Taking your dog with you as travel by camper is the best way to enjoy an unforgettable holiday. Dog-owners know this perfectly well: the relationship we create with our four-legged friends is so strong and honest that he or she becomes in effect a member of the family. But organising dog-friendly holidays can prove difficult, depending where you go, so the following are essential to ensure a successful trip:
hotels or other accommodation that allows dogs in the rooms;
attractions and places of interest that allow dogs ;
green areas where you dog can run around, stretch its legs and enjoy itself;
But those who travel by camper know that in fact these are not the determining features for a successful trip, since everything that your dog needs can be stored in your home on four wheels. If this is your first time that you travel by camper with your dog, we offer some suggestions here to help you organise matters better!
The first vital thing to consider for your dog is paperwork. Before you think about its food, water and bed, you must find out what documents are needed for such a trip, and so avoid ruining the entire experience.
Dogs have a passport just like people, supplied by your local Health Service Veterinary Service. The procedure is simple, but you need to organise yourself well before your trip. First, the dog needs a microchip registration, and to be listed in the dog register; next, it must have an anti-rabies shot (usually one month before departure) and finally you must go to the Health Service Veterinary Service in your city, and with the dogs’ medical records, to ask for the passport, The cost varies from region to region, but in Emilia Romagna for example, it costs in total 15 euro. All subsequent vaccinations your dog has must be included in its health records and the passport itself. But why do all this?
It is vital in case you cross the border, and abroad the police can ask to see the dog passport at at time. In fact, the Italian Health Ministry Website states that this document is sufficient to get your dog into any EU country (but we also advise carrying its health records as well). It is best to check the local rules for any EU-country you are visiting, via the tourist agencies or embassy, since some countries have specific rules (like Eire, the UK, Sweden, Malta, Finland and Norway).
What to pack for your dog
So we have the necessary documents to take your dog with you in your camper: now we have to pack, Yes, our canine friends need to pack as well, so here are the things you need to make the trip painless and simple.
Travel bowls for water and food: usually there as plastic, washable, very light and come with a lid;
plenty of food: it is best to have an abundant supply for the whole trip;
treats, so as to comfort your dog and rewards it when it behaves well during the trip;;
the same toys it plays with at home, so as not to disrupt its daily routine too much;
the same bed it uses at home, if you can transport it in the camper, and for the same reasons;
a number of leads, of different lengths, so that you can choose how much freedom to give your pet according to the places you are visiting;
a muzzle that is generally required in public places, particularly abroad;
plenty of hygenic wipes;
the passport and health records
medicines that might come in handy as you travel. Anti-parasite treatments, medicines for ear and skin infections, while travel-sickness and diarheaa medicines are also useful;
a dog first aid kit is always a good idea.
At the end of all this, your dogs suitcase will be bigger than yours!
How to get your dog used to travel
we should remember that before your dog’s the first camper trip, it needs to become accustomed to the camper! Our canine friends are creatures of habit, and sudden change can scare them easily. So…. what to do?
First, let your dog explore the parked camper for a few minutes, so that it can note all the smells and get used to the spaces. Your dog will need an area all of its own in the camper with the bed, box or kennel a few toys, so that it rapidly comes to feel at home. This area should not be changed.
Next we simulate travel for a few minutes: if your dog stays calm, a treat is in order, but if not, do not shout, simply ignore it. If it really will not settle down, stay with short trips and make them longer as you go. The important thing is that the first trip does not leave lasting negative impressions in its mind.
Other advice include:
do not give your dog its food just before you set out;;
do not allow your dog total run of the water;
stop every hour or 30 minutes of travel;
break up long journeys with a regular small snack; .
Which apps to use
Finally, one last thing you need to know: even if you are travelling by camper, you do need to find dog-friendly rest-areas and campsites, restaurants that allow dogs inside, details of vets in the area you are visiting. There are few smartphone apps that can help with this:
Vacanze Animali helps you to find campsites, agritourisms, beaches, restaurants and pizzeria across Italy suited for your canine friend. Their blog offers much advice on dog-friendly holidays;
Viaggiare con Cane e Gatto del Touring Club is a very useful app that brings together searches of pet-friendly places to eat and sleep, plus a list of 24-hour vets. You can create your own personalised tour, taking pictures and using geolocalisation of places that you visit;
Vacanze Bestiali is the official app of ENPA, which gathers information on dog-friendly structures, campsites, restaurants and beaches, as well as offering travel advice and the suggestions of experienced pet-owning tourists;
Finally there is a very useful Android App called Pet Diary (iOS equivalent is Dog Diary), which allows you to note your pet’s important appointments such as vaccinations or medicines to buy.