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Travelling in the van with a dog: the basics of travelling with animals.

A man and a woman are sitting at the loading sill of a van, a dog is sitting between them

Travelling with a dog can undoubtedly be animal-friendly. It is important, however, to take into account a few basic aspects. This ensures that human beings and animals can fully enjoy travelling in the van.

Dogs and vans? They are a really good match.

Your belongings have been stowed away in the van, you have thought of everything and yet something seems to be missing? Many dog owners know this feeling. For the welfare of the animal, many of them decide to leave their beloved pet with friends or acquaintances, something which can be difficult for everyone involved. But are these painful separations and changes necessary in the first place? Especially as far as travelling in the van is concerned, the answer seems to be increasingly clear. Numerous vanlifers even live with their dogs in their “home on four wheels”. However, in order to prevent major problems and risks, there are a few things that should be taken into account and looked into.

A dog is looking out of a van onto a lake

If a few essentials are taken into account, the animal can relax while you are on the road.

Clarifying the state of affairs.

To start with, the correct evaluation of the initial situation is of primary importance. It should be clarified whether it lies in the nature of the respective animal to spend extended periods of time in a rough and restless place. If the dog has no experience with driving in a vehicle for more than an hour, it is recommended to take a few test drives before setting out on a long journey. The travel compatibility of a dog may have to do with many factors. Please note the following: A dog that has no experience with travelling should not be thrown in at the deep end, so to speak. Special care must be taken when dealing with extremely young or extremely old animals who have never travelled before.

Two dogs are running around a van

Young dogs need a lot of exercise – and they are not particularly fond of long journeys.

With the dog means for the dog.

Once the animal is mentally prepared, you can begin making travel plans. A journey with the dog is always a journey for the dog, too. Every dog owner should be clear about this. But what does that mean? Especially when selecting the travel destination, the needs of the canine should be taken account of. This also includes the choice of the best route. Every two or three hours at the latest, a brief stop should be made, whereas during longer journeys the breaks should of course be longer, too. Furthermore, it is essential to clarify which travel regulations apply for dogs in the respective foreign country. How about the local vaccination regulations? Do the authorities require an entry paper for the animal or are quadrupeds even obliged to wear muzzles? Some countries also require so-called “holiday pet tags”. They contain information on the holiday address, the travel period and the telephone number of the owner. All these things should be clarified promptly, as visits to the vet and obtaining the required documents may take some time.

Checklist for travelling with a dog.

  1. Official documents required for entering a foreign country (depending on the destination)
  2. Dog brush
  3. Sun protection
  4. Water bottles
  5. Dog bowl (for food and water)
  6. Food
  7. Tin opener
  8. Dog blanket or cushion
  9. Treat
  10. Leash
  11. Collar
  12. Towels
  13. First aid kit

Do not forget to take along some treats.

The best route has been chosen – what can possibly go wrong now? Even for resilient dogs, long trips and stays away from their familiar surroundings can be challenging. We humans tend to overlook that new smells, in particular, are a major nuisance for dogs. If dog owners want to help their dog, they can take along the pet’s blankets or cushions which smell of his or her familiar home. In this way, even the most sensitive noses can relax. Besides, you should always keep an eye on how you feed your dog. In addition to his/her normal food, it is okay to give your pet the occasional treat while you are on the road. What is also very important is that the dog drinks enough water. For this purpose, it is recommended to take along several bottles of water. In any event, the dog should be offered liquids in a portable bowl at every stop.

A woman is sitting behind the wheel of a van, a dog is sitting on her lap

Most dogs cope well with the unfamiliar sea air.

Transport boxes or a harness for fastening the dog?

Before you set off, the important question of how to transport the dog in your van should be clarified. What is at stake here is nothing less than the safety of all passengers, as well that of other road users. Two options have stood the test of time. Animal boxes are the safest transport possibility. Furthermore, the closed boxes are ideal as a visual protection for the dog on longer journeys. If the dog saw the trees and landscapes rush past him outside, this could make a nervous pet even more nervous. The only drawback is that the bulky transport boxes take up a lot of space. An alternative option would be to buckle up the dog. By means of a special seatbelt harness, the animal can be buckled up on any seat in the van. The main drawback of this procedure is the restricted mobility of the dog.

A dog is digging his nose into a couple of stones in front of a van

Making enough stops in order to take the dog for a walk and let him play is essential for any dog.

Longing for home? If you have taken the dog’s own cushion along in the van, he or she should not miss anything.

A woman and a man are sitting in a van, with a dog sitting in their midst who is caressed by both of them

Dog owners are very pleased when they see that their four-legged friend is all right.

A woman and a man are sitting on the loading sill of a van and are playing with a dog

For many vanlifers, dogs are part of the family.

A dog is standing in front of a van keeping a watchful eye

Dogs also accept a van as their home.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

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