Our pets are the primary reason that we started this lifestyle.
We knew we wanted to travel more, but the thought of leaving our fur babies alone for weeks, sometimes months at a time, made traveling more than once per year pretty unappealing. I’ll never forget the moment CJ suggested living in an RV and traveling the country. It was like everything shifted into place, and suddenly this dream of traveling seemed like it could actually come true without making the sacrifice of leaving our pets behind.
That being said, traveling in an RV with two dogs and a cat is not always easy. One of the biggest challenges we face while boondocking is keeping the pets cool. While one of the benefits of this lifestyle is the abilityto chase weather that is sunny and 75 with a cool breeze, life doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you end up in the middle of the desert in June and its scorching and 99.
When those times come, here are some relatively low-cost methods we’ve relied on to keep our furry family members (and ourselves as well) safe and cool.
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A miracle for heat relief in the dry desert. One of the easiest ways to keep everybody cool is spraying the pets (and ourselves) down with water from time to time. Having a spray bottle on hand is one of our favorite tricks to keeping our boys cool on those hot afternoons. Ideally, pick up a spray bottle with a battery operated fan for extra cooling power. This is the version we picked up at a Walmart our 2ndday on the road. It has been a lifesaver, however, the fan isn’t very powerful and you have to hold it pretty close to you to feel the breeze. However, Amazon has some fancier versions that may be more bang for your buck. Just search “spray bottle fan” and choose your favorite.
Once again, evaporation comes in clutch with cooling neckwear. We picked up our Buff Dog Reflective Neckwear
from a small hiking shop in Utah and it has been a LIFESAVER. They stay wet for somewhere between 1-3 hours and keep them quite a bit cooler. While these are made for dogs, we use it for our cat too. While he hated it in the beginning, he stopped minding when he realized how much cooler he was with it on.
Amazon has lots of options that are available for prime shipping. You can find more options (sizes, colors, etc) by searching for “Dog cooling collar.” In the search bar. If I were to buy more, I would probably go for these tying bandanas. They’re cute and adjustable, meaning we wouldn’t have to improvise by using Fitz’s belly instead of his neck.
While these options will stay cooler longer, a good old fashioned bandana, or even a cut up towel would do the trick in a pinch.
One of the things we make sure we always have for hot desert days are ice packs in the freezer. We have a couple different kinds- The kind pictured on O’malley to the left (aint he cute)- wrap-able gel bead filled ones with Velcro, that we can wrap around their backs (here is another version of the ones we have with clay instead of gel beads)
and ice pack blankets that we can wrap in a towel on the floor for them to choose to lay on if they get too hot.
While these are the two options we choose, almost any ice pack will do. Ice packs are easy to find in almost any drug or general store
Just as a disclaimer, we have not tried one of these as I didn’t even know they existed until I was creating this blog. However, I can see how they would be super helpful on warm days. Most options have a pressure activated cooling gel pad underneath the surface that keeps the bed 5-10 degrees below room temperature.
Amazon carries a multitude of options, ranging in sizes and price. This bed from Coleman is probably the option we would go with. It’s less pricey than some of the other options, looks like it would store well, and Coleman is a reputable brand. This is something we will probably invest in in the future.
Please keep in mind that different pets have varying heat tolerances. Breed, size/ventilation of your rig, as well as how well adapted your pets are to the heat, all play a role in their tolerance. Even with these cooling tips, we do not recommend leaving your pets alone in a car, van or RV without supervision in high temperatures.
Happy Camping y’all!