How to make your dog part of your vanlife

Vanlife Dogs

Thousands of people around the country are embracing a new way of living. Rather than being tied down to one place – one view, one selection of shops and amenities – they are choosing to live where they want, and how they want. Vanlife is a growing part of how many people choose to live in the UK. In the Vanlife movement, you move from place to place, setting up where you can for the night, and moving on when you feel like it. You can fit almost anything you’d have at home in your van – but can you find a place for man’s best friend? Is van life suitable for your canine companion? These are the questions you need to ask yourself.

Where will your dog sleep?

We don’t know about your dog, but all the dogs we know at Denby Campervans like to spend as much time as they can sleeping. When you have embraced the Vanlife movement, you need to consider where your dog will lay their furry head. Many dogs like to sleep in a particular basket or dog bed, and won’t be happy to leave it behind. Do you have space for their preferred place in your van? If your dog is happy sleeping anywhere, are you happy with them getting in bed with you, or do you need to set aside a place in your van for them to go?

Where will your dog go when you are driving?

When you are driving your campervan, you wear a seatbelt. It’s not just the law, it’s common sense. However, as much as we can convert campervans to your specification, no-one has yet invented the dog seatbelt. So, where will your dog go when you are driving? Do you have room for a crate, or do you need to think about how to keep your dog safe when you are on the move? Some dogs can be easily trained to sit still in a particular place – but is this your dog?

How are you going to keep things clean?

Dogs can make a mess. This is hard enough to get a hang on when you are in a house. How are you going to cope in a van? It depends on how you choose to convert your van. If you choose a van with a shower functionality, you can wash off a muddy dog as well as you can a muddy person. How much mess a dog can make is often related to their size. A small dog might be a bundle of energy, but they simply don’t have the same surface area to get dirty as a much larger dog does. Finally, if you know that you are going to be sharing your space with a  dog, it is worth considering how you decorate your van. Dark colours on the fabrics can help hide the dirt.

What extras are you going to need?

Dogs tend to build up paraphernalia – or is that their humans? Either way, you are going to need somewhere to keep your dog’s necessary equipment. You might need:

Towels – don’t use your own towels on a dirty dog, keep some aside specially for their use.

Dog bowls – Collapsible food and water bowls can help save space.

Leads – Big dogs might need a full body harness, where a small dog can get away with a lead.

Poo bags – It’s simple courtesy to clean up after yourself. The same is true of your dog.

Dog toys – It does tend to rain in the UK, so you’ll need to keep your pet entertained if you can’t get out on a long walk.

Brush and shampoo – Keeping your customised campervan clean might mean you wash and clean your dog more often than you would in a house.

Get the perfect van to share with your dog

At Denby Campervans, we are market leading specialists in converting campervans. That means that whatever you need from your van, we can make it work for you. If your campervan needs to be planned around your dog, we can find a way. Equally, if you are only occasionally taking the dog out on a drive, there are plans we can come up with together.


If you are interested in how we can plan the perfect dog friendly camper for you, get in touch today.