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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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