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One of the greatest perks of RVing is the fact that you can pack up the whole family and head out for an adventure! And the whole family includes your pets, as well!
But we have all heard the horror stories about people leaving their pet in a vehicle. It can make you wonder if it’s even safe to bring your pet along on your RV camping trip.
Is leaving a pet in an RV really safe? With proper preparation, you can travel with your family pet and keep them safe and happy in your RV.
There are two scenarios that you have to take into account when RVing with a pet. One is while you are traveling with your pet and the RV is in motion. The other is after you have reached your campground. They both present situations that require preparation and thought to keep your pet safe while in your RV.
Continue reading for ideas on how to keep your pets safe and happy while they join you on your RV travels.
How Can I Keep My Pet Safe While Traveling?
In some RVs like a Class A, Class C, or 5th wheel, your pet is allowed in the camper portion of the RV while you are driving. Since your RV is like your home on wheels it can be easy to forget that it is a moving vehicle. Therefore it’s important to make sure your pet is safe while the vehicle is rolling down the road.
However, I strongly discourage leaving your pet in the back of a moving 5th wheel or travel trailer unattended. If your pet was injured how would you know?
Or if the temperature became too hot or cold for your pet you would not know that either. I want to quote a full-time RVer with pets who read this article and sent the comment below.
“I would encourage you as someone who lives full time in a 5th wheel and lives with 3 cats and 4 dogs to not mention Properly securing your animals in said 5th wheel as it could cause them harm not only by the bumps and movement that comes from a pull behind but the weather factor (pulling long hours during the summer or winter months) I have always discouraged those who think it’s humane to leave a dog or cat, even a crater one in a 5th wheel or travel trailer while towing. Just something to think about concerning your wording in your article”.
Just like any other member of your family, securing your pet should be required while your RV is in motion. Securing your pet can be accomplished a few different ways.
If your dog or cat is properly crate or carrier trained, place them in the carrier and have it secured while driving. If your dog or cat doesn’t respond well to being in a crate it might be wise to invest in a sturdy harness seat belt to keep your pet safe and secure.
Securing your pet while the RV is moving can protect your pet in two ways. It can keep your pet from sliding or falling as your RV sways and bumps due to road conditions. And it will keep them safe from loose items inside the RV that might move or fall and possibly hit your pet.
Is It Safe To Leave My Pet Inside My RV at a Campground?
While leaving your pet inside your RV isn’t always the ideal choice, it’s absolutely better than leaving them outside.
However, if you are leaving your dog or cat in your RV while you are away there are some simple things you can do to ensure their safety. And you certainly want to try to make sure your dog, for example, won’t ruin your neighbors’ camping experience with a concert of barks all day long.
Know the Campground Rules
Many RVers are familiar with staying at pet-friendly campgrounds and RV parks. But there are a number of RV campgrounds that have adopted a “no dogs left unattended” rule.
This rule is used because of the number of complaints neighboring RVers have about barking dogs inside of RVs. So, before you make a reservation, you should check to see what the campground rules are regarding pets.
How To Handle Hot Weather
Hot weather causing heat buildup inside the RV is the most highlighted issue regarding pet safety. Keeping your RV cool can easily be remedied by using a windshield visor, closing the curtains and shades and running the air conditioner while you’re away for extended periods of time. Also, be sure to leave plenty of water for them to drink.
Heat is not the only weather that could affect your dogs or cats safety while inside an RV. Thunderstorms can also pose a threat to pets left alone in a camper since they can cause power outages, lightning, and thunder.
How To Handle Thunder Storms
Many pets suffer from anxiety during storms and they may act out in negative ways. If your pet suffers from anxiety during thunderstorms, it’s probably best to stay with them in the camper and ride out the storm. You can also make sure they have a designated comfortable place where they can feel safe.
How To Hande Separation Anxiety
If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, it may be best to crate them while you’re gone. Sometimes, crating your pet with a familiar blanket or bed from home will make them feel more safe and secure. You can also close the shades and leave a radio on to create a tranquil environment. Most dogs that have separation anxiety bark or howl while you are away from the RV so it’s important to make them as comfortable as possible in familiar surroundings.
How Can I Make My RV Pet-Friendly?
There are some very simple ways to make your RV pet-friendly. First of all, it’s important to remove any potential hazards to your dog or cat. So, take some time and make sure you have stowed away any items that could be detrimental to your pet. You can also use your pets crate or bed cushion to create a comfortable, safe area. Some pets like to hide so placing the crate or bed under the dinette table or in a closet or bathroom might be a good idea.
Some other ideas are to have plenty of food and water for out for your pets. And of course, leaving out their favorite toys, treats or blankets can make your RV more pet-friendly too.
The absolute best pet-friendly product I have ever seen for remotely keeping an eye on your pet and feeding them treats is the Lovoom Pet Monitoring Camera for dogs and cats. While you are away from your RV you can see, hear and talk to your pet. And you can remotely toss them a kibble treat! It’s all done remotely through your cell phone! My daughter has one that she uses to keep an eye on her dog while she’s at work all day. And, I think having one in your RV is a great way to interact with your pet while you are away. Check out the video below. It explains it better than I can.
How Can I Ensure the AC Stays On?
One of the biggest fears for pet owners while away from their RV is that the power will go out and the AC will stop running. This can certainly be a life-threatening situation. The best way to handle this situation is to install an Automatic Generator Start Controller.
The way this works is that if the shore power goes out, your AC will turn off because the AC can’t run on battery power. If this happens, the generator controller will automatically start the generator and your AC will come back on. For just a couple hundred dollars, it can literally save your pet’s life.
1. Should I Bring Vet Records?
It is a good idea to bring your pet’s vet and vaccination records just in case your pet gets injured or sick while you are traveling. This could make a difference if you visit a vet that you’ve never seen before. Along with the vet records, it’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit on board the RV in case your pet needs basic care on your adventures. Just as you would take precautions for your dog or cat in your own home, it’s important to carry those habits over to your mobile life.
2. Can I Leave My Pet Outside While I am Away From the RV?
Most campgrounds will not allow you to keep your pet outside while you are away from your RV. In addition, you are potentially putting your pet in danger by leaving it outside, even if it is in a crate, pen, or on a tether of some kind. First of all, someone could steal or harm your pet. Second, your pet may be encountered by another animal and unable to escape. And finally, your pet will be subjected to the weather if left outside. So, I would highly discourage leaving your pet outside your RV while you are away.
3. Can I Bring My Pet if I Rent an RV?
Most of the large National RV Rental companies allow you to bring your pet when you rent an RV and many private owners offer pet friendly rentals, as well. If you are looking for a pret friendly rental one of the best places to look is on a website called Outdoorsy.
We wrote an entire article about pet friendly RV Rentals called Are Dogs Allowed In RV Rentals? that includes tons of great information.
Bringing your pet along with you on your family camping adventures can be a ton of fun and really rewarding. Taking the proper steps to prepare and equip your RV with tools to keep them safe will ensure that they can continue to hit the road with you again and again. For your pet’s sake, please follow the campground rules and practice proper pet etiquette as well. And try not to keep them cooped up in the RV all day. They need fresh air just like us!
Do you have a tip or comment you would like to share about RVing with pets? Please leave your comments or any questions below.
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To see a list of all of our articles check out the Blog Archive!
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About the Author:
Mike Scarpignato is an avid RVer and outdoorsman. He travels with his wife Susan in their Class A 2021 Thor Challenger and their Class C 2008 Gulf Stream Conquest. Mike is the owner of RVBlogger.com, TravelTrailerPro.com, MotorhomeFAQs.com, the RVBlogger YouTube Channel, and the private Facebook group called RV Camping for Newbies.