A guide to caravanning and camping with dogs

Did you know 65% of British caravan owners take their dogs on caravanning holidays? If you’re thinking of joining the club, read on!

The pet lovers amongst us know that taking well behaved (or at least reasonably well behaved!) dogs with us on a break can make it that little bit more special.

There’s also no need to spend time, and possibly money, arranging care for your furry friend while you’re away, either through having someone dog-sit or booking space at the kennels. In fact, kennel prices have risen steeply. The average cost per day has increased from just under £17 to £21.78 between 2019 and 2022. That’s a whopping 28% increase for a seven-day trip!

Not only do you tend to explore more of the countryside when you go walkies, but taking your dog with you can offer a greater sense of security to owners – especially those who caravan on their own.

Our canine companions are also great for socialising – just walk into a country pub or clubhouse with your dog and you’re likely to get chatting to other dog lovers.

Dogs are scientifically proven to help you relax and reduce anxiety, so how do you maintain this wonderful calm throughout your break?

How to have a dog-friendly caravan holiday

Before you arrive at your destination, don’t forget to plan your journey well. Walk your dog before you head off. When you are on the road, make sure you include stops, take bottles of water and a bowl.

Don’t forget that Rule 58 of the Highway Code states that you need to ensure that your pet is suitably restrained, so that they cannot distract you while you are driving, or if you stop quickly. Make sure you have a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or a dog guard fitted to keep everyone safe and sound.

Top tip: Speak to your vet in advance of your trip. You can ask them to send your dog’s details across to a local vet near your campsite, so it’s all there in case of an emergency.

Is your caravan site pet-friendly?

This may seem obvious, but make sure the site you are going to is dog friendly. Please be careful before booking your site as there are many levels of ‘catering for dogs’ that you are likely to experience at different sites.

While some are pet-friendly, and permit animals on site, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have facilities such as a dog wash, day care (or dog creche nearby), a specific dog walking area, or allow dogs into the club house, for example. Choose a site that would work best for you and your best friend.

Is your caravan dog-friendly?

Going on a caravan holiday can overstimulate your pets and there could be a few more accidents than usual. Protect your fabric with a specialist spray if you can, or take newspaper for the floor during the evening, and throws for the furniture so that you can easily pop them in the wash.

Awnings are very useful to have when touring with a dog as they can eat and sleep in there (as long as it’s not too cold for them). For smaller dogs, a play pen could be useful while you are cooking outside, for example, but you must ensure you offer enough shade and that your dog doesn’t overheat.

Other useful items to have on board for your pooch include a portable water bottle, cool jackets and/or mates and cold treats. If you’ve got fans on board, you can aim these at the floor to help keep their paws cool.

A canine first aid kit could also come in handy, in case of minor injuries or scratches, including gauze pads, antiseptic, and useful medications.

Take a ‘corkscrew anchor’ to attach their lead to, so they can be outside during the daytime and not wander off too far. Check that all of your door and window locks secure tightly. The last thing you want is your dog to bolt while you’re preoccupied or asleep. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

Research dog friendly places to visit

Make sure you have a plan! It’s important to research the places you’d like to visit and check whether they are dog friendly in advance. And if they are not, consider where your dog will stay during the times you plan to head out to human-only locations.

This could mean prebooking a local doggy creche or speaking to the caravan site about their rules on leaving your dog unattended.

As the owner, you should know your dog’s temperament and how they would react to being left in the caravan or on the site when you are out for the day. If you are planning to leave your dog unattended, it is critical to ensure that your caravan is both secure and correctly vented, so there is a fair bit to consider.

Exploring farmland with your dog

While exploring the beautiful countryside with your furry friend you may come across some farmlands where other animals are located.

Respecting the farmers land and animals is key – they are allowing you to roam freely and experience their land after all.

Therefore, you must keep your dog on a lead as they could easily scare or spook animals.

Taking your dog to the beach

Remember if you are going on a coastal holiday, do some research on which beaches dogs are allowed to go on before turning up. Many beaches allow dogs at certain times of the day or during the year, and these details will be available on the beach website. We’ve got a handy guide to dog beach bans, explaining which shores you can visit this summer together.

One of the benefits of taking your dog on a caravan holiday is that if they get mucky, you won’t have to pay for cleaning costs as you would with many holiday lodges or cottages. However, you still have to share your space!

Carefully plan your ‘wet days’ – from the beach to lakes and rivers! The more experienced caravanners will tell you that the dreaded wet dog smell can quickly take over your caravan.

Although weather forecasts can be hit and miss, try to head out on a dry day so that your pooch can dry off outdoors as opposed to within the caravan (or at least take some old towels to dry off your furry pal before getting back to the caravan).

If your dog enjoys swimming, or even rolling in things it really shouldn’t, it makes sense to take dog shampoo with you and find a site that has a dog bath you can use.

Top Tip: Take animal friendly air freshener with you!

Call in with your canine!

We hope you enjoy your holiday with your furry friend and make lots of lovely memories together.

At Howden, we’re a bunch of animal lovers – that’s why we set up our K9 hydration stations for the summer! We’ve got over 100 high street branches, so keep an eye out if you’re exploring new areas or at your local branch.

Heading away on a caravan or motorhome holiday and not sure whether you have the right cover? Your local branch is happy to help, find yours here or call our caravan specialist team on 01527 881010.

Sources: Job Prices, Practical Caravan

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