All dog owners know life’s better with a pup by your side so why should going on holiday be any different? Your pet pooch will love a camping trip. And with all those new places to explore, you’re guaranteed to have one very happy hound!
While most dog owners like to go on holiday with their faithful pup, it can be a challenge to find accommodation that’s willing to accept your pooch as a guest.
You could spend hours searching for somewhere suitable, only to find you must pay a higher price for the privilege of bringing your four-legged friend.
As a campervan owner, the good news is you don’t have to worry about any of this.
You can wave goodbye to the added expense of booking kennels or a pet sitter and say hello to an unforgettable adventure with Rover right where he belongs – on holiday with you.
Are you thinking of buying a new or used mobile home? Or are you planning your next campervan road trip?
Either way, don’t forget to arrange campervan insurance to make sure you’re covered on your next journey.
Many UK campsites are dog-friendly but it’s always best to double-check before you set off. You’ll also need to find out if there are any special rules in place.
Some sites require dogs to be on their leads at all times whereas others have dedicated areas for hounds to roam freely. While doing your research, be sure to note down the contact details for the closest emergency vets to the campsite – just in case.
Five amazing dog-friendly UK campsites
1. Unashamedly laid-back North Rhinns Camping is close to Scotland’s stunning south-west coast. Pitches are suitable for small campervans and well-behaved dogs are welcome if they are kept on a lead.
2. Camping novice? Dewslake Farm in Wales could be the perfect place for you to get accustomed to the outdoor lifestyle.
Set on a welcoming working farm in Pembrokeshire, this place is full of interesting wildlife and character.
It’s quiet and tranquil, too, so it’s a great campsite for relaxation. Everyone’s welcome, including well-behaved dogs.
3. Ready to soak up the sun at Slapton Sands? Located on the South Devon Heritage Coast, this is a fantastic campsite and a super place to kick back and relax after a fun-packed day.
Surrounded by countryside, there’s a designated on-site dog walk along with plenty of dog-friendly beaches to explore in the local area.
4. All the pitches at adults-only Old Oaks in Somerset are suitable for your canine chum (maximum of three dogs per pitch).
The site provides visitors with a helpful free guide to nearby dog-friendly days out and dining (which will help make planning your itinerary a breeze.)
There’s a 300-metre secure dog walk, a dog shower with complimentary shampoo and dedicated washing and drying machines for dog blankets and bedding.
Fido will be thrilled to taste the special doggy ice cream, home-baked treats and raw dog food, all available on sale at the campsite.
If you’ve forgotten to pack any doggy essentials, there are treats, toys, food, collars and more at the on-site shop.
5. Ready to go back to basics? Get in touch with nature at Setthorns Campsite in the New Forest.
You’ll find 237 dog-friendly pitches here, each separated by bushes and trees to offer a sense of seclusion.
Amenities here are limited – there are no toilet or shower facilities, although chemical toilet disposal and drinking water taps are provided.
Watch out for wildlife as you wander through the winding forest pathways with your best friend at your side.
With over 140 miles of walking tracks and paths to explore in the New Forest, is there any better place to take a holiday with your dog?
Aside from the all-important campervan insurance, if you’re planning on travelling overseas with your dog you’ll need to ensure they have a valid pet passport.
This will allow you to travel back home without having to put them through the stress of being quarantined.
Remember, the rules for travelling to EU countries with a pet are set to change after Brexit, so ask your vet for the latest advice, at least four months before you travel.
As well as a description of your dog, pet passports provide evidence they’re healthy and fit for travel.
They include stamps to show where the animal has travelled, details of their vaccination status and information on any health procedures they’ve had.
You can apply for one through your vet or via the Animal and Plant Health Agency.
The total cost of a pet passport is likely to be in the region of £150 - £250.
This includes the cost of mandatory vaccination against rabies (required even if they have been vaccinated before) and essential tapeworm treatment.
Dog owner’s travelling essentials
How long is your holiday packing list? You’ll need to add a few extras when going on holiday with your dog! Remember to pack:
- Collar, harness and/or leads – it’s best to bring both a short lead and an extendable one
- A ball and any other favourite chew toys
- Bedding from home to ensure a familiar scent they can snuggle up to (or how about their own special doggy tent?)
- Lots of food (or enough to keep your dog fed until you can buy some more!)
- Collapsible food and water bowls
- Plenty of biodegradable poop bags
- Dog shampoo and brush
- A pile of microfibre towels to dry off after a muddy walk or swim
- Any medication they are taking
- A dog first aid kit including antiseptic solution, tick remover, flea treatment and bandages. You also might want to pack a space-saving inflatable Elizabethan collar, in case of emergencies.
Keeping your dog safe while you’re driving
Taking a UK stay-cation? Planning on driving to Europe? Either way, bringing your dog should be a breeze.
You’ll just need to figure out the best way to transport them safely and comfortably in the campervan.
Rule 57 of The Highway Code says you must ensure your dog is “suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly”.
It’s best to use a pet carrier, seat belt harness, dog cage or dog guard, depending on your pet’s temperament and preferences.
Keep your dog cool in the campervan by opening the windows a little bit to create a refreshing breeze.
Just don’t let them stick their head out of the window – they could knock their head, fall out or distract other drivers.
Long journey? Stop and take a break from driving every two hours. This will give you and your pooch the chance to breathe in some fresh air, have a drink and stretch those legs.
Hot day? It’s a well-known fact that you must never leave your dog in a hot car. But what if you need to leave your dog in your campervan for a short period of time?
It’s best to avoid doing this if you can. But if there are no other options and your campervan has an elevating roof, it will provide more ventilation than a car.
In order to maximise ventilation and keep your dog cool, avoid parking in direct sunlight and ensure the roof is up with the roof vents open.
Close all the blinds or curtains and make sure all windows are opened several inches.
Give your pup easy access to a bowl of fresh, cold drinking water and never leave them alone for long periods of time, particularly if it’s a warm day.
Still not sure? Don’t leave them – it’s just not worth the risk.
Keeping interior clean
Does your campervan have light coloured soft furnishings?
If you’re planning on bringing your dog on board, you might want to consider revamping it with a bespoke customised interior.
Choosing a colour like dark grey will help to hide those inevitable mucky paw prints.
When it comes to flooring, say no to carpet and opt for wipe-clean vinyl instead – it will be much easier to keep clean and free from dog fur.
If your pup just loves getting dirty, consider buying a collapsible silicone bucket to help with easy paw-washing after a muddy walk – before your dog runs back inside the campervan!
Is your dog a mucky pup at mealtimes? Bring along a plastic mat to pop under their food and water bowls to ensure an easy post-dinner clean up.
Tips for travelling with dogs
Consider your dog’s personality before you book a trip.
If they’re well-behaved and friendly, chances are they’ll love camping – there will be lots of new faces to lick and tons of exciting new places to smell.
But if they’re young or just not very well socialized, they might find the process of travelling and staying in an unfamiliar place stressful – and that won’t make it fun for anyone.
Do a little research and you should be able to find a campsite your dog will love, whatever their temperament.
If you love dogs, then this next sentence may come as a bit of a shock.
Not everyone is a dog person – difficult to believe, right?
It’s sad but it’s true, so you must always be respectful of your fellow campers, whether they’re dog-lovers or not.
Remember to keep your dog on a lead while you’re at the campsite unless you’re in a designated area where dogs can roam freely.
And being on holiday doesn’t excuse you from picking up after your dog – make sure you clean up dog poop quickly before disposing of it in the correct bin.
Is your dog a bit of a live wire? You might want to think about training them to only use the side door of the campervan.
That way, when you open the cab or rear doors, they’re less likely to come bounding out of the campervan – which will make loading and unloading it with them around a great deal easier.
Help your dog get used to the campervan before you take them on holiday.
In the weeks leading up to your trip, allow your dog to spend lots of time sniffing around and exploring all the nooks and crannies.
Sit with them as they look around – if they see you are happy and relaxed, it shouldn’t take long for them to see the campervan is a familiar and comfortable place to be.
Be prepared with campervan insurance
Before you set off, don’t forget to arrange campervan insurance. It’s vital to have the right insurance cover in place before you and your dog set off on your next adventure.
At Motorhome Protect, we have a panel of leading UK insurers.
This enables us to find the right insurance coverage for you, taking your personal circumstances and requirements into consideration.
You can even choose from a range of optional extras, including unlimited European cover, UK and Europe breakdown cover, contents cover and discounts for limited mileage.
Get a quick quote for campervan insurance today and travel safe in the knowledge that you’re covered.