Advice to help you do the Camino de Santiago with your dog
In this post on our blog we gave you some good reasons to do the Camino de Santiago with your dog. Maybe, it was our article that convinced you or you are possibly one of those people who were clear from the beginning that they would do the Camino de Santiago with their dog and are just looking for some advice.
It doesn’t really matter what your case is because you’re in the right place. In Santiago Ways, we dedicate this article to all dog lovers. For this reason, we have elaborated this list of tips to complete the Camino de Santiago with a dog. Before reading on about the specific tips for dogs, if you still know nothing about the way, we suggest you take a look at our practical guide on the Camino de Santiago, in it, we give you all the basic information you need.
Choose a route on the Camino de Santiago that fits your dog
Travel time and distances depend mainly on each pilgrim, but if you decide to do the Camino de Santiago with your dog, you should think about it too. Our advice is to choose a route on which the travel logistics with your dog are not very complicated.
An excellent option to do with your dog is the Camino Frances, as it is the route with the widest offer of services. If your dog is not a mountain-ready breed, choose simpler sections.
In this article, you will be able to check on the different sections on the Camino Frances and you will also find information on other routes of the Camino de Santiago. Pick one that’s right for you and your dog. He won’t be able to say anything, so you’ll have to think for both of you.
Another aspect that you should consider in selecting which section of the Camino de Santiago you are going to do with your dog is the difficulty in getting to the starting point of the route. Some localities are easy to reach and you will find various options to take your loyal partner with you, but if you start from a small town, the transfer is much more complicated.
Planning the stages
When planning the stages, if you do the Camino de Santiago on foot, you should know that it is usual to walk between 20 and 25 kilometres a day. Make sure your dog will be able to walk as much as you. If you think your pet will not be able to walk so many kilometres, consider shortening the stages, not all pilgrims do the same number of kilometres per day.
Make sure of your accommodation
Although more and more hostels, hotels and cottages are pet-friendly, or, they accept dogs in the establishment, accommodation is the most difficult part of doing the Camino de Santiago with your dog. Therefore, it is important that you make sure of your accommodation before you embark on the adventure of taking your dog on the Camino de Santiago.
Where to sleep with your dog on the Camino de Santiago
On the way, you will find everything from accommodation where your dog can sleep with you in the room to places where the dog can sleep outside in the yard or a kennel. In fact, there are few establishments that offer you a specially adapted space for the dog.
If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago by staying in the public hostels’ network, you should study very well where pets are allowed. We warn you from now on, that in some stages you will not find hostels with this service, so you will have to resort to other types of accommodation. Besides, your dog will never be able to stay with you in the room.
Our advice if you do the Camino de Santiago with your dog is that you stay in hostels, hotels and rural houses, so you can enjoy much more of the route without having to worry about where you and your dog will sleep that night. Sometimes, especially in high season, it is quite complicated if you go alone, imagine if you go with a dog.
Of course, the above does not apply to guide dogs. These by law must be admitted in all types of establishments (bars, restaurants, hostels, hotels, etc.) regardless of whether they are dog-friendly or not.
Finding accommodation on the Camino de Santiago with your dog
If you follow our advice you should know that at this point an agency specializing in the Camino de Santiago can help to reserve the accommodation for you and your dog. So you don’t have to spend hours and hours in front of your computer looking for pet-friendly accommodation.
You will also have other types of services that can make the Camino de Santiago much more comfortable and safe, both for you and your pet. In this article, we will tell you what services a specialized agency on the Camino, like us, can offer you.
In Santiago Ways, we only offer the service of organization of the Camino de Santiago with a dog for the last sections on the Camino Frances: The last 100 kilometres, from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. You will find information about the route on the link. If you like the route that we propose, you can get in touch with us and we will give you more details about the service to pilgrims with a mascot on this route.
Your dog should also be physically prepared
As you should know, and if not, we tell you now, doing the Camino de Santiago, it is advised to train beforehand. In this article, you will find what kind of exercise routines are recommended.
As with people, dogs are also advised to train beforehand. Especially if they are animals that are not used to doing sport.
A few months before starting the Camino de Santiago, you have to take it for long walks or to run a few kilometres. You can also measure its resistance.
In addition, as pilgrims are advised to visit their doctor before pilgrims to Santiago, dogs should also visit the vet. It is advisable to de-worm it before starting your adventure together and if it doesn’t have a microchip, you should place one, so if you lose the dog, you can locate it.
Add things for your dog in your backpack
If you do the Camino de Santiago with your dog and you carry the backpack on your back during the tour, you must prepare it very well, because besides your things, you will have to carry some extra weight for your dog. However, if you decide to do the Camino with an agency you will be offered a backpack shuttle service, so you won’t have to worry so much.
What to take
In this article, we explain what things you are going to need on the Camino de Santiago. In addition to the list of things that we discussed in that article, if you are going to make the Camino de Santiago with your dog, you must include:
Food and drink bowls
Two bowls for food and drink or a feeding bag. You could use folding feeders, they are very practical because they do not occupy much space and are very light.
Even if your dog is well-behaved and the idea is not to take him along the routes of the Camino de Santiago tied up, you must carry a leash to hold him. There may be urban areas or sections that pose a risk to him.
Documentation for the dog
You should, at least, take your dog’s vaccination card, to show that it has had the anti-rabies jab. If to make the Camino de Santiago you will have to take a flight, do not forget its pet passport.
If you are travelling to the Camino de Santiago from abroad, in addition, you must carry with you all the documentation that is requested to enter Spain with a dog. You can consult the required documentation according to your country of origin in this application.
Foot pads, shoes and creams to look after its legs
Remember that as happens to pilgrims with their feet, your dog could have problems with its legs along the route. Avoid this by protecting with specific pads or footwear.
Some ball or toy
If your dog is playful, carry something that can entertain it as long as they are in the accommodation. Balls or dog chews are usually pretty light.
If your dog takes any specific medication don’t forget its treatment. If it is very specific, you may have trouble finding it in any veterinary practice.
In urban areas, or if the animal poops on the trail, you must collect its droppings. Do not forget that it is the responsibility of all to take care of the Camino de Santiago!
The Camino de Santiago backpack for your dog
Regarding whether your dog should carry his own backpack or not, opinions are very diverse. Some people say that putting on clothing is animal abuse because these items are for humans and the animal feels uncomfortable wearing them. On the other hand, to put a backpack with weight is a resource very used by the coaches of dogs to tire them out. The decision is yours.
Our advice is that if you are going to do the Camino de Santiago with a small dog, it is best not to make it carry extra weight. The kilometres on each stage already pose enough challenge for their little paws.
The situation changes if it’s a big dog, full of energy. In that case, it’s even probable that you will be tired before the dog. Therefore, add some extra weight so that at the end of the stage it is as tired as you, not a bad idea.
Don’t suffer with the food
As for food, you should not carry kilos of feed for the whole trip, it will be enough that you always carry something with you and keep informed about the stages to know if you can find places to buy it. If your dog, in addition to dog food, like food, you can also ask in the bars and restaurants that you will find on the Camino if they have any leftovers.
Advice for caring for your dog on the Camino de Santiago
In addition to the above advice, if you plan to do the Camino de Santiago with your dog, you should pay special attention to the following aspects during the route:
- On the sections that run near the road or the train tracks, do not forget to tie it or control it carefully.
- Pay attention when walking near cliffs.
- Keep your dog under control when you have cattle nearby.
- Both you and your dog should avoid walking in the sun, during the middle hours of the day.
- Do not allow your dog to eat the flora that you will find on the route.
- Hydrate your dog constantly. If it is very hot, try to wet the dog every so often.
- Like you, your dog will need to eat more on the Camino de Santiago. To cope with increased physical activity, it is necessary to increase the number of calories per day.
- Be happy with, and congratulate your dog at the end of the stages.
- Just like you do with your feet, massage its legs.
- When you’re in urban areas, find out what parks and beaches allow dogs.
We hope our tips to do the Camino de Santiago with your dog have been useful. Do you think we’ve missed one? If so, please let know leaving us a comment. So the other pilgrims who travel with a dog, will take it into account when organizing their journey on the Camino de Santiago.