Last year we went travelling around Europe in our converted campervan with our dog, Alfie. We were on the road for 2 months, we covered 6,150 kilometres and visited 9 countries! People always ask us if taking Alfie was restricting or difficult, and the honest answer is NO!
Taking our furry friend presented fewer challenges than we anticipated, so we would definitely do it again. I published an FAQ post about travelling in the van with our dog but it was a bit more generic about the road-trip in general, so I wanted to write something a little bit more detailed about travelling with dogs, what it’s like, and things you can do to make the road trip go a little smoother.
Of course, I’m no dog expert, I’m just a girl with a little Jack Russell. As a matter of fact, Alfie is a little bit untrained, he has a great recall but he has some anxiety and separation issues, and he isn’t socialised. Despite his issues, he loved travelling with us (probably because he was having 12-hour walks every day!).
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Create a comfortable space for your pup
Our campervan had a fixed double bed with far too many duvets, blankets and bedspreads, so there was always more than enough room for Alfie to get comfortable. But what I mean by this, is to create comfortable spaces for your dog for when he’s feeling hot or when he’s feeling cold.
Usually, Alfie would sleep on the floor of the van with his blanket. If it got too hot, he’d retreat under the bed where there was a lack of insulation, it was like a little cold trap under there. When we were in the mountains and it got cold, he’d climb into bed with us and snuggle by our feet. Giving him these options meant he could regulate his temperature.
On rare occasions, we’d leave Alfie in the van. Sometimes we’d take him places in his backpack (so cute!) but other times it was just a no-go. This was only for an hour or so, so we could pop into a supermarket or so we could go to the local swimming pool for an hour. We’d time leaving the van so the temperature was somewhere between 10°c – 15°c, we’d wait until the sun was going down after a long walk, and we’d park underneath a tree.
The first couple of times we were in a major panic, worrying about how he was. Every time we came back he would be cuddled up on the bed sleeping, didn’t look like he was missing us whatsoever! Just be mindful of your choices and always put your pup first.
Maintaining a regular diet is crucial
When you’re on holiday it’s tempting to treat your 4-legged-friends to a little treat off your plate but believe me, this isn’t a good idea when you’re sharing a small space with him (don’t learn the hard way, dog farts are bad).
Remember to stockpile their regular food and treats, and if you’re going to be on the road or out and about a lot, ensure your pup always has plenty of water. It’s important to be aware that your dog will need more water when you’re going on long walks or it’s hot.
Alfie only eats natural, organic, and grain-free dog food. We switched to this type of food just over a year ago when he came out in a big rash and ended up having to go on steroids. We never identified the problem but we were told it could be his food, so it seemed like a no-brainer to ensure he was getting the healthiest option.
It gives us peace of mind knowing that he’s not eating some cheap rubbish, and he hasn’t had an outbreak since! 🤞🏻 There are lots of great grain-free healthy options on the market, Alfie has recently been feasting on this wet food c/o James Wellbeloved.
Listen and try to understand your dog
The most frustrating thing about being a pet owner is not being able to understand what your dog needs at times. Luckily, we didn’t have this problem when we were travelling, but we sometimes get it at home.
Most recently, we found out Alfie doesn’t like it when the bedroom windows are open. He started climbing furniture, whining, and shaking profusely. After a bit of Googling, we found out what the problem was. Obviously, this wasn’t an issue, we just try and reassure him – he’s slowly understanding that windows aren’t scary.
If you’re abroad or even just somewhere in the UK away from home, it can be worrying if you don’t know what’s wrong with your dog. Take note of his behaviour and know where the local vets are, in case you need to go.
Vets aren’t nearly as expensive as you imagine so don’t shy away from them. We went to the vets when we were in France so Alfie could get his tapeworm treatment before re-entering the UK. It was cheap, quick and easy (with the help of using Google translate!). It’s a small price to pay for the happiness of your furry friend.
Our next road-trip with Alfie is this Christmas and we just can’t wait ❤️👇
This post is in collaboration with James Wellbeloved.