Planning a road trip with your dog? Want to know the best dog travel accessories and things you need? After years of travelling with our cocker spaniel Mac, here are our essential motorhome, campervan and caravan dog travel accessories!
Don’t forget to grab your FREE dog travel checklist below- to make sure you remember everything you need on your trip!
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Best Dog Travel Accessories for Road Trips
Dogs are the best road trip companions- they’re always happy, they let you play whatever you want on the radio and they NEVER whine ‘are we there yet?’!
Still, on our first few trips with our adventure puppy, Mac, we either took WAY too much stuff for him, or we forgot something important- like his food bowl…
(If that sounds like something you might do (no judgement), here’s a FREE checklist for you to print and use. Let your furbaby know he’s loved.)
Are you Planning a Road Trip with Your Dog?
I know dogs need less ‘stuff’ than a human travel companion, but it doesn’t always feel like it. At times, we’ve found ourselves wondering where to put the crate, bowls, food, toys, BALLS, leads, drying coat, towel, brush and everything else a dog needs.
Still, some things we can live without and others we would turn the motorhome around to go back for: they’re that useful!
Also, keeping your dog cool is always important whilst travelling in the heat, so don’t forget these tips to help you keep your dog cool in a car or a camper.
Disclaimer; I know dogs come in ‘he’ and ‘she’, but for the sake of ease I’ll just use ‘he’. I have absolute faith in you being able to apply these tips to your own dog, whatever sex they might be! 😉
Dog Travel Crate
It is against the law to let a dog roam free in a motorhome, camper or car when driving in the UK or Europe. They MUST be restrained at all times and not able to distract the driver. There are several ways to do this, but crate or travel harnesses are the most popular.
NOTE: If you have a caravan, they shouldn’t travel in the caravan, but in the car with you.
We tried Mac with a travel harness when he was a puppy… and he chewed through it! We also used to have a collapsible, fabric crate… but he clawed through that and jumped forward to sit on our laps at the front of the motorhome.
Seriously, this dog is Houdini with fur.
So for a long time we used a metal crate. Yes, it was bulky, yes it was a pain, but it kept him safe while travelling and also acted as his ‘safe’ place to sleep or chill in if he wanted to.
This is our favourite dog travel crate for car/ motorhome road trips; be sure to get one big enough for your dog to sit up straight in and turn around.
Here are some other different options but you can see a full list here.
Dog Road Trip Harness – the Perfect Motorhome Dog Accessory
UPDATE: Mac is now 4 and can FINALLY be trusted with a seat harness. We also downsized our motorhome, so we got rid of the crate and now he just chills wherever he feels like.
This is the harness we use for him.
There are many harnesses on the market, but here are a couple more very good harnesses.
If your harness doesn’t have an integrated seat belt attachment, this is a great accessory for clipping the harness to a seat beat or a anchored lead in your van.
Dog Towel- The BEST Vanlife with Dogs Accessory
I can NOT emphasise enough how essential a good dog towel is when motorhoming or caravanning with a dog.
I’m a huge fan of doggy bags. Seriously, you can put a wet, muddy dog into one of these magical devices and they come out clean, dry and fluffy.
They don’t take up much room, but allow you to clean and dry off a dog before he messes up your van. Or your car. Or your house.
Trust me- I’m a cocker spaniel mum. I use these several times a DAY when travelling- my dog is a water and mud magnet.
If you don’t have any already, grab one here immediately AND get 10% off using code ‘BIRD’!
Dog Shower- The Perfect Dog Caravanning Accessory
Talking of muddy pups, if you have a dog who likes sand, mud, rolling in something disgusting or swimming in the sea, you need a way to rinse them down afterwards.
For years, we had a jerrycan with a shower attachment, which worked well, but then I discovered this.
The reason I LOVE THIS so much is because you can put warm water (not boiling!) into it and give them a warm shower if they need to warm up. It also has a brilliant attachment for scrubbing off muddy boots before they enter the motorhome or caravan!
I would not be without this now!
This. Is. Genius.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t get it when I first saw it. A bin for your dog poop? Why the heck would I want that?
Until, one day, I picked up my dog’s do… and there was no bin. Which meant I had to put it into the van and drive to find somewhere to dispose of it.
THAT is where the Dicky Bag is so useful for vanlifers, motorhomers and caravanners. We often find ourselves in beautiful spots, which don’t have bins. And, as responsible dog owners, we want to do the right thing and clean up. This allows you to do that.
It’s one of those essential accessories that you never knew you needed… and then you wondered how you ever lived without it!
They also do a lovely treat bag to match here.
Dog Calming Collar
A problem we’ve had with our dog Mac since the pandemic has been his anxiety, particularly when we started travelling in a motorhome again.
I guess the noises and the new places must be quite intimidating after almost 2 years in one place, and we had a long time where he hated going into the motorhome and was very unhappy whilst we were travelling, unless someone was sitting in the back with him.
A friend suggested I try Calming spot-on, but I was reluctant to put anything else into his bloodstream, so I opted for a calming collar.
Oh. My. God
This thing is BRILLIANT. Within a few days, he had gone from being anxious and unhappy whilst travelling, to falling asleep within minutes of us setting off.
It smells like lavender and I love that I can just remove it from around his neck when we’ve finished moving for the day. I think the smell also helps get him prepared for the journey, but now he’ll jump into the seat, ready for the road, instead of trying to hide somewhere or go outside.
Another brilliant idea is a light for his collar for night time walks. This one is rechargeable and can be cut to size.
Food/ Water Bowls
The other thing we use is a portable dog drinking bottle. It’s PERFECT for taking on walks or when you’re having adventures with your dog. This is the one we use.
Also, if you want a GREAT bowl to use in the motorhome or caravan to stop spills, this is brilliant. Mac is a sloppy drinker and this has really made a difference to the amount of soggy socks I get!
Cool Mat / Jacket
One of the problems we encountered when we started travelling with a dog was keeping him cool in warmer temperatures.
Again- I have a cocker spaniel. That boy does NOT know how to chill; he will run and play until he collapses (which he did once on a walk and I had to carry him back…!)
I’ll be honest, the cool mat is useful but something about the texture he doesn’t love, so we have to put a towel over it before he’ll lie on it. Still, other dogs seem to use them just fine.
But he LOVES the cooling jacket. It’s absolutely one of the best dog road trip accessories we’ve ever bought. It chills him out (ha- literally!) almost instantly and he never tries to chew or scratch it off.
We used to carry two, but now we use this one which is double layered and stays damp for so much longer- it doesn’t dry out like the cheaper Amazon ones. It’s definitely one of the best dog motorhome accessories we’ve ever got (use code ‘BIRD’ for 10% off)
They also have a wonderful range of shampoos and natural products which you can find (and get 10% off here).
We don’t use extendable leads as I’ve heard too many stories about them breaking when a dog gets over-excited or tries to chase a cat across a road.
We love this lead as the extra hook points make it easy to shorten/ lengthen the lead and keep an excitable and curious puppy close to us when necessary.
We also carry a cheap lead for walks which I don’t mind getting muddy- it goes in the shower with him afterwards!
Books to Help with Dog Travel
Here are some of my favourite books and resources to help you travel and explore with your dog.
So there you go- the most essential dog-friendly caravan and motorhome accessories.
We’ve found it easier to get a set of everything specifically for the motorhome- makes it easier to remember it all. But we also use our handy, dandy dog travel checklist, which you can get right here! 🙂
I hope you have a wonderful road trip with your dog. Safe travels.
Other posts you might find useful:
- How to take your dog from UK to France after BREXIT
- Unmissable Europe road trip ideas
- Best places in France for a road trip
Kat never planned to buy a motorhome. She also never planned to quit her job as an air traffic controller, go touring around Europe in said motorhome, start one of the UK’s largest motorhome travel websites… or get a cocker spaniel.
If you’d like to connect with Kat, send her an email or follow her adventures on social media.
Last update on 2024-02-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API