Surely many times you have wondered if it would be possible to do the Camino de Santiago with your furry companion. The answer is YES! All of us who have a dog know how complicated it can sometimes be to plan holidays or getaways where we can take our faithful companion with us. If you are thinking of doing the Camino de Santiago, you are in luck! The trail has all the necessary infrastructure so you can enjoy this experience with your dog.
Obviously, planning a walk with a dog means scheduling more things than we need to do on our own, but don’t worry! In the following lines we tell you everything you need to know about it. Take note!
What should you take into account before starting the Camino with your dog?
First of all, the first thing you need to think about is which route of the Camino de Santiago to choose. When doing the Camino with your dog, we recommend you to choose theFrench or Portuguese Way, as they are the best prepared routes for the needs of your furry friend. Of course, we also advise you to do the route with a duration of around 120 kilometres. A longer route could become a real ordeal for your pet.
Physical preparation of the dog
Just like you, he will also have to prepare himself. We recommend that you spend at least a month walking at least 2 hours a day with your dog. If possible, try to combine walks on asphalt, dirt and gravel roads. If you can spare one day a week to go hiking in the mountains, all the better!
All the trips to do the Camino de Santiago with your dog
Walking with your pet means leaving nothing to chance. Before starting the journey, you must be sure to do so with all the daily accommodation bookings made and the same for travel. Regarding the latter, we advise you to use your car whenever possible to get to the starting point of the trail. Once you have finished, if there are several of you, one of you can take public transport to the start of the route to pick up the car. If not, you can hire a dog-friendly taxi service.
As all these steps can be a bit of a hassle, if you wish you can hire the dog walk with us. We will make sure that all your accommodation and transport services are guaranteed.
What time of the year to choose?
It is advisable to do it in spring or autumn, thus avoiding the excessive heat of summer. Keep in mind that some sections of the trail are on asphalt and if it is very hot, it will burn, so your dog’s pads will suffer a lot.
What to put in your pet’s backpack?
Once the route has been programmed, it’s time to prepare the backpacks. Take note of the essential things to carry in your dog’s backpack:
Blanket or sleeping mat: so he has his own place to lie down and rest.
Towel: quick drying.
Portable feeder and drinker
Harness and belt for canicross: this way you can walk without holding the leash and everyone will be more comfortable.
A small sack of food: just in case, it’s always a good idea to carry some feed in single doses.
“Rewards”: some treats to reward him/her.
Water and cooler: to carry during the stages.
Raincoat and scarf: in case of bad weather.
A toy: a kong ball to play with.
Waste collection bags
PureVaseline for the pads: to be applied every day at the end of the stage.
Repellent for parasites: in spray or collar format. It is advisable to put an antiparasitic pipette or tablet before starting.
When walking with a dog, we recommend that you hire a luggage transport service, because between your things and the dog’s, it will be too much weight to carry during the stage.
Dog care on the Camino
During the tour, you must take into account the following care for your companion. Think that your dog will need extra consideration from you so that you can both enjoy the experience together.
Hydration: it is important to always carry a portable water bottle in your backpack during the stage. The animal will need to drink frequently, so always carry a water bottle with a cooler.
Heat: closely related to the above. To avoid this, try to walk early in the morning and offer water regularly. It is also advisable to stop to rest in shady places.
Food: always take some food with you during the stage, so that you can regain strength. And above all, lots of prizes to cheer you up! Although usually, experience tells us that they are always very happy.
Makesure to take care of the pads: although it is recommended that you apply Vaseline at the end of the stage, be sure to check that they are well so that they are comfortable. If necessary, apply petroleum jelly during the stage or during breaks.
On a leashor unleashed? You have to take into account that there will be more dogs, both on the route and in the villages you pass through. If you go alone, take him loose, but if you see that you are going through a busy area or there are other dogs, we recommend that you take him with the harness and the canicross belt.
Having a “perregrino” at home
You should know that there is also a canine credential for your dog! So don’t forget to stamp your dog’s at each stage, so that when you arrive in Santiago de Compostela, your dog becomes a real “perregrino” and gets his official diploma.