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Leaving Our Dogs in the Winnebago

A question was recently posted on our Facebook page, and we always do our best to respond. In this case, the answer required more than a “Comment” – hence, this blog post.

Here’s the query:

“Would you write something about leaving pets safely in an RV while you’re out & about? What do you do about temperature, air and safety for both short & longer timeframes?”

This summer’s heat has been unbearable in many parts of the country, and I have read many tweets and several blog posts warning pet owners about the dangers of leaving fur-kids in cars. In a Fetching News post I even linked to a video showing it’s possible to bake cookies in a hot car!

We never liked leaving Ty and Buster in our other GoPetFriendly-mobile, a Toyota RAV4. We did on rare occasions when we were certain we’d only be gone for a short time and there were absolutely no temperature issues. And we’d make sure we could see the car at all times to guard against people teasing the boys. When the temps climbed on the warmer side, of course we’d open the windows a bit and leave the sunroof open to make sure there was plenty of ventilation.

The other GoPetFriendly-mobile

In the Winnebago, things are a bit different … we all think of the Winnebago as our home. And, as with most dogs, being left “home” creates less anxiety for Ty and Buster than leaving them in a parked car.

I also want to mention that we do not tow a vehicle – so our dogs always go where we go! But even if we did have another car to run around in, we would never leave our dogs unattended at a campground. First, it’s generally against the rules. Second, if you’ve been with our blog for long you know that Buster is a barker, and we’d probably be a stone’s throw away before one of us got call on our cell phone saying he was annoying our neighbors with his carrying on! (For the same reasons, we never leave Ty and Buster alone in a hotel room.)

Of course, the Winnebago is not a real house so we take precautions to ensure Ty and Buster’s safety. First, we never leave them without making sure they’ve had a long walk or a game of Chuck-it. Tired doggies sleep – and the last thing we’ll do is leave them with enough energy to bounce off the furniture or throw a party for their friends while we’re away!

Leaving the boys in the RV does give them a chance to get some work done!

Also, regulating the temperature is much easier in our RV than in a car. On hot days, we have shades for every window so we can block the sun. The coach windows also have screens so, with the shades down, we can crack open those windows without fear of Ty and Buster escaping.

In the front of the RV, there is a skylight that opens like a hatch. In the rear, a ceiling fan in the bathroom runs on our coach batteries and keeps fresh air circulating. There’s also a thermostat that we can check and verify that the inside temperature is comfortable.

(Note: For cold days, our Winnebago has a LP generator that runs a furnace. But so far in our travels, we have not experienced anything near freezing-like temperatures … and given Amy’s and my dislike for cold weather, it’s unlikely that we’ll face this circumstance any time soon!)

Even though it’s fairly easy to regulate the inside temperature of the Winnebago, it can still get too hot for the boys and on those days we simply do not leave them. How hot is too hot? I can’t give you a number – it depends on the humidity, any breeze, and available shade.

(Another note: Why is there never any shade at big box stores? “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot …”)

If there is any question as to whether your pets will be comfortable alone in your car, please don’t leave them. Whatever errand you have to run – it’s not important enough to endanger the life of your pet. Many times Amy and I have simply taken turns staying with Ty and Buster (air conditioning on) while the other fetches.

  • We travel in a Semi and many times we can't leave Pippi at the hotel (yeah I know that's against the rules, Pippi is quite as a mouse) we have her in the cab during a show. Semi's are designed to ventilate so we open the windows and put the fans one. We also have a large travel crate that Pippi and spend the day in under the exhibit.

  • I've always wondered how you handle this. Thanks for the insights.

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