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Your RV Can Murder Your Pet. Here’s How To Stop It

(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)

Kelly's dog Trixie

Heat can kill. Panting is all dogs can do to try to cool off.

Spending time with loved ones in your RV is the American Dream. If you are reading this, loved ones includes your pets.

Isn’t going on a hike with your best four-legged friend(s) the best? Many of us love bringing our little buddies with us when RVing.

However, even when we bring them along, sometimes we have to leave them behind in the RV while we go out.


Because there are many parks, hikes, restaurants, and other places that don’t allow pets.

For that and other various reasons, you may need to occasionally leave them in the RV while you explore.

(FULL DISCLOSURE:  On May 13th, 2019, we accepted an offer for a MarCELL RV temperature monitor test unit as it was the perfect product for Kelly's pups. We received the pet temperature monitor shortly after that. Kelly has been using and LOVING it ever since. It's total peace of mind for keeping your pets safe.)

Jane Noye's cat looking out RV window

RVers Harold and Martha's cat, Judy. Judy wants to come out and chase the mice in the campground. Not Fair!

Sure, you could leave them back at home and get a sitter or board them.

But this is likely more costly than bringing them and using what we will show you in this article.

More on cost comparison later.

That said, if you’re reading this, likely you are the type who wants to bring their pet with them on the fun RV journey (We get it).

Jane Noye's cats

None of Jane's kitties (and one dog) get left behind. No way!

However, leaving your pets in the RV while you are away can sometimes be a deadly game.

Of what danger are we talking? Frikin' HEAT.

'I'm So Sorry I Accidentally Killed You'

DON'T BE THIS PERSON! Pet death by overheating in an RV is totally avoidable.

An RV is not too much different than a car. It will heat up in the sun. Quickly. Even with windows open.

The smaller the RV, the faster it is likely to heat up.

Two big dogs and cat looking out RV door

Photo courtesy of Tiffany Shetka. She and Paul have quite the crew! here

You may feel like it’s OK and safe to leave your pets in your RV if you are plugged in at a campground with the air conditioner on. 

If this is you, think again.

Think Your AC Is The Solution? Think Again!

7/23/19- Even as I was writing this article, a friend left her dog in her Class C RV with the camper's air conditioner on in a campground in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The forecast was in the mid-'90s.  She went out for the day, confident that the AC would keep her dog cool.


She came back to find her pup very hot and panting in a temperature likely above 100 degrees.

(The thermostat only showed to 90, and the needle was off the scale to the right.)

Her RV AC was ON AND WORKING.  Still, it didn't keep up. She was devastated, knowing she inadvertently could have killed her beloved pet. 

The dog was panting, but luckily, she turned out OK.

I know this person pretty well, and I know she loves the hell out of her dog and would NEVER do anything to hurt her.

This kind of thing can happen to anyone if the proper precautions aren't taken, as in this case. She was lucky. 

Had her AC died, she wouldn't have known. Her dog would have died a miserable death.

If she'd had a pet temperature monitor, it would have warned her about the rising temperature in her RV.

Power outlets (especially in campgrounds) are notorious for having electrical issues. A brownout, an outage, or a spike could cause your motorhome AC to shut off and not turn back on.

These possibilities, depending on the temperature, shade, and more, could cause the temps to rise quickly inside of your RV.

Additionally, your RV air conditioner may suddenly not be able to keep up with the heat (like the story above), or the compressor could fail while you are away.

In case you missed elementary school, very high temperatures are 100% deadly to animals and people.

Giant Gizmo behind mountain in Crested Butte

Giant Gizmo (who hasn't died of heat exhaustion, or from a sparrow taking off with her) says Hi!

Any time you leave your pet in the RV, especially in the summer, you should be HYPER-AWARE that your pets could quickly die in the heat of your RV.

The problem is, if you’re away, how do you know what the temperature is inside the RV?

You could get a camera and a temperature gauge inside the RV and monitor it remotely. But what if you have just a little ADD (like me, though I have a LOT), and you forget to check?

Dead pets could ensue.

The most reliable way to have total peace of mind regarding your RV temperature is to use a cellular pet temperature monitor.

Camp Addict found one (technically, it was introduced to us), and we LOVE it.

Its name is MarCELL.

Gizmo with Marcell in background

Gizmo approves!

Introducing The MarCELL

The MarCELL is a pet temperature monitoring device for RVs or homes.

Additionally, it monitors the power supply it is connected to for outages.

Kelly holding MarCell

Definitely one of my favorite new RV pet hacks! The MarCELL.

If you have it plugged into your 120-volt system (shore power), you will know if your RV has lost power.

Stats can be checked online when you sign into their website.

I rarely check online, though.

Still, it's there if you want to check the actual connection, temperature, and humidity.

MarCell software screen shot

Screenshot of the MarCELL website showing my current stats.

Your MarCELL temperature monitor automatically notifies you (via email, text, or phone call- your choice) of any one of four conditions:

  1. Power failure (The MarCELL for RVs has a battery backup, so in the event of power failure, it will still warn you of a temperature event over your set temp for a certain number of hours. )
  2. Temperature above your set MarCELL high temperature
  3. Temperature below your set MarCELL low temperature
  4. Humidity out of range
Gizmo and MarCell

Gizmo is VERY excited about you getting a lifesaving MarCELL for your pet(s)!

It keeps track of all this using its own cellular connection. (You do NOT need WiFi for it to work)

You must be in the range of cellular service for it to work.

When you sign up, you have two provider options: AT&T or Verizon.

Verizon & ATT logo

With the MarCELL, you don’t have to actively check the temperature.

It will notify you automatically and immediately when any parameters are out of range.

(I recommend setting your temperature LOWER than a critical temperature. This allows you time to get back home to take measures before it's deadly hot.)

Initially, I set my MarCELL temperature monitoring system a bit low to test and see if it would warn for a commonly expected temperature. 

(Which it did almost immediately. Because I was accidentally sitting on it, LOL!)

I think I had the test temperature set at 82 degrees.

MarCELL notified me of this 'high temp' every time, which was often.

Now I have it set at a 'real' 90 degrees in my camper.

Marcell device

My tester MarCELL plugged into my 12v system, actively monitoring temperature and power.

If the power goes out or if the temperature or humidity goes out of range while camping, MarCELL will automatically notify you.

We LOVE that there’s nothing for you to monitor.

The MarCELL does all the work for you.

UPDATE: As of June 20th, 2020, MarCELL has (potentially) officially saved both my dogs' lives! I left to go to the hardware store, forgetting that I had shut off the AC. UGH!

I ALSO happened to forget to vent my RV, which I ALWAYS do on a hot day when I have to rely on the AC to keep things cool (In Florida now). Well, I got a notification that it was 93 degrees in my RV. I rushed home to an RV that was 96 degrees. 

Had I stayed out for a couple more hours, my girls may have died or been extremely heat stressed. Yes, I have changed the warning temp to a much lower temp.

Is It Safer/Cheaper To Leave My Pet Back At Home?

Schyler's dog Scout with bones

Schyler's dog Scout has CRAZY beautiful blue eyes! Oh, he loves to find bones, too. It's his jam. This one would NOT be happy being left behind. 

You could leave your furry (or scaly?) friends at home if you take off for a week or two in your RV.

But then you will need a sitter or a kennel.

And you won't have your best friend(s) with you!

Usually, with cats, you can leave them home alone for a few days.

That's one way you could go.

(But sucks if you wanted to bring them along.)

PS- I used to work in a kennel.

From that experiences, there is NO way I will ever leave any of my fur-babies in one now if I can help it.

Anyway, who wants to PAY to put their pet through the stress of being caged with constant loud/fearful barking going on around them?

It’s confusing and stressful for your fur babies.

Dog in cage

NO animals like to be boarded. Understandable. Who wants to be put in a cage against their will?

Boarding or a sitter- both are going to cost you a pretty penny.

According to Home Guide, kenneling a pet averages $40 per night and about $140 for a week.


If you are worried about bringing them with you because of the heat, worry no more.

Get a MarCELL.

Cost Comparison: MarCELL VS Boarding

Trixie running thru grass field

This is a dog who would much rather be out running around near the Tetons than jailed at a kennel.

The MarCELL device retails for $199.

Because it comes with its own cellular plan, it has a monthly cellular fee.

(No need for WiFi in your RV or to be in the range of a WiFi network, but you do need to have a signal from the cellular provider you chose.)

You can choose your plan. You can pay all year (12 months) or even part of the year. Plans range from $8.25 per month to $14.95 per month.

Oh, you don’t want to pay a monthly fee for temperature monitoring?  Before you write it off, let’s compare the MarCELL cost to boarding.

If you go on just two weeks of RV travel per year, and have two dogs, boarding will add up (and will cost more than a MarCELL.)

Let’s do the math:

Kennel= $560

Two dogs + two weeks= $140 per dog per week.

That’s $280 per dog times two weeks.

(You might get a bit of a discount for a second dog, so we will just say $140, which might be a little on the high end/worst-case scenario.)

Calculation of 280x2

Without a discount, that’s $560 for boarding.

WITH a discount, you’re paying $420.

MarCELL= $258.75

Let’s say you only RV during the summer months. You choose the seasonal MarCELL plan, which is 4-8 months at $11.95/month.

You pick a 5-month plan because you like to RV in the early spring and again in the fall. 5 months at $11.95 equals $59.75.

Your upfront device cost is $199.

(OR only $179 with your Camp Addict discount code! Find that code later in this post.)

That's $199+$57.95.

Total for MarCELL = $256.95.

(Of course the next year you won’t have the $199 cost. You only pay the subscription fee, so it's WAY less.)

Totals- Kennel: $560, MarCELL: $256.95

Winner: MarCELL!

Scott and Jaime's dog Crosby

Scott and Jaime's dog, Crosby. He's got a killer camp "chair"!

So, why not simply bring them and spend half of what you'd pay for a kennel?

Your fur babies wouldn't have to go through the stress of being in a loud horrible boarding facility.

You would also have peace of mind knowing your pets won’t get too hot at home in your RV. It’s a no-brainer. This peace of mind is TOTALLY worth it.

Bonus- it’s half as expensive as boarding your two pets!

Double Bonus- if you are running your fridge on 120-volts, and the power goes out, you'll know it.

Therefore, you won't lose an entire fridge worth of groceries if you get home soon enough to fix it!

Schyler's dog Scout hanging out RV window

Scout "hanging around" Schyler's Class C rig. 

Let’s not forget, the MarCELL can also be used in your home (or anywhere else you choose) while you are not traveling.

Additionally, you can get a “puck” accessory for the device that detects water.

If you have a basement with pipes that could leak, or have a vacation house that needs some monitoring, the pucks will alert you if water is present.

Like, Boom.

Lisa and Dan's kitties in cupboard

Dan and Lisa's kitties,  Kandi and Krissie fooling around in the RV cabinets. SO cute!

It's A No-Brainer

Did I already say “no-brainer”? I did, and yeah, I did that on purpose. It’s just that I love using the term. So many things ARE no-brainers.

If you want to RV and have pets, this is one of them, in my opinion.

I will continue to have and use my MarCELL even after Sensored Life is no longer paying for the monthly fee. Peace of mind is peace of mind.

What’s it worth to you to keep a face like Cricket's (below) safe from overheating?

Cricket standing in RV doorway

Cricket. For some reason, she keeps Erick and Jeannie around. ????


I’d pay twice the monthly fee for the peace of mind to know my babies are OK at home.

I mean, could you live with yourself if you accidentally killed them (a torturous, miserable death, I might add) by overheating?

I don’t want to know if I could or not. It’s not a reality I want to test.

Inside Hannah's rig with dogs

These three pups wouldn't be happy in a kennel, no way! Instead they get to happily hang out with their people.

I’ll be adding a camera soon to watch what they are doing during the day.

I'll also have recorded footage if anyone ever breaks in (which I seriously doubt will ever happen).

Looking into the WYZE camera for this. I mean, I'm pretty sure my pups are usually doing what Tex is doing below, but still...

Susan Collier's dog Tex on RV seat

Susan Collier's dog, Elsie Mae. Life is stressful. 

Dry Camping

Dry campers/boondockers- you may be wondering if you can use the MarCELL using only 12v power.

The answer is YES! If you know me (Kelly), you know I only boondock. (Except for my COVID/family matters that kept me in Florida in 2020)

I also don't have a house inverter. Therefore, to use the MarCELL, it had to run off of 12-volt power.

Rick and Mazzy

Rick with Mazzy just chillin'. (Photo courtesy of James Bai/@wobblycat on IG)

Indeed, the device can and will run on 12 volts. All you need is THIS 12V USB POWER CORD, and you’re good to go!

Get Your DISCOUNTED Lifesaving MarCELL Unit

Oh, you're in? Great decision-making! 

Now you're guaranteed that your pet will never die in your RV from overheating. 

$20 Off Discount Code

Camp Addict fans can get a discount on the purchase of the MarCELL unit.

Simply enter this code into the 'Discount Code' section during checkout:


You will receive $20 off your device, and we will get a small commission because you used our code!

Using our code GREATLY helps to support us.

Supporting Camp Addict helps us to provide you with even more valuable RVing information.

Discount Code: camp20

Pet Warning: Vent Fans With Rain Sensors

Fantastic RV Vent Fan

Some vent fans have a rain sensor built into them.

Be warned that once these shut off and close at the first drop of rain, they don't open back up!

If you were counting on this helping to circulate fresh air, it's done once it takes a drop of rain.

It will close, and your RV could QUICKLY heat up, endangering your pets. Installing a Maxxair MaxxFan Deluxe puts a stop to this.

The MaxxFan Deluxe has a BUILT-IN rain guard.

There's no sensor, and if it rains, the rain guard keeps rain from coming in. It will stay open and keep circulating fresh air!


Amber's dog Lily

Amber's dog, Lily chilling in her Hymer van. (@Storychasing on IG)

If you want to go RVing with pets and there is ANY chance that your RV could heat up and kill your fur-babies, why would you even chance it?

Get a MarCELL to monitor the temperature inside your RV.

Having one will give you peace of mind knowing your pets aren’t overheating when you need to leave them alone inside your RV.

Jesse's dog Maggie

Jesse's dog Maggie... she's very happy in her Airstream home. Check out the size of her bed!

The MarCELL is for use anywhere power is available.

Use it in homes, vacation homes, RVs, boats, barns, wherever.

With the puck accessory, It also detects water so flooding becomes a thing of the past.

As far as RV application goes, your animals will silently thank you for the painful death that they will never endure now from overheating!

Kelly Headshot

I dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 6.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road.

    • Hi Kristi,

      Yes, sometimes our locations are limited because of no cell service or very limited service. However, we each managed to boondock almost 100% of the time with good cell service. We have only boondocked (is that a word?) out west.

      It’s challenging, but do-able! My girls (now girl) are protected as we only stay where there’s service.

      Thanks for your question!

  • What a great article again! Our families business is training humans to be dog trainers and breeding sporting dogs for mondioring etc. Most of the trainers who visit the school use a device to monitor temperature of the Vans and Cars used for transport. One important thing you can do is put a sticker on your window that says “ K9 Inside, temperature monitored” to prevent people who think you have a potential heat problem from breaking your windows.

    • That’s a good idea- I think I might put that somewhere INSIDE the vehicle, not so conspicuous, so it doesn’t ALERT them that my pups are in there. Otherwise, those who aren’t using their brains and simply jump to the ‘rescue’ because they hear dogs shouldn’t be in cars, will find opportunity to freak out, even when it’s 50 degrees outside. LOL!!

      Good idea, just yeah, I’ll be putting it somewhere not SO visible. Thanks for the tip!

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