Living on the Road with Dogs
Tips from Dog Owners Living the Vanlife
As a dog mom to 2-year-old Cy living on the road, I might be biased... but in my opinion, whether you already live the Vanlife or are thinking about it, including a four-legged companion to your upcoming adventures will make your journey all-the-more enjoyable. Furthermore, for the solo travelers out there, having a pet on board also adds a level of companionship and protection.
Having a dog on board as your copilot makes this lifestyle more fun and exciting for us humans, but it's arguably the ultimate environment for dogs: they get to spend lots of time outside exploring and adventuring with you... If you don't believe me, you should see Cy's constantly excited face, which is a testament to what I'm advancing here!
Road life with a pup is such a wonderful and rewarding experience and it is totally doable, as long as you prepare for it. Your canine companion will have some specific needs and having the right gear will make such a big difference for you and for them. We asked a few dog owners living on the road to share their tips, and compiled a list of products we know will make a difference.
"2 big dogs in one small space is both rewarding and challenging! We're together almost 24/7, so balancing our activities to get all the energy out daily, ample down time, and activities I do without them are all essential. Also, lots and lots of towels to clean dirty dogs!"
Tiffany, dog mom to Rugger & Busco
Follow her adventures @tiffanylaneneptune
Marley's Monsters - Natural cleaning Cloth: Cotton Chenille
Photo by Rory Savatgy @savatgy
Dog beds & seat covers
Having a comfortable spot for your dog to lay on is clutch in the van, especially during long drives. Kurgo's Loft Wander Bed is a great option because it has a water-resistant top and a waterproof bottom, so you can use it inside or outside the van. The best part is that it rolls up and it can be machine washed! For those rainy days, we also recommend the Wanderer Bench Seat cover or the Cargo cape, which will protect your home-on-wheels from those muddy paws.
Kurgo - Loft Wander Bed
Kurgo - Wanderer Bench Seat Cover
Kurgo - Cargo Cape
Photo courtesy Kurgo
Bowls & water
Having a designated water bowl is important to keep your pup hydrated but can also be inconvenient when you are moving and want to avoid spills. Kurgo's Splash-free Water Bowl is the perfect water bowl with its tapered lip and high sides, it provides water spills and stays flat when you drive.
We're also big fans of collapsible or foldable water bowls when you bring your companion on a hike or exploring around town! This Squishy dog bowl is stellar for that, and we also love the Collaps-a-bowl — both are lightweight and easy to carry, and wont take any space in your backpack!
Last but not last, we like the ingenuity of this small accessory that simply screws onto most plastic bottles to create a quick convenient shower to clean off your dog after being outside. A smart way to recycle your used bottle!
Photo courtesy Kurgo
"I’d say my tip for van life with a dog is to get creative with the places you visit. A lot of people are drawn to visiting National Parks, I understand the allure as they are always scenic and stunning places - but most of them don’t allow dogs on any trails or areas outside of paved parking lots. There are a ton of Wilderness and National Forest destinations that are just as beautiful as National Parks, some even border the parks. I would recommend doing your research and making sure your dog will enjoy where you’re going just as much as you. Find places that they can hike in and enjoy as well!"
Whitney, dog mom to Jasper
Follow her adventures @whitwhitehouse
Dog toysWhether it's when you have to leave your dog in the van for a little bit, or when you're busy working or doing the other things van people do outside of their van, it is important to keep them happy and stimulated. Having a few fun toys so they can entertain themself will make your life and theirs easier! We love Katie's Bumpers, made with fire hose material which makes them very durable for endless play time.
Aussie Naturals - Flattie Bearoldable Spiral Dripper
Aussie Naturals - Choy Toy - Whale
Photo courtesy Aussie Naturals
Leashes and Collars
Bison Designs™ - Survival Dog Lead
Kurgo - RSG Collar
Nite Ize - Spotlit® Rechargeable Collar Light
Photo courtesy Nite Ize
"Having Cy in the van is the best decision I’ve ever made! One important factor to keep in mind while traveling is the weather and how hot or cold it is going to be! You might have to adapt and change your plans. When you do leave your dog in the van make sure to park in the shade, cover your windows and crack one open, turn the fan on and have plenty of water. Cooling pads are also a great way to keep your pet cool. If it’s too hot for you to be in the van, it is too hot for your dog! I also like to put a note on the window with my phone number in case someone feels concern about Cy’s safety. "
Anouk, dog mom to Cy
Follow her adventures @frenchyinavan
Adventure® Medical - Adventure Dog Series Trail Dog Kit
More products that will make your dog's life (and yours) easier on the road
FOOD STORAGE & PRESERVATION
Shop our selection of air-tight containers to better preserve your dog's food.
Airscape® - Pet Treat & Food Air-Tight Storage Container
Airscape® - Air-Tight Bucket Insert
Your dog deserves the best care, and the planet deserves your care products to be non toxic. Here's a selection of care products from 100% natural origin!
THE MUST-HAVES :)
Dog products you can't do without
The Printed Image - Outdoor Bandanas (20 design options!)
Kurgo - Direct Seat Belt Tether
USDA Dog Poop Bags
Ruffin' It - Pet Hair Roller