good training opportunity to teach your pet to “stay” while you are exiting your skoolie.  Too many dangerous examples to list here regarding your pet running out when you open the skoolie door.  

A Leash or Harnes Is A Skoolie Pets Best Friend

Never allow your skoolie pet to exit your vehicle without a leash or tethered harness on.  Too many variables such as passing vehicles, other dangerous wildlife or dogs, as well as if your pet is a flight risk and losing them.


When camping with your skoolie pets, especially in areas where there are dangerous wildlife animals, keep your pet tethered or at the very least, within eyesight.  

Alligators, Coyote, Bears, and Lions

Chances are if your skoolie pets tie up with an alligator, coyote, big cat, or bear, they are going to come up on the short end of the stick.  

Edward and Nikko #avethelpingvets

If you and your pet are ever in the unfortunate circumstance of an altercation with a dangerous wild animal, be prepared to protect your little friend as well as yourself.  

We would risk our lives than to watch and allow another creature to harm or kill our dogs.  That includes human animals as well.  

Keep your pet close and safe.  

If you have not taught your pet to:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Heel
  • Come

Now is the time to teach and reinforce these potentially life-saving commands if you have not done so already.

Ants, Spiders, Ticks, and Scorpians Oh My!

Also, when camping in areas where there are dangerous insects, arachnids, or ticks, keep a sharp eye out for these dangerous and painful creatures.  

When They Are Alone

When you have no other choice but to leave your skoolie pets on the bus alone, take caution to keep them safe and secure.

Temperature Control

Always keep a fan on for air circulation, regardless of the outside temperature.

With that being said, keep the inside temperature regulated to a safe and comfortable climate for your pets by using either an air conditioner, fan or heating device when needed and appropriate.  

Put A “Pet On Board” Sticker on Your Front Door

Let other people or emergency services personnel know there is a pet inside of your skoolie in the event of an emergency with your skoolie or nearby that could adversely affect your bus and pet.  

This will allow a good samaritan or emergency services personnel to act on your behalf to assist or save your pet at the moment.  

Smokey, Studley, Jinx and Keylo - april baird

Soothing Music or White Noise

When the moment arises that you must leave your pet alone, put on some relaxing or soothing music or white noise that will help relax and calm your pet until your return.  Maybe even leaving the television on.  

What Makes Your Pet Happy?

Chances are, the single most thing that makes your skoolie pet happy is non-other than you. 

Whether you realize it or not, regardless of the type of pet you have, you are your pet’s whole world.  They see you as a member of their pack, pride, flock, or whatever the grouping for your particular pet is.  

Understanding this is key to the psychological and physiological health of your skoolie pet.

Make sure you are providing the best skoolie life for your pet just as you should for yourself or your family.

If your pet is just an accessory, do them a favor and find a family that wants to adopt them. Pets should not be an accessory, but a partner in your life and travels.  

If we all spend enough time with our pets, we know and understand their likes, dislikes, insecurities, and subtle moods that all creatures experience.  

We can tell what kind of people are by observing how they treat and interact with their pets.  If you have a pet, you can pretty much bet we are going to like or dislike you based on your relationship with your pet.  

Wrap Up To How To Live and Travel With Skoolie Pets

Our pets are like our children sometimes.  They are immediate family members.  At least, they should be.  

If you do not view your pet as an integral and first-class member of your family, then we probably would not be friends.  

We often say that if our dog(s) do not like you, we probably do not like you either.  

Really, we trust our dogs' intuition about people more than we trust our own.  Although Nat has a pretty keen discernment when it comes to people.  

We can talk about that on another blog site later on.  

Some of the best advice we can give anyone on skoolie life with pets is this:

  1. Treat your Pets as you would want them to treat you.
  2. Establish and maintain a routine as best as possible for your pet(s).

Traveling with skoolie pets is both rewarding as well as challenging at times.  With all of the difficult or challenging moments, we would not change skoolie life with our pets for anything in the world!

We would love to hear about your skoolie life on the road with your pets.  We have a special section on our Website that features Skoolie People.

Click on this link, upload a pic of you and your pet and family and allow us and the skoolie community to get to know you a little bit better!

We look forward to connecting with you!

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