Can I Leave My Dog in the RV Alone?

RVing is has been growing in popularity among pet owners over the past few years.  Being able to travel with your favorite fur buddy means that you get to hit the road and explore new places together!  Many hotels don’t allow pets, or if they do they can charge up to $100/night on top of your room rate just to have your dog share your room!  No wonder that so many road travelers turn to RVing as a cost-effective and fun way to travel with their pets. Many campgrounds allow dogs and some even have doggy parks for your pup to meet other camping dogs! Always check ahead of time to ensure the campsite you want to stay at is dog-friendly.

While, the whole reason to take your dog along with you in an RV is so that you don’t have to be apart, sometimes it is necessary for you to be away from your RV without your dog.  Whether it’s a run into the grocery store for supplies or on a hike where dogs aren’t permitted, you may ask:

Is it safe to leave a dog unattended in an RV?

In an ideal world, you would never leave your dog alone – especially in an RV. The small enclosed area of your camper is easily subjected to temperature swings – just like your car – it can superheat or get frosty cold. In addition, if your dog is anxious to be left alone, it can become destructive to the living space or bark nonstop. If you wouldn’t leave your dog alone inside your own home, do not leave them alone – for any reason – in your RV.

If your dog is trained and can handle short periods alone without their human, you can set up your RV to allow them short stints alone while you make a quick errand like the grocery store, postal office, or supply store.

Can you leave your dog unattended in an RV at a campground?

If you need to leave your dog inside your RV while at a campground, the first thing you need to check are the campground rules for pets. Many campgrounds have a ‘no dogs left unattended’ rule. This is a rule set in place due to the number of dogs that bark constantly when left alone which annoys neighboring campsites. If you think there may be a time your dog will need to be left in your camper, check the dog rules of your campground before making reservations.

Safety precautions before leaving your dog unattended in your RV

If leaving your dog alone in your RV is unavoidable, there are the important things you can do to help ensure your dog’s safety and comfort while you are away from the camper.

Exercise your dog before you leave them alone in the RV.

A tired dog is a quiet dog. Take your dog for a nice long walk to burn off any excess energy as well as spending some quality bonding time together. While you are away from your camper, the idea is that your dog will sleep or rest quietly until you return.

Leave plenty of water

Make sure you’ve set out fresh water for your dog when they are unattended in your RV.

Install an RV indoor temperature monitoring system that links to your phone

Even if you aren’t worried about hot or cold temperatures, its imperative that you are able to know the exact temperature inside your RV when you have dogs alone in the RV. There have been tragic cases of pets dying of heat stroke due to soaring temperatures inside the camper. Similarly, cold temperatures can hurt pets too.

Set up your RV generator auto-starting system

Newer RVs have auto start features on generators that sense power outages and kick in the generator. Older RVs may need an upgrade to their system. With an auto-start generator, you can be confident that if the power goes out while you are away, the A/C will still work and keep your dog safe and cool.

Install indoor security cameras with Wi-Fi link to your phone

You can a few cameras inexpensively that link to an app on your phone so that you can keep a constant eye on your pet inside your RV. Some systems even have a speaker system that allow you to ‘talk’ with your dog from your phone.

Close all windows and pull shades before you leave your dog alone in the RV

In order to keep your dog calm and quiet while you are away from the RV, keep outside noises and light to a minimum. Keep the AC on to a comfortable temperature and turn off lights inside your camper. Its naptime for Fido!

Leave the TV or radio on for comforting white noise for your dog inside the camper

Having music playing or the TV on while you are away is a good way to keep your dog calm when he’s alone in the RV. Fun note: the Scottish SPCA published a research paper a few years ago concluding that dogs appear to prefer reggae and soft rock over other genres of music! Now you know.

Add pet rescue stickers to door window of your RV

In case of emergency while you are away from your RV, have pet rescue stickers that note the number and types of pets that are inside. Include your cell phone number as well so that someone can call you if they see a disturbance.

Mountain Mat USA

Jennifer Hillberg is the Founder and Creator of Mountain Mat, LLC, the USA’s first 100% recycled plastic, reversible, outdoor recreation mat. As an avid outdoor recreationalist, Jennifer has hiked and camped in some of the world’s most remote places alongside her husband and three children. Learn more about The Mountain Mat Story.