Tips for a Campervan Holiday with a Dog

If you’re a dog owner, going on holiday is never straightforward. You have to find someone who is willing to watch your pet while you’re away, who can keep their routine and care for them properly in your absence.

Either that or you have to put them in the kennels, and this can take an emotional toll on both you and your pooch.

Well, one of the best things about campervans and one of the key reasons that so many people buy or rent them, is that you can take your furry friend on holiday with you.

So, if you’re planning a getaway in the near future, we can help. No matter whether you’re going abroad or staying in the UK, here are 10 of our top tips for a campervan holiday with your dog.

1. Ensure they’re healthy and vaccinated:

Before you leave, it’s important that you make sure your dog is happy and healthy and that their vaccines are all up to date. It’s also a good idea to double-check their insurance and make sure you’re fully covered in case something happens while you’re away.

This is particularly important if you’re planning on going abroad, as you’ll need to be able to prove they have all the relevant vaccines to cross borders.

2. Make sure they are microchipped:

You also need to make sure that your pet is microchipped. This is crucial for two reasons. Firstly, if you’re going abroad, you’ll have to prove they are chipped.

Secondly, should your dog get lost during your holiday (hopefully this will not happen, but just in case), they can be traced back to you, and you will be contacted to go and pick them up. So overall, it gives you peace of mind.

It’s worth saying that you should also check all the contact details are up to date before leaving. Far too many pets are found with old addresses or mobile numbers registered to their chip, making it harder to get them home.

3. Get your dog a passport:

Another great thing about a campervan is you can still go abroad, and it can actually be a really fun way to explore a new country.

So if you want to be able to travel further afield, why not get your dog a passport too?

That way, you can easily drive to your chosen location with your pet in tow, and you’ll have all the relevant documentation if you are asked to produce it by the authorities.

4. Make sure you have everything you need

Packing for yourself is one thing, but you also need to make sure you’ve got everything your dog will need for your trip. This includes basics like their lead, collar, food bowl and bed.

You might also wish to take some of their favourite toys, and if you have a dog that gets chilly, a coat or jumper too. This is particularly important if you’re going somewhere that’s going to be cold or wet.
The same applies to hot weather, be sure you have a travel water bowl, cool mat or anything else your dog may need to beat the heat.

5. Find dog-friendly campsites:

Although you can enjoy a spot of free camping in your campervan, it’s likely that you’re going to need amenities, especially with a dog. Therefore, you need to find and book a campsite (or perhaps several if you’re planning on moving around) that allows dogs on site.

It’s vital that you always check if dogs are allowed, as you don’t want to arrive and find that you can’t stay.

6. Choose dog-friendly locations:

Similarly, the last thing you want to do is book a holiday with your dog only to find out that the local area isn’t very dog-friendly.

So before you book, do some research and look into destinations that are more dog-friendly. This might include looking for places your dog can walk and play, possibly off-lead.

You also want to look for locations that have dog-friendly cafes and restaurants, though this isn’t a deal breaker if you have cooking equipment in your van.

7. Make the drives as pleasant as possible:

No matter whether you’re staying in one place or moving around, it’s likely that you’ll do more driving than normal and, in many cases, longer drives too.

If that’s the case, you need to make each trip as pleasant as possible for your pooch.

This might mean crating them or keeping your dog safe with a seatbelt or pet car seat. It will also mean ensuring they are comfortable wherever they are and that you have plenty of toilet stops.

Remember, your dog can’t ask you to stop for the loo, so you need to think about their needs and put these above your own.

8. Make sure you have enough food:

If you’re going somewhere remote, or your dog has special dietary requirements, you need to make sure that you have enough food to see you through.

Of course, if you’re going somewhere located near a supermarket, you don’t have to worry too much about this, and you can save space. But if not, make sure you have enough supplies to last the whole holiday.

9. Create them a comfy bed in the campervan:

When you’re all set up on your chosen campsite, you can get your dog’s bed or crate out and make them a safe little corner to relax and call their own. This might be outside, on the front seat or in the awning, depending on how much space you have.

Just make sure they have a place to go if it’s too hot or cold, or they just need a break from all the holiday fun.

10. Allow them some freedom:

One of the joys of camping is sitting around outside your van and cooking on the barbecue, enjoying a few drinks or playing some games. But you don’t want to have to shut your dog inside or constantly hold their lead.

So our final tip is to allow them some freedom by taking a spiral tie and extended lead to go into the ground, or for smaller dogs, you can create a safe space by blocking them in with windbreaks, kind of like a small private garden.