Keeping Your Pets Cool in Your RV in the Summer

The question is how do you keep your pets cool and comfortable in your RV when it’s the hot outside? An RV or camper can get hot really fast in the summer. So, it’s important to take certain safety precautions when leaving your pet alone in your motorhome or towable RV when you leave your RV to go exploring.

RVs, campers and even those big motorhomes can get extremely warm inside without air conditioning or proper ventilation. Even with the windows open, your RV can become a hot box and could potentially be a death trap for your pets inside.

So, if you’re headed to the hot climates or traveling during the hot summer temperatures, let’s jump right in and see how to keep your dogs, cats, and other pets comfortable in your RV.


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Keeping Your Pets Cool in Your RV in the Summer

Cool Pets - Dog Walker

Relocate to Cooler Climate

RV’s have wheels and what better reason to move your RV than to beat the heat? If the outside temperatures get risky for your and your pet’s health, relocating may be your only option.

And if you’re like us who enjoy boondocking, you may have to pull in the slides, start the engine and head to an RV park with electric to run your air conditioner. Or, you may just want to hook up and head for cooler climate.

But if neither of those are feasible solutions, here’s our recommendations.

Cool Pets - Cat Swimming

Take ’em for a swim!

If you’ve introduced your cats (did I just say CATS?) or dogs to swimming early, they’ll be super excited to go to the nearest watering hole.

Just make sure their new favorite swimming pool isn’t contaminated or has wildlife that may want to harm or eat your pets. But also, be respectful of other pets and their owners on public beaches or riverfront.  And please adhere to the rules if the signs state no pets allowed.

Cool Pets - Dog Sitter

Hire a Pet Sitter

If you’re going to be out for an extended period of time, you may want to hire your neighbor or trustworthy person to check on your pet(s) periodically at the campground.

If you’d rather hire a professional, check out DogVacay or Rover, the nation’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers. You may find one in your RV park’s or campground’s location.

Otherwise, you may look up a local pet sitter in your geographical location by asking the campground or RV park office for recommendations. Sometimes, there may be an pet sitter staying right in the campground.

Keep Your Pet Calm

When your pet is stressed, they will overheat.

If you leave your motorhome or towable camper for the day, make sure your dog or cat is calm and relaxed before you vacate. A great way to keep your dog from becoming restless is to turn on a radio or television.

Cool Pets - Cat Essential Oil Diffuser

In our case, if we are parked in a loud or chaotic park with outside noise, we will run our essential oils diffuser with either Young Living’s T-Away essential oil blend. This specially formulated blend is specifically for calming pets.

If you’re not into the essential oils, at least get a calming diffuser just for cats that plugs into your RV’s electrical outlet located near the floor. It mimics cat pheromone that helps with cat calming.

We do recommend trying this with your cat(s) before you leave for extended time periods to make certain your cat accepts it.

Run Your RV Air Conditioner

This means you’ll need to be either hooked up to an electric pedestal or have your generator on. Make certain you keep your air conditioners and venting system properly, cleaned, maintained and serviced to insure it will not fail while you’re away.

If you have to rely on your RV’s generator, make sure it’s working properly. Keep up with a consistent regular maintenance schedule. You’ll also need to keep plenty of generator fuel onboard to insure it won’t run out of fuel.

Also, before you leave, turn your air conditioner on or set it to turn on when it reaches a certain temperature. In addition to your RV air conditioner keeping your pets cool, it’s noise will drown out any outside noises that may stress them.

Cool Pets - Cat Drinking Water

Provide Lots of Drinking Water

Regardless of temperatures, your pets should always have access to clean, fresh drinking water.

Place their water bowls in different parts of your coach. That way, in case they spill one bowl, they have another as a backup. Oh, and put in a few ice cubes to cool their drink.

If you have a heavy water drinker, consider getting an automatic water fountain.

Cool Pets - Dog Fan

Give ’em Their Own Fan

Even if you have the air conditioner running in your RV, you’ll still want air circulation just in case your coach loses electric power.

We use our rechargeable small USB fans on the table and near their cat beds. We will plug them into full-charged battery banks. That way, if your RV air conditioner fails or your power goes out, those fans will still be one to help keep them cool. 

If your dogs are kennel-trained inside your motorhome or camper, you can wire-tie the fans to the outside of your pet taxi to keep them cool.

The fans have three fan speed settings and will last up to 8 hours run time on one battery charge depending on which speed setting.

If your pets are free-range inside your RV, place a larger battery-operated fan that won’t tip over.

Temperature monitor

There is a Bluetooth capable temperature and humidity detector sensor monitor that will send a text alert when your RV or camper interior gets too hot or humid.

Cooling Mats

Cooling mats are great for keeping your pets cool in their bed, kennel, favorite chair or on the floor. We bought self-cooling mats for our cat carriers. There are three different sizes so you can buy according to the sizes of your pet beds or kennels.

To protect our kitty’s cooling mats from potential potty accidents, hurling up a hairball or claw damage, we purchased easy-care, washable cooling mat covers.

Cool Pets - Dog and Cat in RV

Well, that wraps up this article about how to keep your pets cool in your RV or camper. We hope these RV tips help your pets stay comfortable in your motorhome, fifth wheel or camper while you’re out exploring.

For more pet related articles:

Campground Pet Etiquette: Camping Rules for Dogs and Cats

Cool Camping Gear for Dogs and Cats

How to Survive RVing with Cats

Stories of RV Nomad Pets with Special Needs


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4 Replies to “Keeping Your Pets Cool in Your RV in the Summer”

  1. Hi,

    My wife and I have been RVing since 2004. We just sold our Prevost Bus which we will miss dearly. Since this was a full size bus, it was difficult to take most places especially to the northeast US. Also, many RV parks don’t have the site to accommodate such a larger RV. We are looking into a class c unit such as the View. Could you give us some website dedicated to these units. Thank you.


    1. Hi Keith, thank you for reading! You may want to join the Facebook group specifically for View and Navion Owners. You can get a good grasp of the amazing help there and get questions answered. Check this site out: Winnebago View Specifications

      Hope your dream comes true and you get back on the road soon.

  2. These are great tips! There are going to be a few times that we won’t have hook-ups available, we have been considering buying a generator but can we leave the generator running while we are gone from the campground?

    1. Hi Allie, if you’re going to stay in a campground, make sure you ask permission on whether or not you can run your generator. If you’re boondocking, just be considerate and park away from others so the generator noise doesn’t bother your neighbors. Might we also suggest putting a note on your door with contact info should something happen (i.e. AC malfunction or go out, fire, etc.). Best wishes and safe travels!

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