My names Hailey! You can find me and follow along with my full time RV living & traveling journey, in our renovated château to-go on Instagram as:
Sure, we can do some things, like explore early in the morning when it is cooler, or be hooked up 100% of the time, leaving the air-conditioning on (or heaters in winter), but what if it is warmer or colder than we think? And what if the power goes out? A circuit gets overloaded? A freak of nature accident occurs? Our pet’s lives can actually be at risk, especially during the blazing summer heat, and frigid winter temps. My fiancé Michael and I always worry about our cat, Furrnando, so I’ve decided to do some research for my fellow RV community!
A temperature monitor system for cats and dogs might be what you are looking for. There are a few ways you can handle this depending on your RV living situation and desired needs. Most systems fall into one of two categories:
1.) Cellular-based systems &
2. WiFi-based systems The minimum features that you want to look for are: A temperature sensor that alerts your cell phone when temperatures go out of the specific range you set and then alerts when the power goes out. Knowing when the power goes out is a huge advantage, because you will know that the air-conditioning is no longer working, well before the temperature gets to a dangerous range. This gives you additional time to return and rescue your pet, make an emergency phone call, or devise a plan for someone to get to your pet; whereas just having an alert when it is hot means you weren’t made aware of the situation until it is already starting to get too dangerous. Features that are also nice but not required, are: Being able to check the current temperature as often as you like (so not just an alert when out of you desired range), being able to see or interact with the pet, and sensors for other problems like safety and security, or water leaks. These monitoring systems are designed to reduce risks, not eliminate them. However, it is a lot more comforting to know that you can check on what is going on back at the RV whenever you like. Most of the dedicated systems run through a server that is always up, so you will be notified if the conditions worsen, the power goes out, the connection is broken or signal down, whatever the circumstances may be; you then know to head back right away. All of these systems still require good common sense, and if the temperatures are going to be very extreme, you shouldn’t leave your pets alone, even with a monitor. All the systems also require you to have a working cell phone with you and to be in cellular range to receive the notices and alerts. Each item described below also has a link to more information so you can further research the capabilities and limitations of the systems. Pricing on the systems may vary or change, so I will avoid listing them here. The provided links will allow you to quickly view the latest prices.
Often when you are in a vehicle or RV, you are somewhere that doesn’t have access to a reliable WiFi connection. This is where the cellular-based systems shine. While you do have to be within range of a cellular signal, cellular based systems use a cellular account to text you alerts when the temperature is of concern. Various systems have different features you can choose. All the ones I have listed include sensing the temperature, and notifying when there is a power outage. Most have additional features as well.
Because they rely on a cellular network, they do require a cellular account to operate. This means a monthly fee to maintain that account. Most services will supply the cellular account. There are many different sensors out there, so let’s look at the features of a few of the more popular brands.
MarCELL – On Amazon
- No internet connection required
- Sends text, email, and phone call alerts
- Monitor your home from any computer, smartphone or tablet.
There are 3 different plans you can pick from.. Monthly, Seasonal, and Annual - price break down listed on the amazon link provided above.
The MarCELL Cellular Connected Monitoring System is a cell phone based product that monitors the temperature, humidity, and power status in your RV, vehicle, remote home, business, vacation property or other sensitive property.
What’s also nice about the model linked above is that it includes one Water Puck. Simply place this small, battery-powered wireless sensor behind a toilet, under a sink, next to a hot water heater, alongside your sump pump, or anywhere you could have a potential water problem. You are then notified immediately if water is detected. This can be a big bonus for RV users!
For the cellular subscription, you can start and stop the subscription at any time, but be sure to use the subscription for at least 4 months out of the year to avoid any reconnection fees, if on the month-to-month plan.
The Nimble – RVpetsafety.com
Sends text/email alert when there is temperature excursion.
Rechargeable battery operated.
Built-in GPS for tracking your RV’s location.
Start and stop your service at any time.
Generates text and email alerts through cellular network.
Android and iOS application for remote monitoring.
Other cellular based sensors: iSocket3g – isocket3g.com
One nice feature of the iSocket3g is that you can swap out the SIM for something like a prepaid cell SIM. It does require the temperature sensor to be used as a temperature monitor. It also has a lot of features, as it is more than just a temperature monitor, so it can be more intimidating to learn to use it fully. But if you want a lot of features and are a bit tech savvy, you will want to check the iSocket3g out.
Monnit – monnit.com
Animaware by Animalarm - theanimalarm.com
I have chosen not to include temperature monitors that are collar-attached, due to concerns about the accuracy of their temperature sampling.
WiFi-Based Monitor Systems
As you would expect, WiFi systems require a reliable WiFi connection and work through the internet. For most RVers, this means not relying on the park WiFi which can often be slow or unreliable. However, if you are stationary, you may have a paid park connection arranged that is more reliable. But for most people, this system will work for those that have a cellular hotspot that they can leave in the rig when out and about. The sensor then uses that WiFi signal to send the alerts.
In the case of power outages, many of the systems monitor your connections from an external cloud server provided by the manufacturer, and alert you if it is broken due to a power outage or problem with your WiFi connection. If you choose a system that does not run through an external server, you must have a hotspot that is able to work off battery and not use a plugged-in router, otherwise you will not be notified when the power goes out.
One nice thing about WiFi based systems is that they frequently can offer advanced features cellular systems typically can’t- like video, and being able to speak to your pets to comfort them. They also don’t require a monthly service fee unless you want some extended features.
Canary Security System - On Amazon
This system has a number of options besides monitoring temperature, since it is a full security system. For example this system offers: audio and video, motion-detection, climate monitor, air quality alerts, works with Alexa, and a security siren. One big shortcoming is that it does not have a battery backup, but it will alert you when contact has been lost, so if the power goes out, you will be alerted, you just cannot be certain if it is power or just internet that went out. This system is surprisingly affordable. In fact, there are too many options to cover here, but if you have a WiFi connection, it is worth a look!
PetCube – petcube.com
If you want to go above and beyond for your furry friends, PetCube offers pet monitors with video that can also interact with your pet. This includes laser pointers that you can control to remotely play with your pet, audio to speak with your cat or dog, or the ability to release treats for your pet. They are more expensive than other WiFi options, but surprisingly comparable with cellular-based systems in terms of pricing.
LaCrosse Alerts – On Amazon
LaCrosse is a basic monitor that tracks real-time temperature and humidity. The feature set is limited but it is quite affordable. You can view temperature and humidity anytime for free, but it does require a $12 per year subscription after a free 3-months if you’d like to receive alerts by email or text alerts when temps go out of your set range.
Temp Stick – On Amazon
Another basic monitoring system which monitors temperature and humidity (which can help detect some water leaks), and tracks data history.
Without knowing exactly what you want, it is hard to say which is best for your situation. Believe it or not, there are even other options available as well. But these options cover all sorts of situations and price ranges, so listing more probably isn’t really helpful at this point. One of these options that I have thoroughly researched should allow you to provide safety for your animal against temperatures whether hot or cold, as well as give you peace-of-mind.
Keep those cats and dogs safe out there.
After all, they are family!
Sincerely, Hailey Habenicht Instagram: @tinyhomehailey