Leaving Pets in the RV

Amy & Rod Burkert Amy & Rod Burkert  |  07.30.2017

Summer is here and it’s time to jump in your Winnebago and hit the road! Today we’re sharing our thoughts on this question we recently received on our Facebook page:

“Would you write something about leaving pets safely in an RV while you’re out & about? What do you do about temperature, air, and safety for both short & longer timeframes?”

The heat has already reached unbearable levels in many parts of the country, and we all know that leaving pets in hot cars puts their lives in danger. Is it the same when you’re in an RV? Yes and no …

If you’re planning to leave your pets alone in your rig while it’s parked in a campground, you’ll first need to make sure that your pets will not disturb your neighbors while you’re away. Also, some campgrounds have rules prohibiting pets from being left unattended, even inside your coach – likely due to bad experiences with dogs “serenading” the other guests. So, be sure you know the policies when you make your reservations. Of course, Ty and Buster would never do such a thing – just look at those innocent faces!

If both of those conditions are squared away, the next thing to consider is the weather. Regulating the temperature in an RV is easier than in a car, but it can still get uncomfortably – or even dangerously – hot for pets. Lowering all your shades to block the sun, opening windows, turning on ceiling ventilation fans, and providing plenty of water will help, but may not do enough to ensure a safe environment.

Unfortunately, there is no set temperature that one can bank on to be safe for their pets – it depends on humidity, air movement, if you’re parked in the sun or shade, and on your pet’s health. Even his breed can affect his ability to keep cool. Short-faced breeds, like pugs and Shar-pei, are known to be affected more by the heat.

When the temperatures are warm enough that you’d need to rely on air conditioning to keep your pets safe, think twice about leaving them. Pop-up thunderstorms, electrical surges, and even careless neighbors can cut off the shore power to your RV. If you’re planning a day trip, take your pets along! If the plans you’ve made don’t allow you to include your pets, consider a pet sitter or doggy daycare facility where they can spend the day. You may even find fellow campers who are willing to trade pet sitting favors!

For a quick run to the grocery store, or similar short trips, leave your cell phone number with the office staff and ask them to notify you immediately if any problems arise with power in the park. Another option is to use use a monitor that sends text and email alerts if the temperature in the RV goes outside the range designated. Of course, with either of these warning systems, you must be close enough to your coach to get back before the inside temperature rises to a dangerous level.

Basically, it comes down to this: If there is any question as to whether your pets will be comfortable alone in your RV, please don’t leave them. Nothing is so important that it’s worth endangering a pet’s life. You may just have to sit and stay (with the air conditioning on), while someone else fetches.

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  1. janet Posted on 02.16.2019

    So where can you by something that will kick in ifpower goes out if pets are let home and electric goes out

  2. lisa Duvall Posted on 01.22.2019

    As a campground owner I suggest you let the office know your leaving and your dog/cat is in the camper, leave a contact number and a key if locking it or if your leaving the door unlocked put the safety handle across the door, I’ve seen doors open for no reason. I’ve personally checked on a dog every 45min. because the camper was having some power issues with his camper and it was mid summer.

  3. Richard Koch Posted on 12.16.2018

    Auto gen. start in case shore power is lost.

  4. Beatrice Russell Posted on 09.14.2018

    Thank you all so much! We are getting ready to buy a fifth wheel and travel with our two Golden Retrievers. We would die if something happened to our girls!!!

  5. Michelle Miller Posted on 08.18.2018

    Setting up a mobile pet sitting operation is a fantastic idea. A doggy daycare is a great option but what about my cat. My husband wants me to consider getting rid of her because we can’t go do things because there might a problem or a generator only runs 6 hours. There has to be an option other than getting rid of a pet or roasting them.

  6. Sylvia Clift Posted on 05.26.2018

    We travel from the east coast to west every June and back in Oct. Have a 5 year old Westie with us and when we go out for a couple hours have always left him in his kennel, TV & AC on etc…never a problem until this trip! Yesterday he went bizerk when we brought the kennel into the living room and absolutely did not want to get in- didn’t even care about his treats!! Left him anyway for 1/2 hr so as not to ‘give in’ and he wouldn’t leave us alone when we returned- like we had done something mean! Now we don’t know what to do…..where we are this weekend the doggy day cares are all full up!

  7. cindy mcwhirter Posted on 04.29.2018

    So happy to have read these comments and to learn about the RV Pet Safety website and the Nimble temperature monitor! I have two boxers and I need to know they are safe if I leave for a short time. Great information!

  8. Kimberly Araiza Posted on 10.15.2017

    To Ann Bliss,
    I think that’s a fantastic idea and a great business opportunity.

  9. Ed Posted on 08.07.2017

    We use our auto generator start function as a backup to campground power to run the air conditions as needed.

  10. Doug Davidson Posted on 08.06.2017

    We travelled with our last dog for years and though we knew he never barked while we were gone, I was always nervous about power outages, fire, etc. Now we have a new puppy and he has been camping with us for 4 weeks and again, I stay concerned anytime we would leave him for a while (no more than 3 hours). And then we had an eye opener. In one of the last campgrounds we were in, a couple left there dog and the temps were in the high 90’s. The breaker for the AC tripped and the heat inside rose and rose. Sadly, when the campers came back, the dog had passed. I became so upset and decided it would be time to develop a product that could monitor the inside temperatures and send a text message in the case of high or low temps. Upon returning home I did some research and found the Nimble product and RV PetSafety had an existing product. I ordered it last week. We go out again in 2 weeks and August and September can still bring high temps. Even though our rig is relatively new (2015) and I have a Progressive Industries EMS, I’ll feel better knowing I can check the temps anytime. I also like the idea of the sign on the outside notifying others a pet is inside. Maybe no the smartest thing to do but I have stopped locking the entry door when we leave, of course I don’t advertise that. I am also going to let the check-in office that I have the monitor and ask that the staff react if I call because of an alert from the Nimble. Glad this subject was written about…

  11. David Posted on 08.05.2017

    Spot on!

  12. Mary Hoff Posted on 08.05.2017

    We travel with our 2 cats and we’re on the road June-July this year. This first half was CA to LA with temps from 107-90 so we invested on s Pet Monitor from RV PetSafety.com. Wall mounted with battery back up, it transmited RV temp readings and a preset “high temp” to our cell phones. We were never too far away to get back to our rig if it got too hot. Never needed to, but the monitor gave us great piece of mind. Also we only paid for the monitoring service for the 2 months we were gone, then off until next time.

  13. Miren Avalle-Arce Armenta Posted on 08.05.2017

    Another pet-safety item we practice with our two Great Danes in our Winnebago Journey is always leave a large note taped to our door that says we have pets inside and our cell phone number. The hope is that in an emergency call us or by all means – break the glass and get our fur babies out! I usually just hand write the note but recently I saw plastic printed version with a suction cup (like the Baby on Board signs people put in their cars).

  14. ann bliss Posted on 08.05.2017

    It would be a great job or service for camp grounds to have a pet center. If not a person that can be a dog walker, cat and bird checker. A great job for so.ekne who wants to be a dog sitter they can collaborate with campgrounds to come in and specifically do just that job. They set their own rate, campground advertises and gets more people. Especially good for campground’s that are not as busy as others. Or at least have a source to refer to their guests. Ofcouse have bacgrou nd checks as if an emoyee before you refer someone. The pet industry is huge. Having a doggy daycare/ groomer/ petsitting affiliate with a campground is a necessity these days. It also provides more jobs in the industry.
    Ok who is you g to set up a pet hospitality company with me?????