Gone are the days when a holiday meant calling the pet sitter, as more and more we appreciate the joys of pet-friendly motorhome travel! A motorhome is a great way to bring your dog on holiday as it provides the space and freedom to design the perfect holiday for everyone. You can drive to some of the most beautiful places in the UK and enjoy plenty of long walks. Evenings can be spent under your awning with your furry friend beside you, both enjoying the fresh air and tranquillity.
Hiring a pet-friendly motorhome is easy and affordable, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a pet-friendly campsite. Next comes packing for your trip, which is something that can raise a lot of questions. But creating a packing list for your camping trip with your dog isn’t tricky and mainly revolves around the following five items.
1. Stuff from home
It’s essential to create an environment that your pet feels comfortable in, and in that case, nothing beats home! This doesn’t mean that your pet can’t come on holiday but merely that they shouldn’t be coming alone. The most important item for your pet packing list is some things that will remind them of home. We recommend bringing their usual food and water bowls, a blanket and their toys. All of these will smell like them and bring a sense of safety. Make sure you don’t wash them right before the trip, no matter how tempting that may be!
2. Travel mat
A travel mat is definitely something that you should choose with care, as you want to avoid going for a poor quality option. Your dog will spend a lot of time on this mat, so make sure that you choose the right one.
Personally, we love the Ivy and Duke dog travel mat. It’s made of 5cm thick memory foam, which allows it to correctly support your dog’s muscles and joints. It will also bring comfort through always feeling familiar to their shape! Unlike other travel mats that correctly support a dog’s frame, this one is lightweight and easy to transport.
Finally, a travel mat should always be waterproof like this one. When it comes to camping in nature, even in a campervan, rain is always a risk, and with that comes the dreaded muddy paws! This will allow you to clean the travel mat between trips easily and wipe it down on the road. Some dogs also struggle initially with being away from home, so accidents are always a possibility, but a waterproof travel mat will ensure it’s easily fixed.
Make sure to adjust your dog to their travel mat before you leave. Replace their bed with it or encourage them to go on it with treats. Make the travel mat something they like or even are excited about so that they’re pleased to see it on the road with them.
3. Travel crate
The safety of your pup is always a priority, so make sure to have them correctly tucked away in a travel crate when driving the motorhome. Even if you think your dog is calm and won’t move during the trip, it protects them from items potentially falling and hurting them. Always have a travel crate with you; we can’t recommend it enough!
For choosing the right travel crate, we recommend measuring your pup from the base of their tail to the tip of their nose and from the ground to the top of the head. Then you can add four inches to those measurements, and you’ll have the correct size for your crate. It can be tempting to get a bigger crate as you think your pet will prefer it, but this excess space can actually make them uneasy and harder to settle down.
As with your travel mat, introduce your pet to the travel crate gradually and before the actual trip. Make it familiar to them and give them treats for being in it. Before you know it, they’ll be jumping into it willingly!
Now this may seem like an obvious point for our dog packing list, and we would hope so! But in terms of food, it’s more about how you’ll bring your pet’s food. Instead of bringing the entire pack, create individual portions. You could store these in reusable ziplock bags or mini tupperwares. You can get your usual tails.com subscription and then bag it into smaller portions. If you haven't used them before, then enjoy 80% off your first box!
This will avoid the hassle of bringing large items that take up a lot of space in the motorhome and ensure you don’t run out. It will also make things that little bit easier for your holiday! Be sure to also bring enough treats to avoid buying new ones they’ve never tried; you want to keep things as normal as possible for your pet given all the changes.
5. Medical kit
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. Camping is a great experience for dogs but does come with risks that should be acknowledged and prepared for.
If you want to avoid buying an entire kit, you can ask your vet for their top tips. Alternatively, you could buy a kit designed for humans and animals, like this great one! This will have both of you covered.
If you’re bringing your dog on your motorhome holiday, it’s likely that you plan to go for some lovely walks! As you should, a staycation is the perfect opportunity to explore the beauty of your own home. Be sure to bring the ideal leash for such long walks, which depends on your pup. Can you trust them to go distances? Do they pull a lot?
But aside from a leash for walking, consider one for at the campsite. Some campsites require dogs to be leashed at all times, even when chilling by the motorhome. If you’ve gone for such a campsite, consider getting a long line that allows your dog the freedom to move around the campsite without any discomfort but still follows regulations. Invest in a hands-free leash that will allow them to enjoy your pitch and the campsite in general. This is also ideal for when you’re cooking or pitching the motorhome.
Once you’ve got these items packed, you can turn to your own suitcase and a packing list for humans! Taking a trip with your dog is a great adventure and will encourage you to explore the great outdoors and try new things. Our furry friends deserve a holiday too, so go for a cam-paw-van holiday next summer!