Keeping Your Pets Cool in Your RV in the Heat

It’s important to take certain safety precautions when leaving your pet alone in your RV or camper while you go exploring. But during the hot summer months, it’s imperative to have the right tools and know how to keep your pets cool and comfortable when it’s hot outside.

RVs and campers, even those big cushy motorhomes can get extremely warm inside without air conditioning or 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, you’ll want to be assured that your pets will be safe and healthy during your absence.

Here’s our list of ways to keep your dogs, cats, birds, gerbils, or other pets comfortable in your RV.

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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? You love your pet and why not make sure they’re comfortable. 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.

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 through Yelp or by asking the campground or RV park office for recommendations. Sometimes, there is an onboard pet sitter staying right near you.

Cool Pets - Dog Sitter

Keep Your Pet Calm

When your pet is stressed, they tend to 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 or hearing exterior noise is to turn on a radio, television or some sort of noise maker.

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.

Cool Pets - Cat Essential Oil Diffuser

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 generator, you’ll need to keep it in tip top shape by adhering to a consistent maintenance schedule. You’ll also need to keep plenty of fuel onboard; whether it’s propane or gasoline.

Either way, make certain before you leave that you 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 also is an awesome tip to drown out the outside noise. It will help distract them from barking or becoming stressed from unfamiliar outside noises.

Cool Pets - Cat Drinking Water

Provide Lots of Drinking Water

Regardless of temperatures, your pets should always have access to clean, fresh drinking water. You may want to place bowls in different parts of your coach. That way, in case they spill one bowl, they have another. Oh, and I’m sure they’d love a few ice cubes to cool off their drink. If you have a heavy drinker, consider getting an automatic water fountain.

Cool Pets - Dog Fan

Give ’em Their Own Fan

Even if you have the AC running in your RV, you’ll want air circulation just in case your coach loses power. We bought these small USB fans that we charge up prior to our leaving and then leave them on next to our cat beds.

If you kennel your dogs, you can wire-tie them to the outside of your pet taxi to keep them cool. They have three fan speed settings. They will last up to 8 hours run time on one battery charge depending on which speed setting.

To keep your pets cool on the floor, we recommend this good battery-operated fan that won’t tip over. They are best placed away from direct contact with your pet’s bed to detract them from being comfortable.

Get a temperature monitor

There are temperature monitors that will text the user if it gets too hot or when the power fails. However, your cell and WiFi signal may not be reliable for a monitoring system.

There is also a Bluetooth capable temperature and humidity monitoring device that will alert you when your RV interior gets too hot or humid.

Though we don’t use it, we’ve heard they work very well.

Also, this article talks about the different kinds of temperature monitoring systems for both computer monitored or phone monitored.

Get them Cooling Mats

Cooling mats are to keep your pets cool anywhere you take them; whether its in their bed, kennel, in their favorite chair or on the floor. We bought self-cooling mats for our cat carriers for travel days so they are comfortable riding with us. There are three different sizes so you can buy according to your pet bed or kennel sizes. They can also be used alone on the floor.

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

Well, that wraps up our blog piece about how to keep your pets cool in your RV or camper. We hope our RV tips help your dog or cat (or even exotic) stay comfortable and stress-free in your motorhome, fifth wheel or camper while you enjoy exploring and your RV adventures.

Cool Pets - Dog and Cat in RV

For more pet related blog posts that may interest you…

RVing with Pets

14 Tips on Keeping your RV Cool in the Summer


DISCLAIMER: All of the products we have listed in this blog are what we use. Though we may recommend them, we will not be held liable or be held responsible for product malfunction, product failure, personal injury, product quality and control issues or damage to your RV or vehicle from using any or all of these products. As always, ‘buyer beware’. Research all products before using them on your RV or vehicle. Always read manufacturers’ manuals, warnings and disclosures.

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

  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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