“I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.” – John Steinbeck
Life on the road can be a solitary experience but having a best friend along the way can truly make all the difference when it comes to the pleasures of owning a Classic VW Bus. The VW BusLife was born with our furry friends in mind; the bounty of nature, the rolling hills, windswept beaches, and endless campfires and hikes all add up to bone-a-fide dog heaven.
But bringing your pooch on a BusLife adventure isn’t all hillside happiness, there are a few pre-planning challenges, tips and techniques that also need to be considered. From keeping pups cool to keeping your Classic VW Bus hair free – these are our tips for bringing your dog along for the ride.
Keep Things Cool
The most important rule of thumb when travelling with pets in tow is to think about the temperature. We’ve all heard the mantra that dogs die in hot cars and even a VW bus can crank up the heat pretty fast. One of the most important factors for dogs in campervans is that you keep air circulating. Classic VW vans with the pop-up rooftop will help your van to stay cool.
Grab Some Accessories
Those who don’t have the pleasure of a pop-top can look into alternative solutions like hooking up cooling fans to the leisure battery. Cracking windows and leaving bowls full of water are also both golden rules. There are some amazing products on the market for keeping your Classic VW Bus and dogs cool – from reflective window screens to cooling mats and towels.
Park in the Shade
In the summer months always find a shady spot to park in and avoid leaving your furry friend locked in the van for an extended period of time. There are also temperature apps you can download for your smartphone which will alert you when your VW campervan interior gets a little too warm, meaning you can nip back to the van to let your dog out.
Keep Things Clean
Muddy paws, shedding hair, and rolling in far from fair scents – while dogs bring plenty of love, they come with some messy challenges. Keeping your Classic VW Bus interior spotless may be a little more stressful with a dog in tow, but a few small items go a long way in helping you to keep your camper fresh and clean.
Brush Down Daily
A dedicated dog towel is a must when it comes to wiping down muddy feet after a long and rambling walk. A dustpan and brush used daily will also help you to sweep out collected dog hair and dust. A daily brush of your pet’s coat is not only amazing for bonding but will dramatically reduce the amount your dog sheds inside your home on wheels.
Encourage Air Flow
For getting rid of that dog scent we suggest a daily air flow – either by sunroof, vent or cracked window. Air fresheners, scented candles, and sweet-smelling sprays for your hound can also help to keep your pooch and your VW Bus fresh and clean.
For European travellers who are crossing borders with their Classic VW Bus and pooch, you will need to ensure your pet passport and vaccinations are all up to date. No matter where in the world you are travelling with your dog, having a few dog-friendly medicines on hand can keep tails wagging. A probiotic specially designed for dogs will keep upset stomachs at bay, charcoal tablets on hand are also a lifesaver should your dog eat something toxic on the road, and flea and tick treatment (whether medical or natural deterrent) is a must to keep everyone itch-free, healthy and happy.
Whether you wild camp or stay on five-star campsites, make sure that you stay mindful for both your dog and other peoples sakes. Keep your dog on the leash when parked up around other people as not everyone is comfortable making friends with Fido. Always pack plenty of disposable bags for cleaning up mess, and if your dog tends to bark the night away, park a respectful distance away from other campers so not to disrupt the peace.
Out and About
A tired dog is a happy dog, and the last thing you want when cooped up in a camper is a boundless ball of energy. One of the purest pleasures of being a VW BusLifer is the fact that every day brings new faces and new places so be sure to get out and explore. Having a dog at your side can also be a super social experiment; from dog parks to pet-friendly cafes – dogs encourage you to leave the confines of your van every day and meet new people.