Camino de Santiago walking routes are enjoyed by a wide range of people - couples, families with kids, solo travellers and bike enthusiasts. The Santiago Ways are also greatly enjoyed by dogs, to many people’s surprise. There is no reason you shouldn’t bring your furry best friend on a walking holiday, as we know dogs love long walks, exploring and spending time with their owners! However, if you are planning to bring your dog along, you need to consider some additional things. Here’s everything you need to know.
Research the best routes for dogs
Just like you will be choosing a route that suits your needs and abilities, you must choose one that your dog will be fine walking too. Such routes as Camino del Norte or Camino Frances are absolutely stunning and suitable for dogs, however, they do have a lot of mountainous areas with cliffs. If your dog is not well trained and you are worried about them walking near cliffs, perhaps a different, simpler route is worth considering.
There are many to choose from though - some are shorter than others, some may be more or less challenging. You may also have a look at what kind of attractions or restaurants you will be seeing on the way and whether those are dog-friendly (e.g. not all attractions may allow your dog inside, such as churches or chapels).
Look for dog-friendly accommodation
Since most of the walking routes in Camino de Santiago are typically about 5-7 days long, you will need to book some accommodation. You must ensure that the hotel or guest house you choose are dog-friendly too. Not only that, the selected hotels should be a good distance apart from one another, so you can have a day of walking and check-in in the evening - otherwise if you arrive at your hotel too early, you will be forced to stay there for the rest of the day.
Make sure your dog is physically prepared
Every dog owner knows best what their own pet is like and how physically prepared they are for adventures. It is quite usual to walk 20-25km per day in the Camino routes, so make sure that your dog is capable of walking as much as you. Besides the length of the routes, you may also consider the weather conditions (in case it’s very sunny and hot), the difficulty of the route, the amount of breaks your dog will need to take, etc.
It is always recommended to visit a vet before taking your dog on a walking holiday. They may do some general check-ups or tests to see if your dog is prepared for long distances as well as offer some vaccinations that may be recommended for pets when travelling.
Pack the right things
It is solely your responsibility to make sure that your dog is perfectly happy and prepared for your walking holiday. As a dog owner, you likely already know what kind of things you should be packing for your furry best friend, however, some of the most important items to add to the list include the following: water and water/food bowls, treats, toys, a leash, foot pads or doggie shoes for when it’s hot, doggie bags, medication and travel documentation. Additionally, some travellers decide to bring a backpack for their small dog, if they know their pet will not be capable of walking such long distances.