Hiring A Dog Friendly VW Campervan? How to Travel in a Campervan with Your Dog
Are you thinking of hiring a campervan and embarking on a road trip adventure with your furiend? Well, you’re not alone! More and more dog owners are choosing to travel in campervans with their canine companions, and well .. you don’t’ need to persuade us why it’s the best kind of holiday ;0)
However, before you hit the road, it’s important to ensure that your dog is safe and comfortable, and that both of you are up to date on the legal requirements for travelling with dogs. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to travel in a campervan with a dog – to help you prepare for the trip of a lifetime!
In this blog, we’ll cover all the essential aspects of travelling with your dog in a campervan, including what legal requirements you need to know about, what options are available for securing your dog for travelling and how to make the journey as enjoyable as possible for both you and your furry friend.
So, whether you’re planning a short weekend break or setting off to explore Scotland’s epic NC500, grab a cuppa and read on to discover the top tips for travelling in a campervan with your dog.
You can Find out More About Hiring Harley, our Luxury VW Dog Friendly Campervan HERE
What are the Legal Requirements for Travelling with Your Dog
Did you know that you could be prosecuted for not following guidance relating to driving with pets as set out within the Highway Code?
The exact legal requirements are covered under Rule 57 of the Highway Code that says:
“When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly.”
There are no stipulations re exactly how this should be achieved but common practice for dog owners tends to include dog crates, carriers, harnesses, and use of guards.
Failing to follow guidance could mean a fine of up to £5,000 if you’re taken to court, as well as points on your licence. But also, car insurance and pet insurance could be invalid too as it’s highly likely that your car/van/campervan insurance will also explicitly set out conditions re your dog being restrained whilst you are driving.
p.s don’t forget that you are also legally required to ensure that your dog is microchipped and wearing a collar showing both owner’s name and address when outside of the home too!
So, when it comes to travelling in a campervan or hiring one, how should you ensure your dog is appropriately restrained, and both safe and legal?
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How to Travel in a Campervan with Your Dog
#1 Clip in Seat Belt
Where you’d normally clip in your seat belt, you can buy a clip in that has a snap clip that can be attached to your dog’s harness.
Super simple and easy to move to different positions within your campervan or other cars, they are also cost effective (under £10).
They also tend to have adjustable lengths so that your dog can sit upright or lie down but most importantly be adjusted to your own dogs size. This also ensures you can adjust so that it’s not too long for them to be jumping around your vehicle and distracting you!
Do ensure you buy a version that is suitable for your model of campervan/car as they are not 100% universal unless it comes with several diff clip in options.
#2 Thread Through Seat Belt
Similar to a clip in seat belt, however you use an existing seat belt to thread through this attachment, removing the need to clip in
Again, these are super simple, cost effective and can be easily moved around in diff positions.
I do find these give a little less freedom than the clip in seat belt option, which is a pro for me and you may wish to consider the size of your dog and how much tension is in your seat belts versus the weight of dog.
For e.g., a small dog on a highly tense seat belt may struggle to move the thread through belt up and do if they like to sit and lie in different positions throughout your campervan road trip. However with this this mind, they are still my own preference to use over the clip in version.
#3 Dog Car Harness
A dog car harness is a specific harness where your dog is secured in one position with the seat belt threaded through. It typically consists of adjustable straps that wrap around the dog’s body and connect to the car’s seat belt or latching system.
While it has all the standard benefits of any option re restraint and lack of distraction, like anything else, there are some cons to using a dog car harness.
Some dogs may find it uncomfortable or restrictive, while others may be able to get out of it through wiggling or chewing. Additionally, not all dog car harnesses are created equal, so it’s essential to choose one that fits your pet snugly, but not too tightly, to ensure maximum safety.
#4 Secured via D Ring
Lots of campervan owners may have added d rings into their interior to provide a secure attachment. You’ll need a double ended lead or short attachment to attach to your dog harness if opting for this method.
If you’re a campervan owner, but don’t have. I’d highly recommend as if you position near your sliding door, it’s great to ensure your dogs are secure whilst doors are open too!
#5 In a Secured Dog Car Seat, Carrier or Crate
A final option may be to use either a dog care sat or a crate or carrier.
A dog car seat is perfect for small dogs who enjoy the view out of the window. They usually buckle into the car and feature a comfortable seat area surrounded by walls that will keep your pet from moving around as you drive. The downside is that they won’t be terribly suitable for larger dogs, who will require more space.
A crate is a great option for larger dogs as well as pups that suffer anxiety or are easily distracted by outside stimuli. It creates a cozy and secure space that they can retreat to during the journey. However, crates can take up a lot of space in your campervan and you need to consider where to put it once you’ve popped your bed down for the night… and they may limit your dog’s ability to move around.
A carrier can offer flexibility- they’re portable, small and are easy to carry around and some are collapsible, making it easier when
When weighing up all the options, just remember to choose one that suits your dog’s size and temperament and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing it in your vehicle. AND…..
Don’t Forget to use a Dog Harness!
If you are using any of the above seat belt methods, you should NOT attach these to your dog’s collar. While there is no legal requirement to do so, if you were in an accident, then attaching to a collar on their neck is likely to cause more harm than the impact being spread over a harness area.
Are You Hiring our Dog Friendly VW Campervan Harley? Exactly Where Your Dog(s) Should Sit Whilst Travelling
When hitting the road in Harley, figuring out where they sit is just as important as packing their food and fave toys (don’t worry we provie everything else!). After all, they’re a part of the family, and their comfort and safety are paramount. So, where should dogs sit in our VW campervan hire while travelling?
#1 Front Seat
One option is to let your dog sit in the front seat with you. However, there are some important things to consider before going this route. Firstly, this may only work for smaller dogs, especially those that can fit comfortably on your lap or in a travel crate. Secondly, if your dog is prone to distracting you while driving, this may not be the best option as you want to focus on the road and keep everyone safe.
#2 Back Seat/Bed
Another option is to let your dog sit in the back seat. It’s actually Hopes’ fave spot!
But, what if you need to transport extra items, or your dog prefers to stretch out? Or even the fact the prefer to see out of the window.
An alternative is to use the back seat as a bed. You can pull out our rock n roll bed it’s flat bed position and lay a comfortable blanket or dog bed in the space for your pooch to relax.
#3 Open Space Area In-between Seats
Just like most campervans, Harley has an open space area in-between the front and back seats.
This space can be turned into a cozy spot for your dog to relax, while still being close to you. Just make sure you don’t have any loose bags or items/objects while on the road that could be a hazard.
This is def Millie’s fave spot though she does need a duvet or her fab Bark ‘n’ Ride Doggy Sleeping Bag!
But Don’t Forget The Golden Rule – Ensure Your Furiend is Securely Fastened!
Note when considering all these options – do bare I mmind the above legal requirement. The golden rule when travelling with your dog in a campervan is to ensure they are securely fastened – not only for their safety but also for yours. You don’t want them climbing on you while you’re trying to navigate tricky roads!
We have all options covered in our doggy welcome pack – with clip in and thread through seat belt options plus a floor level D ring if they prefer to chill out in Harley’s open space.
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In Summary – How to Travel in a Campervan with Your Dog
While the drive itself is as much of the holiday as the destination, please do make sure your dog is comfortable and safe.
Take into consideration the best place for them to sit and take frequent breaks for them to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and make the most of the great outdoors.
A happy and relaxed dog means a happy and relaxed camper van trip! And well know that those adventures are better with furiends!
You may enjoy our other blogs on similar topics:
- Hiring a Campervan? Packing Essentials for Your Dog Friendly Campervan Hire
- Do Campervans Have Electricity? How Power/Charging Works when Hiring Harley our Dog Friendly VW Campervan
- Looking for A Dog Friendly Campervan Site in Scotland? 20 Scottish Campervan Sites to Visit with Your Dog
And You can Find out More About Hiring Harley, our Luxury VW Dog Friendly Campervan HERE