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It’s also important to know what it means to have a dog on the road. The questions we get most often are “how often do you leave your dog in the van?” and “how do you keep them comfortable?” Our answer to the first question is pretty much never! Being trapped in a car is no way for a dog to live and leaving them alone in there should really only be a last resort. You should count on having your dog with you about 90% of the time. That means you might have to tailor your plans to accommodate your dog, but that’s what we do because we’d do anything for our furry family members!
Now, it’s not possible to have your dog with you every waking minute. You’ll eventually have to leave them in the van to grocery shop or go anywhere that dogs are prohibited, and when you do, your dog’s comfort is what’s most important.
Our general rule when in comes to leaving a dog in the van is if we’re too hot, then he’ll be too hot. We’ll park in a shaded spot, crack windows in front and back and turn on our fan/vent to create a cross breeze, close our blackout thermal curtains to keep the sun out, and turn on our portable evaporative air cooler, and if it’s still uncomfortable for us, we don’t leave Snoop in the van and alter our plans. No matter what we needed to do, it’s not worth putting him in danger. Another great thing to have on hand is a cooling towel or cooling collar when you are in especially hot climates.
There’s only so much you can do to keep your dog warm because we don’t have a heat source in our van. And because we don’t have a heat source, we rarely find ourselves in really cold places. If we do have to leave him in the van when it’s cold, we’ll blast the heat from the front vents and get it nice a toasty before we leave. Then, of course, there’s his warm (and stylish) sweater.
Other options for leaving your dog alone
If you have to leave your dog alone for a longer period of time, there are great services like Rover and Doggy Vacay that you can utilize. These services connect you with a person in the area who can take care of your dog so you never have to board them at a kennel. I actually used to be a dog sitter on Rover myself!
What I’m getting at is that every dog and every situation is different, and if you’re looking to transition to a mobile lifestyle with your dog, making sure that they’re going to love the vanlife as much as you do is so important. For example, if you have a dog that gets motion sickness, is anxious in new place, doesn’t like other dogs, or can’t be off-leash, vanlife may not be ideal for them.
That being said, there’s always room for training! Here are a few things you can do to prepare your dog for vanlife:
So we’ve seen our fair share of vets, all in different places. Hopefully you won’t be at an animal hospital as much as we have been, but it’s important to be prepared for a visit. The best thing you can do is keep a file or binder with all of their medical history in it so that new vets can be caught up quickly.
Here’s whatto keep in your dog’s binder:
When your dog runs out of medication while you’re in a place you’ve never been before, there are pretty much two options:
Overall, it’s all about giving your dog the best life possible. Whether that’s in a house, an apartment, or in a van. If you have any further questions don’t be afraid to leave them in the comments!