It used to be a given that a holiday meant a call to the pet sitter, but nowadays, we realise that this doesn’t always have to be the case. The only thing better than a holiday is one with your furry friend right there with you! A motorhome is a great way to travel with your pet, as you have the freedom to design a holiday that suits both of you.
There are plenty of options for dog-friendly motorhome hire nowadays, so finding your transport and home on wheels won’t be an issue. But for the trip itself, there are five things to keep in mind to ensure a great time for everyone in the motorhome!
1. Care whilst driving
You must practice caution when driving a motorhome with your dog in it. We really recommend investing in a travel crate to ensure that they’re safely secured in the vehicle. This protects you and them. For example, if something wasn’t securely fastened before driving, it could fall and hurt or scare your pet. But be sure to get the right-sized travel crate, one that gives them enough room. Avoid the temptation to go too large with it, as this won’t encourage the same feeling of security and could cause them to be more restless.
Make sure to take plenty of breaks when driving, as you should do anyway for your own safety and wellbeing! If you plan your route well, you could have these stops be at potential landmarks or walking trails to make them a part of the journey. Always have extra water in the car, and be sure your furry friend is getting plenty. Driving can be very tiring for them as well. If your dog suffers from motion sickness, discuss this with your vet and see if medication might help, or even giving a smaller meal before driving.
2. Choosing a campsite
We recommend planning ahead when it comes to campsites so you can ensure that they are pet-friendly. The majority of campsites do allow pets, but it is always worth checking to avoid disappointment later. Most websites like Pitchup or Cool Camping will have a filter for dog-friendly campsites.
It’s also worth considering what you value for the campsite in terms of your pet. Do you want to be near potential walking trails? Or closer to a beach? Some campsites allow dogs but specify that they must remain on a leash, so take a moment to think about whether this is something you prefer or might not.
3. Getting them adjusted
Whilst a holiday is an exciting prospect for you, it can be a bit daunting for your furry friend. They don’t understand that you’re going somewhere fun and not the vet, and they don’t realise that you will return home, albeit more tanned, in a week. This leads to the process being quite scary and can make your suitcases a foe in their lovely brown eyes!
In this respect, dogs are so much like children on holiday. It’s all about bringing home with you. Bring their everyday items to ensure that they’re surrounded by their smell and feel more at home. Bring their favourite toys, their food bowls and even a familiar blanket. Luckily, in a motorhome, you’ll never be too far away, so they can be comforted through the proximity to you.
Part of getting them adjusted happens before your trip. If it’s your own motorhome, take them for a short drive in it, so they know they come home after. Even if you’re hiring a motorhome, so you can’t see it before your trip, you can still help them prepare for the trip. We recommend buying your travel mat ahead of time and easing them onto it, perhaps even replacing their regular bed with it for the days leading up to your trip. The memory foam in the Ivy and Duke travel mat will ensure they easily find a comfortable spot, and it quickly becomes familiar to them. And luckily, it is waterproof to ensure any accidents from those initial nervous days can be easily fixed!
4. Building a routine
Now, first things first, we don’t expect you to completely stick to your routine whilst on holiday! You’re taking a break, and you deserve some more sleep and chill time. Instead of trying to bring your entire routine on holiday, see how you would like to adapt it. No matter the length of your holiday, you can build a routine for it and stick to that during the trip. This will show consistency for your pet and help them adjust as well. Will you take them for a shorter walk each morning followed by a long hike in the afternoon? Or will mornings be a long walk so that they’re nice and tired for the drive?
Work out what suits you and your pet best, and go from there. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that there is a ‘perfect’ routine for your motorhome holiday, and instead learn as you go. Just like using your travel mat beforehand, it can be good to start this change of routine from home to make the baby steps manageable for your pet.
5. Keeping things clean
It is hard enough to keep order in a small space like a campervan – hard but not impossible! When you add a furry friend or two, the challenge increases. On holiday, you want nothing more than to just chill, especially if you’re returning to your van from a trip to the beach or a long walk. But the key is not to let the mess accumulate in your campervan. Deal with mess as soon as it happens to avoid a huge clean up later. If you keep the space organised, you’ll get more peace of mind and time to enjoy the van.
Keep an old towel outside your campervan to wipe down your pet’s paws. You can also have a bucket or large bowl ready with water if there is mud. Keep everything else off the floor of your campervan and tucked away into the many storage options. This will ensure that any dirt your pet brings in isn’t spread further.
When you’ve got these five things sorted, you’re ready for a motorhome adventure with your pet! Bringing your dog along not only ensures that you won’t be worrying about them, but it also gives them a great holiday and allows you to try something different. It will encourage you to explore beautiful areas more and stay active whilst travelling in a motorhome.