Whether you own a static or touring caravan, pets make the perfect holiday company. After all, they’re part of the family, right?
The rise of the ‘staycation’ trend in light of the pandemic means our pets are now joining us on our travels more often than ever before.
Luckily, most UK caravan holiday parks are pet-friendly, so whether your tourer takes you everywhere or your static stays put, you can rest assured that your pet will feel at home wherever you go.
The only things better than caravan holidays are pet-friendly caravan holidays. However, you need to be prepared if you’re taking your pet away with you this summer.
From stocking up on essentials to making sure your caravan’s ventilation is up to scratch, here are our 6 essential steps to caravanning with pets.
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We all know that pets shouldn’t be left alone in hot cars during the summer, and the same rules apply to caravanning.
Like all homes and vehicles alike, caravans can reach high temperatures in the summer. While you might think you’d rather be warm than cold on your holiday, temperatures can reach dangerous (even fatal for pets) levels if your caravan is left unventilated.
Venting your caravan and keeping a steady, regulated temperature is not only important for you but also for your pets. The benefits of proper ventilation include:
- the consistent regulation of your caravan’s internal ‘climate’
- combatting humidity and condensation
- tackling bad odours and potential pollutants
There are several ways to ensure your caravan is ventilated. It starts with something as simple as merely opening a window or installing a fan, but investing in more complex systems like roof vents and wind deflectors can take your ventilation to new levels.
If you own a touring caravan, in particular, you should seek to park in shadier areas, too.
It’s always worth remembering that what’s comfortable for you may not necessarily be comfortable for your furry friend, so ventilation is important when caravanning with pets.
Though the heat is less of an issue if you’re caravanning in cooler temperatures, you should also make sure your caravan is well insulated. For example, things like draft excluders are a good starting point for the colder months.
The last thing you want to do is arrive at your caravan holiday destination and realise you’ve left some pet essentials at home.
As most, if not all, caravan holidays are fully self-catered, there’s a good chance your bags will be packed full of food and supplies for you—but you mustn’t forget your pet either.
Caravanning with pets involves a lot of planning and necessary admin if you want to make it a stress-free experience for both yourself and your pet.
Consider how long you’re going to be away, what your pet will need for those days specifically, and whether you have nearby amenities to replenish things while you’re away (which perhaps won’t be the case if you’re caravanning in a secluded spot!).
We’ve created a mini checklist to get you started. This is by no means exhaustive, but it’ll give you a steer in the right direction. Of course, you know your own pet better than anyone else!
- Pet carriers – these are essential for cats, dogs, and other small animals, particularly if you’re making long journeys
- Bowls and water containers – your pets get thirsty in the heat!
- First aid kit – pack this with everything you normally would, but ‘pet-proof’ it, too. One thing you mustn’t forget is a tick remover
- Window shades – these are great for blocking out harsh sunlight both in your caravan and in transit
- Food – it’s natural to want to treat your pets while away, just as you might treat yourself. However, try not to change things up too drastically from their normal diet, as this can put your pet out of kilter and upset their stomach – and nobody wants that at the best of times, let alone on holiday!
- Medication – this one may or may not be necessary, depending on your pet’s health
A general rule of thumb is to always pack slightly more than you need, just to cover your back in the event of something unforeseen.
You might not be particularly blessed with space in your caravan, especially if you have a tourer, but you still need to set some boundaries regarding where you allow your pet to free-roam.
Just like you would at home, be careful with human food and your pet. As a pet owner, you’ll already know some foods we eat can be harmful to pets, so keep them away from the kitchen and food-prep areas as best you can.
Keeping pets out of the bathroom, too, is wise for various reasons. Your bathroom is likely to be full of toxic cleaning products, which could be fatal in the wrong hands (or paws).
By no means are we saying exclude your pet—in fact, quite the opposite.
Instead, set your pet up with their own station with a few of their favourite things—we’re talking food, toys, or comfort items from home. We all know pets love a blanket or teddy!
If you’re sitting around the table, enjoying a family meal in your caravan, move your pet’s station next to you so they feel involved and part of the family fun.
Most pets are sociable animals. Much like us humans, it’s unnatural for them to be couped up indoors with no release, especially on holiday.
When it comes to playtime, think of your pet in the same way you would a young child. They need to let off some steam; otherwise, they’ll become restless and won’t be able to settle down at bedtime.
Sound familiar, parents?
It doesn’t matter which type of caravan you have, pet play areas are easy to set up and help keep your pet entertained while you relax.
The design of the play area ultimately depends on your pet, so it’s totally up to you how you want to lay things out. You might want to get creative and build your own, but there are a plethora of portable pet play tents on the market if you don’t have the time or resources.
Portable tents are great for smaller pets, in particular, keeping them safe, secure and happy, so you don’t have to worry about watching over them 24/7.
Their portability and soft, flexible material also means they can be easily stowed away without taking up too much luggage space either.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but you must double-check your caravan park or site is pet-friendly before travelling, or you could get turned away on arrival.
If you own a static caravan, the chances are you checked this out long before you purchased your holiday home. But for tourers, it’s important you do your research before deciding on your next destination.
Most caravan parks will have certain rules and regulations in place, which you, the pet owner, will be responsible for following while away. This might sometimes also be referred to as a ‘code of etiquette’, which will normally include things like:
- how many pets you’re allowed to bring with you
- keeping them on leads in communal spaces
- cleaning up mess policy
- leaving pets unattended on-site
If you plan on visiting the same site for multiple holidays, too, it’s wise to get friendly with some of your caravan neighbours and their pets. As you know, caravanners are a friendly bunch!
The more comfortable your pet feels in their new surroundings, the less stressful and more enjoyable the holiday will be for you and them.
However, it’s not just the caravan site itself you check out. After all, you’re not going to spend your entire holiday there, right? Do your research into the local area, check out nearby activities, pet-friendly restaurants, cafés, even the weather forecast, and so on.
Always make sure there’s an emergency vet nearby, too. You never know when you might need one.
For all the preparation you do to get yourself ready for your caravan holiday, you mustn’t forget to factor in enough time for your pet.
Though there are usually fewer things to worry about when holidaying in the UK, it’s still wise to take your pet for a general check-up at the vets at least a month before you travel.
Ask the vet to check that your pet’s vaccinations and treatments for things like fleas and worms are up to date, too, to ensure they remain fit, well and happy while you’re away.
Your pet is probably already microchipped, especially if you own a cat or dog, but if not, now’s the time to get it done. Think about getting a holiday collar, too, with your contact details and the address of your caravan site clearly etched on it. The last thing you want is to lose your furry friend, especially somewhere they’re not familiar with either!
Besides medical preparation, getting your pet caravan holiday-ready also involves considering things like your intended routine and their comfort on long journeys.
Use the time leading up to your holiday wisely to start implementing a few slight changes to how you do things with your pet at home. This will ensure it’s not too much of a shock to their system when your holiday time arrives for real.
Whether you own a static or touring caravan, our pets make excellent holiday company. Thinking of taking your pet with you this summer? You need insurance first.
At Ripe Caravans, our specialist caravan insurance covers your caravan up to the value of £75,000 (for tourers) and £175,000 for statics. You can also choose to include additional cover to protect your contents and awnings.
Not only that, we also offer public liability and free accidental death cover (for tourers) up to £10,000. Coupled with our very own Ripe Guarantee, our policies ensure you won’t find the same level of cover for a better price anywhere else on the market.