Tips for Caravan Travel with Dogs
Scientists estimate that humans and dogs first became companions over 30,000 years ago in the great outdoors. So, naturally, taking your pooch along for a touring caravan or motorhome adventure is simply a way to honour the long-standing bond between man and canine. You and your pet can unwind under the stars and get back to nature while exploring new sights and sniffing new smells. Bringing a furry friend along, be it for a short weekend jaunt or a months-long adventure, is a great way to enrich your caravan experience. There are, however, a few challenges that must be faced. With proper planning you can easily avoid headaches and mishaps while creating wonderful memories with your pet. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of factors to consider and helpful hints to make travelling with your four-legged friend a seamless, stress-free adventure.
Plan ahead before your trip.
The planning will commence even before you begin packing for your trip. Think about anything and everything your pet could possibly need to feel comfortable. While you’re traveling keep your list handy so you can edit it as needed. What items did you find weren’t necessary? Were there things that you wished you would have brought along?
Here are a few crucial things to get you started in crafting a solid pet packing list:
- Drinking Water & Bowl: should your dog have a sensitive system consider bringing a jug of water from home to avoid sickness. A folding or portable bowl is a great addition to your pet’s gear, as they can be conveniently stowed for hikes and walks.
- Dog food & Treats: avoid switching up your dog’s food on any trip by ensuring that you have more than enough food and treats for your entire adventure. This will keep your pet happy and prevent any upsets in digestion.
- Collar, Dog Tags, & Leash: ensure you have a sturdy dog collar with current identification tags. It may also be helpful to include your vehicle’s registration plates as well as multiple phone numbers from which you can be reached. A current photo of your pet could also come in helpful should tragedy strike and you have to go looking for a runaway. Some areas may require dogs to be leashed so this is an important part of your pet’s packing list. Visiting your local vet to get an id chip is also a great way to ensure your dog’s contact information will never get lost.
- Veterinarian Info, & Medications: having your pet’s vaccination records is helpful should you run into any issues. Some Caravan parks may require this paperwork, as will some kennels or pet sitting services. This information will also be mandatory if you are planning to cross into any other countries on your travels. Regulations will differ for each country, so ensure that you have the proper documentation by checking the websites for customs and border crossing information. More information is available here. Record your veterinarian's telephone number in the event you need to contact them with questions. It may also be helpful to research reputable vets near your destination. This could save much time in the unlikely event that your pet has an emergency and needs help immediately. Of course, you’ll also want to pack sufficient supplies of any medication, supplements or vitamins your dog might be taking. Adding a pet-specific first aid kit is also wise.
- Bed, Toys, & Something From Home: traveling can be stressful for pets so it’s helpful to bring familiar objects and scents to make them feel at home. Bring along a favourite toy or two, and perhaps an old sweatshirt or towel that smells like home.
- Old Towels or Rags: great for cleaning up messes or drying off after a swim or a romp in the mud.
- Cleaning Supplies: paper towels, a little carpet cleaner, and air fresheners are all handy things to have available when living in a tight space with a furry friend.
- Brush: it will be important to bring a brush along, especially if you have a pet that sheds galore. Brushing your dog outside each day will help cut down on the buildup of fur and dander in your touring caravan or motorhome.
- Plastic Bags: bring along more than enough plastic bags to pick up after your dog as you explore and ramble across the countryside. Nobody loves an inconsiderate pet owner so make sure your supply of doggie bags is ample.
Caravan life with your pets
Realise that embarking upon touring caravan travel with a pet means that you are going to have to accommodate your friend’s every need and probably make some sacrifices. Your travel and experiences will also be impacted by the type of breed and personality of your dog. For example a lap-loving Yorkie will not require the same amount of exercise and stimulation that your rough and tumble sheep dog will depend upon, so plan your trip according to your dog’s needs.
Traveling with animals, though rewarding, means that your companion will be continuously exposed to new experiences, sounds, and of course, smells. This constant influx of stimulation can be stressful for some animals, leading to barking or unpredictable behaviour. If you are taking your pet along for the first time, we recommend a short trip to get started. Select a destination close to home for a short period of time. As you familiarise your dog with the routine of travel you can head further afield for longer stints with confidence and ease. Keep dogs well exercised and mentally stimulated to avoid symptoms of boredom like barking and bad behaviour, your neighbours will thank you.
It will be a personal choice as to whether you permit your dog to roam around your camp or keep them tethered near your touring caravan ot motorhomes. It will depend on both the breed and your dog’s temperament. Some caravan parks will require you to keep your dog leashed so be sure to check beforehand if you are planning on using a caravan park. (Here is a helpful website in which you can sort destinations by dog-friendliness.)
Try to keep your dog's routine.
One of the most important things you can do for your dog is establish a routine. Bonus points if you can stick to a similar schedule as what your dog has come to expect at home. Your dog will likely experience a lot less apprehension if his food shows up at the same time and he can expect his daily round of fetch. A good routine will include lots of bathroom breaks, snuggles, a solid block of time for exercise, regular breakfast and dinner slots, more bathroom breaks, and a consistent bedtime. Establishing a regular dining schedule will also hopefully assist with more regular puppy piles - if you get our drift.
Dog Hygiene, Clean Caravan.
Consider kennel training your pooch, this will not only come in handy for moments where you must leave the dog, but it can help you isolate mud and dirt in case the weather turns for the worse. Many caravaners also report that kennels work wonders for the actual driving portion of your holiday. A pet may feel more safe and secure in a kennel when the vehicle is moving. You’ll soon come to realise that life with dogs in a small space can be stinky. Have wet wipes, and rags on hand to keep surfaces clean and smelling fresh. Bathe and brush your pooch often, especially on extended holidays. Have an old rag or towel near the caravan’s entrance to wipe muddy paws.
Leaving Fido alone in your Touring Caravan or Motorhome.
Some pet owners opt not to leave their dog behind in the caravan under any circumstances. Others employ keeping the electric on to power air conditioning or heat to keep the animal comfortable. Whatever your choice: use common sense. Generally heat is the biggest concern; a dog cannot cool down as efficiently as a human. Always park in the shade and if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for the dog. Even an ambient temperature of 15 degrees can be too much for pets locked away in vehicles. If you have caravan neighbours with dogs, consider taking turns watching the pack. Salop Leisure also offers a huge variety of caravan awnings to create shade and keep cool.
With a bit of extra planning and patience, traveling with your dog will offer immense rewards and unforgettable memories. As you explore mountain ranges, or play a rousing game of fetch on a deserted beach you’ll celebrate the deep companionship forged millennia ago between humans and dogs. Getting back to nature with your best friend is one of the greatest things you can do with your caravan from Salop Leisure. We hope you have a safe and wonderful time out there. Woof!