Walking the Camino de Santiago with a Dog

The Camino de Santiago is at the top of the list of any walker who loves to get outdoors and explore some of the most stunning scenery the world has to offer. With nearly 800 kilometers to explore, you won’t be alone in wanting a little bit of company to make your pilgrimage all the more special. If you want to take your furry friend with you to make the trip one you’ll remember for a lifetime, it’s certainly possible; but you’ll want to plan ahead.

Avoid the Busiest Areas and Times

If you want to walk with your dog off the lead, it is permissible on certain parts; but as a general rule, it is the best practice to make sure you keep your pooch on a lead. Walking past hundreds, potentially thousands, of other walkers every day brings its own set of pressures for your best friend. Unwanted attention from certain passersby could startle them or add extra stress. To keep them on their best behavior, it pays to keep them relaxed, that way they’ll be at their obedient and loving best.

Also, make sure to explore the different Camino routes and find one that is less frequented and the most pet-friendly. Stay clear of the Camino Frances, for example.

Give their Paws a Break

Taking in part of the Camino by bike is a great way to break things up. Remember that your dog may not be as accustomed to walking on the same terrain or for the same duration as you are, especially if this is their first excursion by your side. If you have a small enough breed of dog, then a bicycle with a small towing trailer would make an ideal way to take them from A to B, so they can put their paws up for part of the way. Just make sure you tie them in securely and safely with their lead to avoid any unforeseen drama!

Is your Accommodation Dog Friendly?

One thing to remember is that whilst you love your dog more than anything in the world, not all places you can stay in will be able to put them up for the night. A little research before you set off will enable you to find accommodation that is within your budget and is not too far off the beaten track. You may want to take a small collapsable bowl and a roll-up pillow or blanket for them to sleep on when you come to bed down for the night. This will allow you to get them settled into a good routine as you move from place to place along the Camino. It’s certainly worth having this in mind if you want to make sure you wake up each morning raring to go and explore more of this amazing trail!

Don’t Forget the Food and Water!

Dogs aren’t like us; they’re covered in fur and find it much harder to cool down than you and I. If you’re walking in the summer months when temperatures really reach their heights, you’ll be well advised to take a portable bowl and a large bottle of water just for your furry friend. Make sure to make regular stops and remember that because of their excitement and inability to cool down as efficiently as you can, they’ll need to drink more often, even though they’re a lot smaller. Another thing to remember is that just as your stomach can be upset when you try new foods, so can your dog’s be. Some of the areas you’ll be going to will be quite quaint and remote, so don’t be surprised if you can’t immediately source the foods you usually buy for them at home. Take a tin or a couple of pouches with you if you can, and you won’t be kept awake by a hungry hound who howls all night for a bowl of their favourite!

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