Should You Leave Your Dog In Your RV?
All the Reasons You Should Stick by Your Dog
RVing is all about traveling the country to see new and exciting places with your friends and family. So, of course you’ll want to bring along your four-legged friend for the fun. According to the RV Industry Association, 68 percent of RVers bring a pet along on their trip and most (92 percent) are dog people.
However, RVing with a dog presents new sets of challenges. One big one—leaving your dog alone in your RV. Should you do it? The short answer is no.
Several factors are at play when it comes to leaving your dog alone. And, each one adds up to it being better to take your dog along or having a member of your party stay behind to ensure your dog is safe, healthy, and happy.
It’s Just Not Cool
Anyone who RVs regularly knows that the weather is unpredictable. What might start out as a comfortable 70-degree day, can quickly turn into a blistering triple-digit scorcher with high humidity. These conditions are unsafe as it is outside but can be deadly indoors for a dog or pet in an unventilated space.
A pet is considered to be experiencing hyperthermia (heat stroke) if its body temperature exceeds 103°F, according to VCA Hospitals. This temperature can be reached in as little as 30 minutes in the wrong conditions in some breeds.
Most RVs come with air conditioning and ventilation, which might lead you to believe your dog will be safe. But you can’t rely on these systems. Air conditioning units can fail, and campgrounds can experience power outages. And, even with ventilation, internal RV temperatures can rise quickly and to dangerous levels for your dog.
Rules are Rules
Most campgrounds and RV Parks have rules stating that dogs and pets can’t be left alone or unattended. And, unattended doesn’t just mean chained to a tree outside your camper. It also means alone in your RV.
Some of the rules are in accordance with state laws, so it’s not just the campground’s preference. Disobeying these rules can result in everything from a simple reminder or reprimand up to and including restrictions from the facility.
Before visiting a campground or RV park with your dog, make sure to review its list of rules and regulations, especially as they pertain to pets. Each will have its own unique list of requirements and it’s always good to come prepared.
Dogs are, by and large, sociable creatures. They love being around their humans and other dogs, so when you leave them alone (as we sometimes must do) they can experience separation anxiety. According to the ASPCA, symptoms of separation anxiety include everything from barking and howling to urinating and defecating, and, in some extreme cases, escaping.
Your dog might not have experienced separation anxiety but taking them on an RV road trip in a new environment (an RV) they are not familiar with could trigger it. It is better to play it safe and take your dog with you. They’ll enjoy the scenery and fresh air just as much, if not more, than you.
When You Just Can’t Take Your Dog with You
Maybe you’re on a solo adventure and have to get groceries at a “no pets allowed” establishment. Maybe you want to go eat with your family at a sit-down restaurant. There are plenty of situations where your dog just can’t come along no matter how badly you (and they) would like to. In these instances, you can try some of the following to ensure your dog is safe while you are away.
- Make it Quick – Fifteen minutes or less at a nearby stop should decrease the risk of anything happening, especially if temperatures are mild and your dog is stocked with food, water, and anything else to make it comfortable.
- Find a Friend – Maybe someone you’ve met at the campground or a member of your party can stay behind with your dog during your errand or trip. You can also see about asking an employee at the campground. Most workers will jump at the chance to spend some time with a furry friend. And, the worst thing they can say is no.
- Doggy Day-Care – If you’re on an extended RV getaway or possibly RVing full time, consider looking up a local doggy day-care center near you. Most will take your dog for the day or even half a day which is convenient for those times you’d like to explore cities or locations that aren’t so pet-friendly.
- Prep Your Pet – Prior to leaving your dog alone, take them for a walk. This will relieve some pent-up energy and make it more likely they relax (and hopefully nap) during your time away. Also, stock up your RV with food, water, and plenty of toys. You can invest in some technology help. Consider getting a cooling dog bed, a wireless temperature monitor, and a pet camera and monitor.