Pet Friendly Motorhome Tips
Touring With Dogs
If your four-legged friend is just as much a part of the family as one of the kids, then leaving them in kennels while you disappear off on holiday is unthinkable. It’s a shame to leave the family pet behind when have the annual Summer holiday, and one of the main reasons for getting a motorhome is having the ability to take the pets with you. However, there are a few things to bear in mind when you’re packing your van and heading off to explore with your four-legged friend in tow.
Check Your Insurance
Most pet insurance policies will cover your family pet anywhere in the UK, giving you the flexibility to explore wherever you fancy. If you’re planning on going further afield though, you may need to sort out an additional insurance policy for your pet alongside their pet passport and any immunisations which they require before travelling. Not insuring your pet is false economy – should they fall ill overseas it could cost a lot more for veterinary treatment and getting them back to the UK than the policy costs. Of course, we need to stress that Travelworld do not provide insurance advice, so it’s best to always check with your provider, particularly as policies and cover with vary considerably.
Think about Overheating
All responsible pet owners know that pets can soon overheat in a hot car, but a pet can also overheat shut up in a motorhome for the day. If you’re not taking your pet with you when you head off for a few hours, then you have a couple of options. Awnings often provide more shade and stay cooler, as well as allowing air to flow through. Alternatively, and if the site owner is happy to allow it, your dog can be left on a long lead on a stake into the ground with access to both the awning and outdoor areas. Just don’t forget to leave lots of water. You might even be able to find some friendly neighbours on the camp site you’ve stopped at who would mind your dog for a short while whilst you nip off.
Summer months see a rapid rise in the number of ticks around, and the illnesses which can be caused by an infected tick are just as dangerous to our pets as they are to humans. Ticks are usually picked up when walking in long grass, and their dark colour can make them difficult to spot on brown or black fur. Make sure you’ve taken advice from your vet about preventing ticks in the first place, and pack some tweezers so you can easily remove any ticks you spot. It’s good to get into the routine of checking your pet over for ticks after each walk.
Pack the Lead
If your dog enjoys exploring new places as much as you do, it can be tempting to let them off the lead to explore. However, this can come with its dangers, especially in areas where you aren’t familiar with the terrain either. You don’t want to be the pet owner calling the coastguard because your pet has fallen over cliffs. Check out the local bylaws too as certain beaches and other places ban dogs between Easter and the end of September, particularly during the day, although some may allow dogs on beaches in the evenings.
Respect the Livestock
If you’re holidaying in a rural area, the chances are your dog is going to come across livestock, which may be something of a novelty. Every year many sheep are killed by dogs, and it’s essential to keep your dog on a tight lead around all farm animals. Farmers may well have the right to shoot at dogs who are worrying sheep or cows, which is another important point to consider. You should also bear in mind, that whilst saying hello to horses in fields may be enthusiastically jumped at by an over-friendly pooch, it is important to consider that the horse or other farm animal may well be alarmed.
Securing Dogs in the Motorhome
Before you even arrive at your chosen campsite, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to transport your dogs safely in your motorhome. It’s second nature to strap the human passengers in with seatbelts, and it’s worth getting similar devices for your dogs. Harnesses will keep them safe and controlled as you travel, and will stop them being thrown around the interior of the vehicle should you be involved in a collision. Harnesses can be bought from large pet superstores and car accessory shops.
If you want your pooch to have access to fresh water on the road, an open water bowl is not going to be a practical option. Either make sure you take regular breaks to allow the dog out of the vehicle to have a drink and exercise, or look for special water bowls which are designed for use in vehicles. It’s usually best to factor in a stop every 90 minutes or so to allow the dogs out to use the toilet.
If you’re travelling to the countryside or the beach, then your dogs are going to want to make the most of running through the forest or splashing in the waves. Cleaning dirty and wet dogs isn’t as easy in a motorhome as it is at home, so minimise damage to the soft furnishings by investing in a set of removable seat covers which you can strip out and wash when you get home, ready for your next trip away. It’s also a good idea to take some old towels to dry off dogs if they get caught in a torrential downpour.
Most campsites will have rules about keeping your dogs tethered up on-site, for the comfort of other guests and their pets. Unless you want to keep them inside at all times when they’re not being walked, you’ll need a long spike to drive into the ground and a long length of rope to attach your dog’s collar to the spike. Look for climbing ropes with a metal clip connection at either end as this makes securing pets quick and easy.
Heating in Winter
If you’re touring in the winter, the temperature might drop much lower than your dog is used to at home. If your dog is sleeping outside or in the awning, think about providing a fleece coat for them to wear or, giving them extra blankets. In really cold weather, it’s probably best to bring pets inside. Think about the configuration and bed layout of the unit when planning a new purchase; beds which might block the entrance to the motorhome may not be a good choice if your dog needs to get out overnight.