Keep You and Your RVing Dog Safe on the Road
Many of us can’t imagine life on the road without our canine co-pilots. For their safety, we must be aware of important dangers of RVing with dogs.
Dogs enhance our experiences in nature. They force us to take time and smell the flowers, to sit and savor the scenery and explore our surroundings when the time is right. But for all the joys of RVing with dogs, certain dangers lurk in this lifestyle that don’t exist in the real world.
Top 3 Dangers of RVing with Dogs
At best, these pet hazards can cost you a lot of money at the vet clinic. At worst, your pet’s life may be at risk. If you think of yourself as a responsible pet parent, you’ll want to avoid these common RVing dog dangers.
1. Don’t let your pooch drive the RV.
As parent to a high strung, intelligent German Shepherd who recently passed, I always worried that one day he would take his role as co-pilot a little too seriously. That’s why anytime we park our Dodge RAM, we put on the emergency break to ensure he doesn’t attempt a getaway.
After all, thousands of children have been known to accidentally hit a gearshift and send the vehicle into motion. Knowing my dog is as smart as the average two-year-old human, it makes sense that he’s capable of doing the same.
Setting the emergency brake seems like the common sense thing to do whether you’re driving a passenger car or RVing with children or pets. But I also know that after a long day’s drive, even little pet safety tasks like this are easily forgotten. And that’s exactly what happened to this poor guy in Texas:
Whatever kind of RV you drive, make it a habit to set the emergency brake. Better yet, don’t let your dog roam in the rig until you’re parked. Keep your pet confined in your RV with a safety-rated harness or carrier.
2. Don’t leave food unattended. Ever.
RVs make it easy for curious dogs to get into trouble. My dog’s muzzle could touch our dining room table and some days he considered it his own buffet tray. For example, one Thanksgiving day while camped in the desert, I baked two pies for our big celebration. Knowing my dog has a tendency to counter surf, I hid the pies behind an accordion curtain separating the kitchen from the bedroom. But I neglected to remember that a dog’s nose is far more powerful than the eyes.
We stepped outside for an hour to dine with friends. When we returned to fetch our pies, Wyatt’s face was covered in pumpkin filling. Only the crumbs of both pies remained. Luckily he was fine and didn’t require veterinary care, but this could have ended badly. Now, I never leave food out unless it’s behind a locked door.
3. Chill out on hot days.
Hot weather is the biggest danger for RVing dogs. Heatstroke happens all the time. If your air-conditioning goes out while you’re away from the RV and your dog is stuck inside, it’s a death sentence.
It might be winter now but it’s critical to be mindful of warm climates when you plan your RV trips. Don’t get caught by surprise if record-setting heat finds you along the way. After all, climate change impacts RVing more and more. Always take along every precaution to keep your dog cool. For example:
- Outfit your dog with a cooling vest to keep core body temperature down
- Consider installing a battery or DC-powered dog kennel fan inside the RV as a backup.
- Use a pet safety temperature sensor that sends phone notifications so you can make sure it doesn’t get too hot inside the RV while you are gone.
Perhaps the best tip for RVing with dogs in hot weather is just don’t leave your dog alone on super hot days at all. Find something you can do together instead.
I love seeing the world through my dog’s eyes. But I love having him around more than any great adventure. This lifestyle can be unpredictable but it doesn’t have to put a dog in peril. There’s plenty we can do to avoid preventable dangers of RVing with dogs.
Read more about RVing with dogs:
- 20 Must-Haves When RVing With Your Dog
- 5 Useful Items For RV Camping With Your Dog
- Camping With Dogs: 5 Useful Tips For RVing With Your Pet
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.