We’re sure all dog owners will agree that their dog is more than just a pet, it’s a member of the family. As family members, the dog’s needs will, no doubt, be taken into consideration when planning this year’s holiday. If you haven’t taken your dog on holiday before, it can seem like a daunting prospect but it is very much doable, particularly if you intend to spend your holiday in a caravan or motorhome.
As long as there is enough space for your dog in your van, and you have chosen a site where pets are allowed, the possibilities are almost limitless when it comes to caravanning with a pooch. Without the worry of choosing holiday accommodation which permits pets to accompany you, you are free to go wherever you like, every single time you go on holiday. However, there are some important factors to consider before setting off with your motorhome and your four-legged friend.
To make sure your holiday is memorable for the right reasons, follow these simple tips for travelling with a dog on board:
- If you have recently purchased your motorhome, or your dog has not travelled in it before, it is advisable to acclimatise them to it before undertaking a long journey. Dogs can get anxious when travelling, particularly in an unfamiliar vehicle, so a number of short journeys building up to your long drive to your holiday destination can make all the difference. Remember to reward your dog with a short walk or treat each time you make a stop.
- Some experts suggest parking up overnight on your driveway prior to your holiday and spending the night in your caravan or motorhome there with your dog. Let your dog choose their spot within the vehicle and provide any treats there.
- If your dog doesn’t travel well and is prone to becoming very anxious while travelling, speak to your vet about using mild sedatives. This will help to alleviate stress for all involved!
- As with cars, dogs should never be left unattended in a caravan or motorhome, particularly when the weather is hot. Fresh air should always be circulating through the vehicle while driving too, either from the air conditioning or an open window.
- Don’t forget that toilet breaks will be required and your dog will need to be walked and fed regularly, just as at home. With a bit of planning, these can be scheduled in to your travel time and stopping points.
- If your dog is small or elderly, have a look at the range of accessories and modifications available for your caravan or motorhome. Features such as ramps for easy access, travel beds and specially designed dog bowls can be well worth investing in. You may also wish to purchase GPS collars before you travel, to remove any worry about your beloved pet wandering off and getting lost.
- Even if you do not need a GPS collar, make sure your dog’s collar and tag display your current phone number
- Although it may cost a little extra to take your dog along on your family holiday, bear in mind that you will be avoiding the expense of boarding kennels. There are also emotional benefits to bringing your pet with you, rather than leaving them behind.
- It may seem incredibly obvious, but remember to make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water at all times
Useful equipment for holidaying with dogs
You may not need all (or any) of this equipment but, before you travel with your dog, it is definitely a good idea to at least consider some it. What you decide on will depend on your and your dog’s preferences, but here’s a selection of what’s available. If you would like more information or specific recommendations regarding brands or models, your vet, caravan dealership, or pet equipment supplier should be able to lend a hand.
- Water bowls and food bowls designed to prevent spills and tipping while travelling
- Travel water bottle if it is not possible to offer access to a bowl at all times
- Short length of hose for washing dogs after mucky walks – considering the alternative is muddy paw prints all over your floor and upholstery, this one is most definitely a good idea!
- A bucket and cloth will serve this purpose perfectly well if no tap is available for a hose
- Microfibre travel towels, which take up less space and dry quicker than traditional towels. As a dog owner myself I would thoroughly recommend Easidri towels (available from Amazon). You'll be amazed at how much water they absorb!
- Removable, washable seat covers
- Fitting a fan to your motorhome, which kicks in when a certain temperature is reached, is a great idea if you’re planning a lot of summer travelling
- Tethers to keep the dog from wandering off outside the caravan or motorhome
- A bed or blanket to mark out your dog’s sleeping space
- Dog travel harnesses
You should also bear in mind that pet passports, microchips and certain vaccinations and worming treatments are compulsory when travelling between countries with your pet. Full information can be found on the Government website.
If you found this article useful or have any suggestions or questions, please leave a comment below.
Lifesure are specialist motorhome insurance and campervan insurance brokers, so when your vehicle is due for renewal call us on 01480 402460 and we’d be delighted to help you. Alternatively use our quick and easy online quote service for an immediate competitive quote.