“I love the RVWhisper. It’s been a lifesaver for monitoring my three dogs.”
When you hit the road in your RV, you need to be prepared for the worst. Your RV is your home away from home, and when you have furry members of the family (aka pets), you need to think about their safety as well. When you are in and around your RV, this is not much of a problem. But what happens when you are away?
You wake on a beautiful sunny day, and you decide to go out for a hike. You might be gone for several hours, and your pets are not able to come with you. The forecast is for higher temps as the day goes on, so how can you be assured that your pets will be okay?
Shore power failures happen all the time, and this could knock out your air conditioning at a moment’s notice. What if this happens while you are gone, and your pets are inside your RV? How will you know if the temperature (in the RV) is rising to dangerous levels?
You need a system that lets you know what’s going on and automatically alerts you when and if trouble arises. And this system had better not be dependent on shore power in order to operate; otherwise, you might not get the alert when your pets are in danger.
The Pet Safety Risk from Leaving Pets in RVs
“I like the new update for my RV Whisper equipment. Sure makes leaving our Golden in the RV easier because I know everything will be ok.” Customer Quote.
Bringing your pets along with you in an RV can have its challenges. It is especially risky and worrisome when you have to leave your pet behind for a while on a hot day. On hot days, their protection from overheating depends on your RV Air Conditioning system working properly while you are gone. Having the right properly installed RV monitoring system can reduce the risk to your pets while greatly reducing your anxiety.
Clearly, one of the biggest dangers to pet safety in RVs is overheating due to high temperatures. The temperature inside a vehicle can be dramatically higher than outside, and it doesn’t take long for this to happen. In only an hour or so, the temperature can rise 40 degrees, from comfortable to deadly. And some animals are at higher risk than others when the temps suddenly rise.
Effects of high temperature, for even as short as 15 minutes, can cause heat stroke. Sustaining a body temperature of over 104 degrees can cause internal damage. In the unfortunate instance that you are worried about heat stroke for a pet, you need to know the signs.
Taking your animal’s temperature is the most direct method, but there are physical signs you can look for. Red or purple gums and tongue, stumbling around, and vomiting are signs for both dogs and cats. If your cat is panting, or your dog is panting to an excessive amount (generally rapid breathing), and unresponsiveness are symptoms to be worried about.
High heat can cause animals to collapse or to have seizures. If left too long, organ failure and death is possible.
Just like us, the youngest and eldest are most susceptible to heat. But age isn’t the only factor. Larger breeds, longer fur, and having a short nose all tend to make dogs more susceptible to overheating as the temperature rises. And while most wouldn’t think to leave their cat or dog in the car all day, it’s easy to over-rely on the safety of our home-away-from-home, the trusty RV.
With a properly installed RV Monitoring system, you can have peace of mind when you have to leave your pets behind on a hot day.
How to Keep your RV Safer for Pets
“We love our RVW! It has provided such peace of mind for monitoring the safety of the rig while our pets are alone.” Customer Quote.
How can you help make your RV a safe place for your pet? Prepare your RV for weather changes and/or power outages and be able to continuously monitor the RV temperature and shore power status when you are away.
We know that factors like humidity, air movement, and direct sun exposure play into this as well. Remember to lower all shades to block sunlight from getting into the RV during the summer. On days that are just warm, keeping windows open and/or having ceiling ventilation might be enough to keep a pet safe, as long as you provide plenty of fresh water.
On hot days, closing up all the RV windows and leaving the Air Conditioning on when you need to leave your pets behind may be required
But what happens if the air conditioner in your RV fails or loses power?
Power outages can happen due to a number of conditions and unfortunately, are much more common in busy RV parks than a home. Sometimes a circuit breaker gets tripped, or low shore power voltage may prevent your air conditioner from starting, or an electrical surge occurs.
What happens if shore power is cut off when you are not in the RV? How long will it take for you to discover the power loss? If you are inside the RV, you will know immediately and can take action to protect your pet from overheating.
A great safety feature in some RVs is generator auto-start that is meant to kick on when shore power cuts off and the air conditioner needs to run. But this great pet safety feature may not always work properly, the generator auto-start feature may not be turned on, or your generator may run out of fuel.
With a properly installed and working RV Monitoring System, you can always know the temperature and shore power status of your RV, even when you are 100 miles away from it.
RV Whisper Monitoring Systems Bring Peace of Mind
Finally, there is a better way to remotely monitor things back at the RV. Using the internet and wireless Bluetooth sensors, the RV Whisper monitor system logs data from multiple devices in the RV and alerts you when conditions change. You can get alerts by both email and text message to ensure you never miss an important change in temperature or shore power status.
You can remotely check the status at any time to bring you instant “Peace of Mind” by knowing what your RV Temperature and Shore Power status are right now. This is especially important on hot days when you are worried about your pets left behind in the RV. Being able to check the temperature every 10 or 20 minutes brings peace of mind – for 10 or 20 minutes – and then you can check again. Knowing that the temperature never got in the danger zoner while you were away can be a big relief to those of us that worry about our pet’s safety.
Best Practices for Installing RV Whisper Monitoring Systems
“I love your product use it all the time while traveling and at my property in our travel trailer.” Customer Quote.
Making sure your RV Whisper monitoring system and WiFi router work, both with and without shore power, is critically important for pet safety.
When planning the setup of your RV Whisper system for Pet Safety, there are two critical items you need to plan for: make sure both your RV WiFi network router and your RV Whisper Monitor Station will continue to work without shore power.
The RV Whisper Monitor Station (RVM1, RVM2) is installed in your RV and is powered by a standard USB Micro B power cable. The USB cable that powers your RV Whisper Monitor Station should be plugged into a 12 Volt USB Power adapter that is powered by your RV house batteries so your monitoring will work both with and without shore power.
It is best to use the USB cable that came with your RV Whisper system because it has thicker copper conductors than most USB cables. Using longer and thinner USB power cables can cause low voltage conditions for your RVM1 or RVM2 monitor station.
Most RVs manufacture in the last few years have several USB power ports installed at the factory that are wired to the house batteries. These are usually ideal for your RV Whisper system to be plugged into for reliable power.
Some customers use USB cigarette lighter adapters to power their RV Whisper system. While this is better than connecting to a shore power USB adapter, the cigarette lighter sockets are not designed for long term reliable power connections.
The cigarette lighter adapters do come loose over time, especially when driving on bumpy roads. Installing a USB 12-Volt power adapter or 12-Volt USB charging station in your RV is a great way to provide reliable power for your RV Whisper monitor station.
The RV Whisper monitor station that is installed in your RV needs to connect to a reliable WiFi network for internet access. For pet safety, you should have a WiFi router with a cellular data plan in your RV that will continue to operate without shore power.
The RV Whisper system will continue to log data without a WiFi router to connect to, but when your WiFi router is not working or it does not have internet access, you will not be able to get email or text alerts from your RV Whisper system and you will not be able to remotely check the status of your RV’s temperature and shore power.
There are many ways that you can get reliable internet access in your RV. Many RVers use cellular based WiFi routers, such as a Jetpack or MiFi device from Verizon, ATT, Sprint or other cellular carries.
These devices connect to the internet by using a cellular data plan (from any cell phone carrier) and provide a WiFi network in the RV for multiple devices, eliminating the need to rely on a WiFi connection from the campground. These devices usually have an internal battery so they will continue to operate for several hours without shore power.
There are also higher end WiFi routers that can be wired directly to your 12 Volt system that are designed for automotive and RV use. These devices may support two SIM cards (e.g., ATT and Verizon) to improve your cellular data coverage. Some of them can also connect to some campground or home WiFi networks as their internet (or WAN) connection.
Devices like the Winegard Connect, WiFi Ranger, InstyConnect and various PEPWave Cellular Routers are all examples of higher end Cellular WiFi routers designed for RVs and automotive use.
Just remember to connect both your WiFi router and your RV Whisper monitoring system so they are powered by the RV House batteries so that you’re always connected regardless of shore power.
The ability to keep monitoring systems running, regardless of shore power, is critically important for pet safety. Powering your monitoring system with USB power adapters wired to the 12volt system of your RV allows the monitoring system to continue functioning even if other environmental systems fail. This way, you’re alerted when issues arise while you are away from the RV.
Key Pet Safety Features to Look for in a Monitoring System
For pet safety in your RV, you need more than just basic temperature monitoring. To know for sure that your pet is okay, your safety features should include the following:
- Temperature Sensors
- Battery Voltage Sensors
- Shore Power Voltage and Amps Sensors
- Customizable Email and Text Message Alerting
- Remote Checking of Temperature and Shore Power Voltage and Amps
- Display “Past 3 Hours” of Temperature data so you know if they were safe even when you couldn’t check.
- Door Open/Close Sensors (if you rely on “dog walkers” when you are away from the RV)
As mentioned previously, monitoring the temperature inside the RV is an absolute must. If you can also monitor the outdoor temperature, or additional locations inside your RV, you will have additional information that can reduce your worrying.
Just knowing what the sensors are reporting is great, but it is critical to know when the temperature measurement was taken. For example, knowing the last temperature reading was 75 degrees doesn’t help if you can’t tell if that is a new measurement or two hours old. A lot can happen in a short amount of time.
RV Whisper Monitoring records temperature sensor data every 5 minutes, stores the data with a timestamp and displays the temperature value along with the date and time (timestamp) of when that data value was logged. For Pet Safety it is important to check the timestamp displayed with each temperature value to make sure you are not seeing data from 2 hour (or 2 days) ago!
The timestamping of all sensor data allows you to easily see with simple graphs, the temperature over the last 3 hours, 3 days or more. The easily displayed graphs of historical data let you see at-a-glance if your pet was constantly exposed to a safe temperature range while you were away.
RV Whisper’s Monitoring System allows users to set up customized alerts. You can set up multiple Alerts (e.g., “RV is Warm”, “RV is Hot”, “RV is Very Hot”) based on customized temperature thresholds.
Shore Power Monitoring for Pet Safety Early Warning
For pet safety, you need to monitor the status of shore power in your RV so you can get an early warning when your RV loses shore power – even before your RV starts to get hot.
The best way to monitor shore power status is by adding any Power Watchdog brand of RV surge protector to your RV Whisper system. Any Power Watchdog device from Hughes Autoformers can be added to you RV Whisper system to wirelessly monitor shore power voltage and amps. Your RV Whisper monitor station uses bluetooth radio to wirelessly collect data from Power Watchdog devices so the park power voltage problems, park wiring problems, and more are monitored and alerted by the RV Whisper monitor station.
You may also be able to monitor basic shore power status (off/on) with a battery voltage sensor. When plugged into shore power or when the generator is running, most RV Lead Acid batteries will be at 13.2 volts or higher. When shore power is lost, and a generator is not running, the battery voltage will drop below 13.0 volts withing a few minutes. Using this monitoring method, users can get alerts if battery voltage drops below 13.0 Volts (which means their shore power is cut off for any number of reasons). If solar panels are installed, the battery voltage may not drop below 13.0 Volts when shore power is lost – the solar panels may keep the battery voltage above 13.2 volts.
Door open/close sensors can be useful if you rely on someone to walk your dog when you are away from the RV, you can know when each of your doors is opened and closed. You can even be alerted when the door is opened or closed.
Remember that monitoring the temperature and battery level aren’t enough if you aren’t alerted to the issue, and this is especially true when it comes to pet safety. The ability to customize your alerts so you get them how you need them is also essential to the monitoring process. The RV Whisper Monitoring System gives you the ability to set up the alerts your way, so you can get them based on your preferences.
A properly installed RV Whisper monitoring system lets you remotely monitor your RV, providing peace of mind knowing that your pets are safe while you’re away. We always want our pets with us, but they can’t go everywhere. For all those times they can’t be with you, you can know if they are safe with the RV Whisper Monitor Station.
“We RV travel with pets and are always concerned while away for the day if the electricity or air conditioning failed without being aware. With the RV Whisper system, not only can we monitor the temperature inside the RV, refrigerator, and freezer, we’re alerted via text and email of a problem. We’re now at ease knowing things at the campground are fine. Tech Support was very attentive when we had some questions when installing and got us up and running. We’re very satisfied overall with their product.”
– Full-time RVer