Is it Safe To Leave a Pet in an RV?

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Updated April 1, 2024

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 is it safe to go out and see points of interest and leave your pet in your RV?

We have seen people leave their pets in their RV for the day while exploring the area. It can make you wonder if bringing your pet along on your RV camping trip is even safe.

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.

German Sheppard is in the back of an RV traveling down the road but the dog is not safe.
What’s wrong with this picture? The dog is not secured or safe!

How Can I Keep My Pet Safe While Traveling?

In some RVs like a Class A, Class C, or 5th wheels, 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 unattended in the back of a moving towable trailer like a 5th wheel or travel trailer.

If your pet was injured, how would you know? If the temperature becomes too hot or cold for your pet, you will 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”.

Comment form one of our readers to discourage others from traveling with pets in a towable RV like a travel trailer or 5th wheel.

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, investing in a sturdy harness seat belt might be wise 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.

In addition to securing your pet you may want to consider ways to calm your pet during travel. We have many friends who give their pets anti-anxiety medications or pet calming aids and supplements, and they all report that it does a great job keeping their pets calm, which can also keep them safer.

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 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. However, a number of RV campgrounds 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 dog’s or cat’s 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, staying with them in the camper and riding out the storm is probably best. 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 monitoring 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.

Ensuring the A/C Stays On Keeps Your Pet Safe in Your RV

One of the biggest fears for pet owners while away from their RV is that the power will go out and the A/C 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.

This works by causing your A/C to turn off if the shore power goes out because it can’t run on battery power. If this happens, the generator controller will automatically start the generator, and your A/C will come back on. For just a couple hundred dollars, this is one of the best ways to ensure your pet stays safe while in your RV.


Related Questions

1. Should I Bring Vet Records When Traveling with My Pet?

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, keeping a first aid kit on board the RV in case your pet needs basic care on your adventures is a good idea. 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, another animal may encounter your pet and be 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 pet-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 a ton of great information.

Final Thoughts about How Safe it Is to Leave a Pet in Your RV

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.

Thanks for reading through this article and if you would like to contact us directly please feel free to go to our Contact Page to send us an email.

To see a list of all of our articles check out the Blog Archive!

Learn More:

Tractor Supply Pet Wash: Wash Your Pet for $10
10 Best RVs for Traveling to Dog Shows
8 Best RVs for Traveling with Dogs
Are Dogs Allowed In RV Rentals?
11 Essential Dog Accessories for RV Camping

Mike Scarpignato – Bio

Mike Scarpignato created over five years ago in 2018 to share all we have learned about RV camping.

Mike is an avid outdoorsman with decades of experience tent camping and traveling in his 2008 Gulf Stream Conquest Class C RV and 2021 Thor Challenger Class A motorhome.

We attend RV Shows and visit RV dealerships all across the country to tour and review drivable motorhomes and towable trailers to provide the best evaluations of these RVs in our blog articles and YouTube videos.

We are 3/4-time RVers who created to provide helpful information about all kinds of RVs and related products, gear, camping memberships, tips, hacks and advice.

Mike and Susan from RVBlogger at an RV Show touring reviewing and rating RVs

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13 thoughts on “Is it Safe To Leave a Pet in an RV?”

  1. I am running a full rescue with both large and small dogs. I’m getting an rv to take them out of danger when hurricanes hit my home state, so they can ride comfortably to a secure area. There is no way I can put them all in a truck. What type would you recommend and how do I keep them all secure and safe during driving time. These are all bigger dogs, and I don’t think a motorhome is within my budget constraints. I’ll be making kennels inside it, but it will only be used to remove them all from harm. I’d be travelling alone.

  2. We’ve got 2 labs, female 9yrs and male 1yr and he has horrible anxiety. I love your post and will follow you for more guidance. We’re beginning our RV life this yr and living full time rving next yr. Any suggestions for easy transition from apt to RV? I’m starting to really walk the puppy this winter-depending on weather of course-as I will be walking him constantly at the parks. Another comment is I need help calming him down while away. Love your suggestions.

  3. This helps allay one of my fears as we plan for full time living in a trailer in little more than a year. Our Yorkie, Boudreaux, will definitely be with us so I’ve been concerned. I really appreciate your blog & look forward to all I’ll learn.

  4. Thank you for the information. We don’t have any pets but we will know how to care for them if we decide to have any.

  5. I traveled with two 85 lb Golden Retrievers for months all around the country in a class B RV. We had to figure a few things out, but had our act together in no time. One of the many dog related items I purchased was Nimble Pet. It does not require Wi-Fi, but does require cellular coverage. Worked in most places except some remote BLM or National Park areas. Let’s you set high and low temperature alerts, etc.

  6. Thanks Mike this helped a lot.
    I’m sure I’ll have many more questions as we prepare for our next life as retiree’s. Now to find an RV.

    • Hi Danny,
      Glad you found the article helpful and best of luck on the next chapter in your life!!!
      If I may offer a little advice before you buy your RV…
      find what you think you want – then rent one like it before you buy it.
      Also buy used rather than new if you can because there is a huge shortage of RVs on the market right now so it’s hard to get a good price on a new RV.
      Best of luck and please let me know if you have any questions.

  7. Any tips for living in an rv full time? I plan on getting a rv as itll be the easiest way to advance my career only I’m getting q great dane soon. They are lazy animals but there comfort is important. Qny advice for when you are living full time in such a space with an animal?

    • Hi Sarah,
      Honestly – I wouldn’t live in an RV with a Great Dane.
      Thanks for reading!


    • My family lived in a small apartment with a great dane. It worked well as long as he had his own space, which in my apartment was under the stairs, and had adequate time outside(even though he would use it to lounge most of the time). Although he was not hyper, he did appreciate walks and mental stimulation. It may not be recommended, but it is doable.

  8. I am new to your wonderful blog–the best information online I’ve seen so far! Keep offering your camping tips and to-date blogs. I just ordered the Pet Gentle for our Jack Russell/Mountain Kerr + hope for happy results.

  9. 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.

    • Hi Christina,
      You are absolutely correct and after reading your comment I updated my article immediately.
      Thanks so much for reading the article and taking the time to send your comment.


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