Caravan holidays with a dog


Planning on taking your dog on your caravan holiday for walks, outdoor adventures and some quality time? You won’t have to be minus one family member with the following tips, which cover what to pack for your furry friend, key things to consider before you set off and unspoken camping and caravanning etiquette for dog owners.

Dog looking out of a caravan

Can dogs go on caravanning holidays?

Before you do anything else, you’ll need to check that your caravan site, holiday park or other accommodation accepts dogs – and if so, how many. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to call up the site before you depart. Otherwise, you might be turned away or redirected when you arrive with your canine friend.

Some sites may have specific dog-friendly caravans and even dog-friendly facilities such as dog walking areas, dog waste collection bins and enclosed areas for dogs to play off leads. On-site restaurants, bars or cafés often have dog-friendly areas too, taking away the need for treks to find local dog-friendly pubs or restaurants.

Browse dog-friendly caravan sites and holiday parks

What to pack for your dog

To keep your dog, yourselves and any neighbouring caravans happy, you’ll want to be as prepared as possible for your caravan holiday. The following checklist will make sure that you’re not missing any of your dog’s essentials.

Food and water

  • Water bowl

  • Food bowl

  • Dog food

  • Dog biscuits

  • Dog treats

  • Bottled water for outings

  • Rubber mats or plastic trays to avoid food or water spillage in rented caravans

Walking accessories

  • Lead

  • Harness (if applicable)

  • Collar (including GPS if you want to track your dog)

  • Clip-on lights for your dog’s collar (for walking in the dark)

  • A small torch for nighttime walks

  • Dog waste bags

  • Whistle

  • Coat or raincoat (if your dog gets cold easily)

  • Dog towel(s)

  • A small, low-pressure hose (for washing down your dog after walks)

Other accessories

  • Dog bed

  • Dog blanket

  • Dog wipes

  • Brush

  • A few of your dog’s favourite toys

  • Travel crate or safety restraints for the journey 

  • A form of shade, such as an umbrella or awning

  • A stake (to attach to your dog’s lead and allow them to sniff around the immediate area)

  • Cleaning supplies such as wipes and carpet cleaner to deal with any mud or mishaps

  • Lifejacket (if you’ll be going on any boat trips)


  • Prescription medications (including extra in case you extend your time away)

  • Insurance and medical documents

  • Vaccination records

  • Microchip (if necessary)

  • Name tag and contact details on your pet’s collar

  • A small pair of scissors (for cutting any brambles or debris from fur)

  • Suncream

  • Travel sickness pills

  • Any mobility aids required, such as ramps, steps, dog prams or boots for uneven terrain

  • Carpet and rugs for slippery floors

  • Flea and tick treatments

  • List of local vets

  • A recent photo (in case they go missing)

Top things to consider before taking your dog on a caravan holiday

Preparation is key for any holiday. However, there are a few extra things you’ll want to consider before you take your dog away, in addition to the checklist above. This includes the journey to and from your destination, your dog's individual needs and how they interact with other people and animals.

1. Consider your journey 

Before you get to a destination, you may have a long journey to consider. Whether you're travelling to a static caravan or driving in a tourer, planning plenty of pit stops along your route will be essential to let your dog stretch their legs and have a toilet break. If your dog requires more rigorous or regular exercise, you may want to look into longer trails along your route and break up your journey with a hike or two.

You’ll also want to make sure that your dog is contained for their safety and your own, either in a car boot, travel crate or using dog restraints that work similarly to seatbelts. Dogs also shouldn’t be left inside a caravan while it is being towed, as they’re likely to feel unsafe and there’s a risk that they could be injured by furniture or other belongings.

2. The space inside the caravan

You don’t just have the size of your dog to account for; remember, you’ll also have a dog bed, toys and other accessories to fit inside a caravan that may have limited space. 

3. Where your dog will sleep

The nighttime can be the most challenging time when you take your dog on a caravan holiday. The unfamiliar environment and noises created by other guests or animals can unsettle your dog, potentially leading to a sleepless night for the whole caravan (and your neighbours).

The best way to help your dog sleep well at night is to recreate the conditions at home. This includes providing a familiar bed, blanket and toys, and ideally keeping them in an enclosed space where they won’t bother sleeping family members or cause damage to your caravan, such as on the floor in a front living room. However, this living space might double up as your bed if you’re staying in a touring caravan, so you might prefer to keep them in a separate room.

If you’re renting a caravan, you shouldn’t let dogs sleep on the sofas in case they cause damage to the furnishings. You should also avoid letting your dog sleep in the car, because this can startle them even more, as well as leaving them at risk of theft and extreme temperature conditions.

4. Where your dog will exercise

If you’re travelling with a dog, finding a location with easy access to dog walks is important. You might want to look for a site with a dedicated dog park or dog walking area for late-night walks and quick strolls. Having longer dog walks accessible from the site or via a short car journey will also be handy. 

If you’re staying near the coast, you should always check ahead to make sure that any beach locations or coastal paths are dog-friendly. Some beaches might have year-round or seasonal dog bans, meaning that you could face a hefty fine if you walk your dog on the sand at the wrong time.

5. Keeping your dog calm when cooking in a tight space

Cooking in a tight space such as a caravan has a unique set of challenges when there’s a dog (or two, or three) around. Dogs are easily excited by the smell of cooking food, so it’s important to keep them calm and out of your way when you’re handling hot water, pans and sharp cooking equipment that could cause injury. 

You might want to place your dog under another traveller's supervision for the duration of your food prep. Another option is to attach their lead to a fixed object such as a built-in table leg. Foldable gates can be purchased online to block your pet’s way into the kitchen area; otherwise, making your own barrier out of cushions or foldable chairs can help.

If you’re staying in a static caravan, you could also temporarily place them in another room, such as a bedroom, ensuring that they don’t damage any paintwork by scratching on the doors. 

Techniques such as not rewarding your dog’s whining or barking with attention and avoiding feeding your dog food scraps during the cooking process can also help to stop any bad behaviour.

Campsite etiquette for dogs

While your caravan site might have specific rules for dogs such as keeping them on a lead and not leaving them alone in your caravan, there are also some unspoken rules that you should abide by.

1. Keep your dog on a lead around other people and animals

Some caravan sites might have a rule that your dog must be kept on a lead at all times while on the site. Even if they don’t, it’s good practice to put your dog on a lead around other guests, pets, livestock and wild animals.

It's worth being aware that some guests may be spooked by the presence of dogs, especially younger children, and other animals may not be friendly towards your dog too.

2. Clean up after your pets

Always keep a handful of dog waste collection bags with you, because leaving dog waste lying around is the quickest way to get on the bad side of campsite owners and other guests. Just as you wouldn’t litter, you should keep the landscape clean and hygienic by always cleaning up after your pets and depositing it in bins provided, or a bin of your own.

3. Ensure that your dog is healthy, vaccinated and free from fleas

You don’t want to infect other pets on the caravan site, so you should test your pet for fleas and apply any necessary treatment before you go on holiday. For your dog’s health and safety, their vaccinations should also be fully up to date and any treatments and guidance recommended by your vet for health conditions should be followed.

4. Don’t leave your dog alone in your caravan

There are several risks that comes with leaving your dog in a caravan. The main one is that they could damage the caravan without supervision. It's also possible that your dog may become distressed by the unfamiliar environment, which can lead to them escaping through any doors and windows that aren’t securely fastened. At the very least, your dog may bark when they’re in distress, irritating other campers and negatively impacting their caravanning experience. While it’s unlikely, there’s also a risk they could be stolen if left unattended. 

That’s not to mention the possibility that the dog could fall ill or cause harm to themselves without anyone supervising them. In high temperatures, the caravan can quickly heat up, causing health issues or fatalities in the worst-case scenario.

5. Consider whether your dog’s barking will disturb neighbours

If your dog is vocal, especially in unfamiliar environments, it may be best to consider leaving them in the care of family members, friends or kennels when you go on your caravanning holiday. Other guests are easily disturbed by dogs barking through the night. 

With that in mind, if you do take your dog you might want to look for a pitch away from the majority of guests so that you don’t have any close neighbours. A dog-friendly caravan site also offers a little more leeway for barking noises, as guests are more likely to tolerate a certain level of background noise.

6. Prepare for any worst-case scenarios

While it’s unlikely that anything will happen to your dog while you’re on holiday, you’ll want to consider all eventualities. Some locations may have ticks and other insects that can bite or latch onto your canine, while others are subject to more extreme weather conditions that could put dogs at risk, such as extreme heat, storms or snow. If your dog is young, old or not very well behaved, you might want to avoid these sorts of risks.

Getting your dog checked by a vet before departure is always a good idea to identify any health risks before you depart. You should also pack a list of local vets, bring a dog first-aid kit and consider microchipping your dog or attaching an ID card to their collar in case of theft or a lost dog.


Do many campsites allow dogs?

There are many dog-friendly campsites and dog-friendly caravan sites out there. However, you should always double check that your chosen site and particular accommodation type permits dogs, and how many.

Can you leave your dog alone in a caravan?

You should never leave your dog unattended in a caravan due to the risk of injury, theft and extreme temperature conditions. Dogs should always be supervised to ensure the wellbeing and safety of the dog and other guests.

With a plan in place for your caravan holiday with your dog, you might want to check out our caravan checklist and guide to static caravan holidays.

Look at our full guide to caravanning