Holidaying With Your Hound: Here are six expert tips for taking your adorable dog on a campervan holiday
With the summer holidays are underway you might be planning a campervan holiday with the whole family - including any four-legged friends.
For many owners who decided to welcome a new dog in recent years, this summer is the first that has been restriction free for three years and therefore could be the first time they will take their pup away with them.
While this is an exciting time, preparation and planning is essential to make sure your dog has a stress-free experience.
Here’s what motorhome experts goboony recommend.
Preparing your pup for travel
It’s important to prepare your dog for the changes that will come with a motorhome holiday. Dogs thrive off of routine, so disrupting this can lead to an anxious pup if you don’t take the right steps.
While you’re on the road, the safest option for your dog is to remain in a travel crate while the vehicle is in motion. This should be an appropriate size so that the dog has enough space to stand up and circle around, but not so big that they can pace inside it.
Make sure to choose one that is easy to assemble, store and use. There is plenty of storage space in a motorhome, so you can put it away when you’re not driving, unless your pet prefers sleeping in it. Also aim to get a travel crate designed for car travel rather than air travel, unless you think you’ll need it for both. Add their bed, favourite blankets and some comfort toys to make sure they feel right at home.
If your dog doesn’t love travelling, it’s also a good idea to give them something long lasting that they can enjoy, such as a stuffed kong or a frozen lickmat. If your dog doesn’t use a crate at home, make sure you purchase this well in advance and get them comfortable inside it before you set off.
If you know your holiday is going to involve longer walks and earlier (or later) mornings, then try and slowly implement this in the weeks approaching your trip. It’s also important to consider what activities you’ll be doing while away and whether your dog has been exposed to this before or not. For example, if your family wants to enjoy plenty of pub lunches, make sure you’ve introduced your dog to the social atmosphere of a pub so you know how they will likely react and it won’t disrupt your time away.
Food on the road
Is your dog on a meal plan that’s going to be difficult to implement while you’re on holiday? Consider their food in advance and whether or not it’s practical to take their meals on the road with you for the time you’ll be away, for example if they are raw fed. Make sure you have enough supply incase if you know you won’t be able to buy it while away, and if you do have to slightly change their diet while you’re away, make sure to slowly introduce this to them in the weeks running up the trip. Road trips and upset tummies are something best avoided.
Safety in the campervan
It’s vital to ensure your dog is safe and comfortable when you’re both driving and parked up at the campsite. The best way to do this is to bring a travel crate so that your dog has a safe place to relax in. It should also be secured in the campervan so that it does not move should there be a sudden stop. Bear in mind that it’s illegal to not have your dog secured and you could face a fine if caught.
Must-have accessories for camping
While most items from home will transition nicely into your camping trip, there are a few accessories that will make your time away stress-free. The first item is a longline leash for campsites. You can use a hook to anchor this into the soil of the campsite and it means your dog gets the flexibility to walk around but has the safety of a leash too.
Even if your dog is recall trained, many campsites make it a requirement they must be on a lead at all times, so this will save you getting caught without. A towel is essential for a quick rub down after a muddy walk too. Campervans can get dirty quickly if you’re not careful.
It’s a legal requirement to have an ID tag on your dog, and while your address will mean very little if you’re on holiday, it’s essential to have an up to date phone number so that you can be contacted should your dog get loose.
Medical and safety in the outdoors
Whilst many items in a human first aid kit can be used for dogs, not all are applicable. If you plan to go camping with your pup, we recommend investing in a dog first aid kit. It should contain correct bandages, tools for removing ticks or splinters and have an emergency cooling pack. This provides the peace of mind of being ready for anything with your dog.
People-friendly etiquette at your campsite
Keep your dog on a leash whenever it is outside of your vehicle. Even if your dog is super friendly and just wants to greet people, not everyone is a dog fan. So keep them close to ensure people don’t feel uncomfortable. That being said, it is important to use up your pets energy so they’re not cooped up. Consider it an opportunity to explore the area and get some great exercise, head out for long walks and keep them moving by throwing a ball.
This ensures they sleep well back at the campsite and when travelling. Many campsites offer a dog run where they can go wild and meet other pups. If there’s other dogs at the campsite, always ask the owner’s permission before taking your dog over to say hello. Some dogs may be more nervous, or reactive to new dogs. Keep an eye on what they find, sadly a lot of campsites can have litter or nasties on the ground, so ensure your pup isn’t picking up anything they shouldn’t.
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