Dog in RV

Expert Advice

Pet Safety Monitoring while Rving

Jerome Braga shares his tips on how to monitor your pet when leaving them in the RV to make sure they are safe and comfortable.

When leaving your pet behind in your RV, take proper precautions to keep them safe and comfortable while you are gone. While exploring the area, things will indeed happen to the RV. RV parks are notorious for power disruptions, water interruptions, and unexpected weather. Leaving your pet behind in the RV presents some challenges to be aware of. I'm going to share with you some of the monitoring systems we use when leaving behind our buddy in the RV.

We currently monitor for live weather alerts, temperature variations inside the RV, and visual monitoring inside and outside. I know that sounds a little crazy initially, but each monitoring system is pretty awesome as it alerts us for many more things than just our pup.

First is this excellent little GPS-controlled device from HazardCallRV. This system is a minimalistic GPS tracker placed in your RV, and unlike a weather alert from your phone, this texts you a warning about the weather at your RV.

It is an annual fee because cell service is built into it, so it's entirely self-sufficient. What if you are an hour away from the RV? Your phone won't tell you if lightning or hail is happening at your RV's location. You could potentially be an hour away at this point, and there isn't a ton you can do, but you can at least check in on your pet via camera and make some decisions from there.

There are dozens and dozens of online camera/security systems that you can easily use in an RV. However, there are some considerations when using a 'house' system in your RV. The most apparent drawback as we see it is that most systems rely on two things that aren't always guaranteed in the RV. Good Wi-Fi and AC/Power. Most security system base units rely on a solid internet connection and must always be plugged into the AC power. We have researched and decided on our system as the cameras are battery-powered and will work if there is no RV power. There are others out there as well that work the same. The 12-volt system in the RV also powers our entire Wi-Fi network.

It is one thing you would need to consider with home cameras/security systems.

If we get a significant weather alert, we can check in on Chance to see if he's ok, as well as check our outside cameras to see if we need to come back home.

A connected monitoring system is essential for RVing with pets. While weather alerts and video monitoring security systems are a great piece of the puzzle, temperature awareness is the most critical risk factor for leaving your pet alone. It is commonly reported that a dog can suffer heatstroke in less than 30 minutes if the temperature inside an RV becomes dangerously high. So whether you're out grocery shopping or hiking in an area where dogs aren't permitted, a pet temperature monitor is essential for your pet's safety.

There are a few different options on the market that we have used and do use and fall into two categories—cellular and Wi-Fi.

Cellular units are more expensive and need a subscription (cellular plan), but they aren't reliant on your RV's wireless connectivity, which makes them more reliable. Wi-Fi temperature monitors are more straightforward and less expensive to operate; however, they rely on that Wi-Fi network within your RV. And remember, if it is run off AC power, and the power goes out… so does your monitoring.

Wireless options like this Temp Stick have no subscription fees, easy setup, and rely on your RV network to communicate. They are proudly made in the USA and will tell you temperature and humidity statistics via the free app.

MarCell is another system similar to the Temp Stick in form and function but runs off a cellular network. This device adds a bonus monitoring feature that alerts you if you lost power to your RV. A small monthly fee is associated with keeping the active cellular network up and running but a great solution if you don't have faith in your Wi-Fi options. This system has an integrated battery backup power in case the RV loses AC power and can run for up to two days on that battery if needed.

One of the most popular brands of pet monitors available is the Waggle, and it operates most similarly to MarCell but with the option of GPS Tracking and Geofence Alerts. These features will notify you where your RV has moved to and if it is out of its set location. (Kind of like a theft monitor also) The battery life on the Waggle is much better than others, with the average being about 4-8 days of power depending on GPS usage or not. This makes for an impressive length of time to use while boondocking off-grid or during extended power losses.

Simple plug-and-play Wi-Fi camera systems are other options for monitoring your pets while you are gone. There are wide varieties out there, and they are often self-contained. Usually, all you need is the camera, Wi-Fi, and an app on your phone. Next, you have to plug into power, and they will connect to your Wi-Fi network. The critical element here is 'plug into power. Yes, these Wi-Fi cameras usually need to be connected to power, and if that goes down, so does your whole system. Unless you have your Wi-Fi and cameras connected to 12 volt RV power, you will have no information when you need it most.

Now say that there is an emergency at your RV, and your systems all did what they are supposed to. You could contact a neighbor or the RV park office if you had to. (we often exchange contact info with our neighbors via business cards) You can tell them about the emergency and ask that they enter your RV.

We have also installed RV Lock remote access keypad locks on our doors so that if we need to contact someone to investigate, we can give them a guest access code to our keypad safely remove our pup if needed. Another great hack we've seen is to print our emergency contact information phone numbers on the RV door. If you are ever away from your pet and someone needs access, they can contact you quickly in an emergency.

That said, there is a lot to consider when monitoring your pet. Keeping them safe should be your number one priority while you are away. Find which tools work best for you and enjoy safer trips with your pets. 

The Braga Family

Our One Chance

The Bragas are a family of 4 (plus their dog Chance), RVing since 2013. When life hit them with several close friends' tragedies, the Bragas knew they needed to live a more fulfilled life. So, with snowcapped mountains and warm sandy beaches on their mind, the Bragas hit the road in 2015 with a bucket list dream of experiencing the quintessential cross-country road trip. However, they never thought that what they assumed would be their 1 Chance to experience such a life-changing journey would become a lifestyle mission. They began vacationing in 2013 in a renovated travel trailer; simply as an opportunity to get out and explore while keeping their environment safe from deadly food allergies that plague their youngest daughter. What started as a simple winter getaway has turned into a journey that keeps getting more fulfilling at every passing exit ramp. They can be found online at and on social media at @our1chance