Should you or Shouldn't you Leave a Pet in Your RV
Travel With Dogs

Pup on the Road! Leaving Pets in RV: Should You or Shouldn’t You?


The only thing better than traveling the world is doing so with a furry friend! But bringing your pets along in your travels can pose challenges when you begin to consider logistics and safety. If you’re traveling in an RV, is it safe to leave pets inside?

It’s typically not safe to leave pets inside your RV unattended. Risks include making your dog or other campers unhappy, breaking campground rules, and even dangerous weather potentially killing your dog.

When you’re on the road, pets traveling inside a travel trailer are a definite no-no. And when otherwise traveling, make sure your pets are buckled in!

But sometimes, when the conditions are right, it is okay to leave your pet in your RV for short periods of time. Let’s discuss what the right conditions look like—and what to do if you have to leave your pet alone.

Is it safe to leave a pet in an RV?

Whether or not to leave a pet in an RV depends on the situation, but here are some quick guidelines:

  • If your pet is in a moving vehicle, they should always be restrained.
  • Never leave your pet alone in an RV for an extended period of time.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a travel trailer while it’s moving.
  • RVs heat up very quickly—don’t leave your pet alone in one when it’s hot. (Even if you have air conditioning!)
  • Conversely, don’t leave your pet alone in an RV if it’s very cold outside.
  • If your pet has separation anxiety or behavioral issues, think twice before leaving them alone in an RV.
  • Check campground rules before leaving your pet in your RV unattended.

We’ll go more into depth on these, and more, below.

Can a dog stay in the RV while you’re driving?

Should You Leave Your Pet In Your RV

Dogs can stay in RVs while you’re driving, just like people!

However, you should never allow your pet to roam freely in a moving RV. It simply isn’t safe.

If you get into an accident, an unrestrained pet will be tossed around and could face death or serious injury.

You also don’t want your pet rubbing against you while you’re driving, climbing into your lap, or otherwise distracting you. This could cause accidents and endangers everyone on the road.

So, how should you restrain your pet in a moving RV?

Luckily, it’s the same as restraining them in cars. You have a variety of options, from harnesses that serve as seatbelts to kennels that are fixed in place so they won’t be thrown around if the worst happens, and your RV crashes.

Can my dog ride in the travel trailer?

Leaving Dog In RV

Your dog absolutely cannot ride in your travel trailer.

Just as you wouldn’t allow a human family member to ride in the travel trailer, you shouldn’t leave your pet inside while you’re driving.

This is primarily unsafe due to temperature regulation. Travel trailers heat up just like cars. You won’t have the air running, and you aren’t inside to see how hot it’s getting, so leaving your pet inside alone is a terrible idea.

If your pet is inside unsecured, you run into a whole other host of issues.

When you’re pulling a travel trailer, keep your pet inside your running vehicle—your car, van, or truck—with the rest of the family.

And, just like in a drivable RV, make sure your pet is restrained to help prevent serious injuries if you crash.

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

Should You Leave Your Pet in RV

This is quite a controversial question!

However, the short answer is no. In most conditions, it’s not okay to leave your pet unattended in your RV.

But what are the right conditions?

Make sure it’s not too hot!

On hot days, leaving your dog in an RV is similar to leaving them in a car. We’ve all seen the sad stories on the news when irresponsible pet owners do this!

Remember, it doesn’t have to be extraordinarily hot outside in order for a car (or RV) interior to reach dangerous temperatures.

Though you can turn on the air conditioner in your RV, you never know when it may cut out. Your personal air conditioner may stop working, or the campground may have problems. It’s unlikely you’ll know until it’s too late—your RV will heat up quicker than you think.

There are various ways to stay informed. You can use a system that notifies you of the RV temperature on your phone or ask to be contacted if there’s a problem at the campground.

However, these only work if you’re close by and constantly monitoring the problem—and if you really trust that person to remember to contact you!

So, these systems may work if you’re leaving for a very short period of time. But it’s better to avoid leaving your dog alone in dangerous temperatures altogether.

Make sure it’s not too cold!

Sometimes we think about it less, but cold weather can be just as dangerous to dogs as sitting in the heat.

If you wouldn’t leave your dog outside in the current weather, it’s not a good idea to leave them alone in your RV either.

Make sure your dog will behave!

Others at the campground probably don’t want to hear your dog barking the entire time you’re away. If your dog has problem barking behaviors, don’t leave them unattended in your RV.

It’s okay if they bark a little, but too much is going to annoy your fellow guests—and you may have complaints from staff or campground neighbors when you get back!

Don’t leave nervous dogs alone

You know your dog better than anyone, so you know whether or not they’ll get nervous when you’re gone. If your dog has separation anxiety, don’t leave them by themselves in your RV.

Your neighbors and campground staff likely won’t appreciate it if your pup’s nerves cause them to misbehave.

But most importantly, your pup is going to be unhappy the entire time you’re away. The RV and campground are already unfamiliar places for most dogs, which only escalates the fear your dog will be feeling.

Don’t go far!

You should never be far away from your unattended dog when traveling. If something goes wrong, you will have no way of getting back to them.

Even if you have the best-behaved dog ever and you’ve left them with everything they need, something can go wrong.

It’s simply not worth the risk.

Check your campground’s rules!

Many campgrounds don’t allow unattended dogs—though, as you can see in the discussion linked above, the meaning of this phrase is debatable.

When in doubt, ask an employee if it’s okay to leave your dog in your RV.

If they say no, respect that. You’re on their grounds, and sometimes they know something you don’t.

The last thing you want is to break the rules, only to find out there’s a good reason for them. (Like their air conditioning having a tendency to go out!)

What Should I do with my Dog While I’m Gone?

Whenever possible, you should just take your dog with you! After all, isn’t the point of bringing them along to share the journey with them?

However, if your activities for the day are strictly people-only, you do have options that don’t require leaving your dog in your RV for hours at a time.

See if your campground or anyplace nearby offers doggy daycare services! This way, your pup will be taken care of, and they’ll also be able to have their own adventures while you’re away.

Now that we’ve gone over what you should and shouldn’t do when traveling in an RV with your pet, you can confidently explore the world with your fur baby. Tell us: where are you going next?