Van Life With A Dog
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Van Life With A Dog, Everything You Need TO Know

Van Life with a Dog, Everything You Need To Know

If you’re reading this, you probably already know about van life and maybe even are living the van life. I’m guessing that it’s safe to say you also know that van life is not without its challenges. People always ask about them, but they are rarely talked about, yet they do exist.  Living a van life with a dog can add to those challenges, but also add to the enjoyment tenfold.

Van Life with a dog is one of the best things in the world. We really couldn’t imagine living our van life without our little furry buddy!  Dogs are exceptionally loyal creatures, and to have them by your side on all of your van adventures equals epicness.

Living a van life with a dog can be very rewarding, but it also comes with some unique challenges. Some people are intimidated by van life because they have pets. Some are not sure if van living is suitable for them and their pets.

To help you decide whether van life with a dog is right for you, we’ve outlined the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ve also included some van life hacks for van life with a dog.

So, without further ado, here are the good, the bad, and the ugly of van life with a dog.

Van Life with a dog

Van Life With A Dog: The Good – A Perfect Combination

Vanlife and dogs go together like biscuits and gravy, bread and butter, or peanut butter and jelly. Dogs love to be outside, they love being active, and van life lends itself to these types of activities. In addition, van life is low-key and van life with a dog is no exception. The low-key environment of van life makes it easy for your dog to adjust to van living.

Van Life With A Dog: The Bad – Dogs Need Routine 

Dogs are creatures of habit, so it’s important to be mindful about changing their routines when at all possible. When you move into a new van, the dog might get anxious and confused. To avoid this confusion, move into your van slowly. Start by sleeping in your van a few nights a week to adjust gradually to van life with a dog. Keep them on a consistent eating schedule.  

If you’re traveling and it’s breakfast or dinner time, your little furry friend will let you know.  Pull over where it is safe and feed your little pack member.  He will appreciate it more than you can imagine.

Van Life With A Dog: The Ugly – Dirty Dog

Dogs are dogs.  It’s not just a cliche.  If you own or have ever owned a dog then you know exactly what that cliche’ means. The wetter and dirtier they can be, the more fun they are having!

Don’t expect a spotless, “Instagram pic” worthy van all the time. Especially if you are living the van life with a dog.  Their paws and furry coat will bring in enough dirt to keep you on your spic and span toes.  You are going to have to be able to “go with the flow”. Understand that dogs get dirty and so will your van.

Read on below for some tips on how to keep your van as clean as possible with a dirty dog.

Van  Life with a dog

Van Life With A Dog: The Good – Outdoors Is Only a Step Away

Dogs absolutely love being outside! The only thing they enjoy more than being outside is going on a van life road trip to go outside. So van life is the perfect fit for van life with a dog.

Whether it is a walk to go potty, a walk down the road and back, or fun and exhilarating hike, your little doggy will appreciate the much-needed exercise after being in such a small space.

If your dog is anything like ours, just 10-15 minutes of laying in the sun and absorbing some much-needed vitamin D is all it takes to recharge the little guy.

Van Life With A Dog: The Bad –  Potty Breaks

Dogs love going out, but they also love napping. There isn’t always a place to let your dog nap inside. Also, an easily accessible bathroom for them, if you’re out and about, can be a challenge. Road trips can mean a long stretch of time with no bathroom for your dog to use.

To solve this problem, leave the van door open an inch so. They can sneak in and out as needed or take them on frequent walks so they can expel when needed.

Van Life With A Dog: The Ugly – Diarrhea and or Vomiting

Remember when we said, “dogs are dogs”?  Well, when it comes to eating anything that remotely smells or looks good, it couldn’t be truer with a dog.  Sometimes our little canine friends get into something that upsets their stomachs.  Some dogs are more prone to getting ill than others.

When they do get an upset stomach, they can’t just run outside, run into another room or hide behind the couch when they make a mistake.

When the poop comes out, or they vomit something that isn’t agreeing with them. That usually means a very nasty mess for you to clean up. Plan on a day or so of airing out the van to get it smelling fresh again.

Remember to be as kind as you would want someone to be to you. If you just vomited or pooped your pants, you’d want some TLC too.

Van Life With A Dog: The Good – The Outdoors Is Their Playground

Dogs love van life because van life is like a huge adventure playground for dogs! It’s easy to take your dog outside on van life road trips (and van life day trips). If you’re not sure what van life activities are suitable for dogs to do, check out van life with dog hacks in the bonus section below to find out!

Just remember to always keep your dog within your eyesight when hiking or adventuring in an area with predators, dangerous animals, or venomous snakes.

To make hiking and adventuring with your van life dog easier and more enjoyable for both you and your dog, take a look at some of the van life with dog essentials here:

Van Life With A Dog: The Bad – Dogs Like To Run Free and Fast

If your dog loves to run free in van life, consider whether it’s safe to let them do this. Vanlife road trips can cover long distances. This means that if your dog needs bathroom breaks, you may need to stop often.

Allow your dog ample exercise time by making frequent stops if you are on a long destination drive.  

When you do let them out to stretch their legs, be sure the area is safe. Also, be sure it is legal for your dog to run and exert themselves.  

Van Life With A Dog: The Ugly – Ticks

Ugh!  Ticks!  If you never had to pull a tick off of your dog, consider yourself a fortunate one.  Ticks are not only nasty and gross, but they are also dangerous to you and your dog’s health.  

Many ticks are carriers of Lyme disease.  It is not something you or your dog want to live with for the rest of their lives.

Also, ticks can transfer from dogs to humans.  If it has blood, the tick doesn’t care!  

Just pulling the tick from your dog’s skin may not be enough either.  Be sure to properly remove the tick and do not leave the head or mandibles embedded in your dog’s skin.  

Always apply an antibiotic and disinfectant to the bite area.

Van Life With A Dog: The Good Your Van is Their Safe Place

Your van is your dog’s van.  Your tiny home on wheels is their tiny home on wheels.  Keep your dog and its comfort in mind when designing or building your van conversion. 

By having their own dedicated spot to lounge, eat, and sleep, your dog will quickly adjust to full-time van life much easier and quicker!

Van Life With A Dog: The Bad Having To Crate Your Dog

Keeping your van life pet crated can be an uncomfortable experience for both of you. Dogs can’t talk, so they’ll obviously show that they’re uncomfortable through their barking or whining. They might even try to break out of van life crates (which could damage your van, the van life crate, and/or the van life dog crate).

If crating your dog is a must, be sure to create an environment where your dog is comfortable, secure, and happy when they need to be crated.

Van Life With A Dog: The Ugly – Dog Hair

Yup, dog hair!  Nothing like preparing a yummy meal and about to take a bite and you see it.  A dog’s hair is laying on top of your mashed potatoes.  

Seriously though, unless you have a dog that doesn’t shed its hair, it can be very messy, frustrating, and potentially dangerous.

Dog hair will find its way into vents for your inverter, refrigerator, fans, electronics, you name it.  If it isn’t supposed to be there, then your dog’s hair will make its way to it.

Keeping your van “hairless” is not a practical or realistic reality.  You can, however, keep it to a minimum by daily sweeping and dusting.

You will thank yourself in the long run for not allowing your dog’s hair to ruin expensive appliances or electronics.

Van Life With A Dog: The Good – The Joy and Excitement

Just like dogs love van life so much they’ll show it by getting excited about van life road trips. Van Life with a dog can be just about the most fun and satisfying life you can live.  

Our dog gets so excited and giddy when we get to a new location for him to explore, smell and mark his spots.  

Waking up in the mornings is also great with a van life dog.  Kona loves to snuggle in the mornings before heading out for his morning potty break exploration.  

How can you not have a great morning with doggy snuggles before coffee or tea?  

Van Life With A Dog: The Bad – Barking

Just like van life with a dog isn’t right for every van life.  Conversely, van life is not for every dog.  

Barking can be a great thing to keep potentially bad people away from your van or other animals from wandering into your camp or “van zone”.

Barking, however, can also be very annoying to other van lifers and campers within earshot of your dog’s incessant barking.  

If you do have a “barker” look at some alternative ways of muffling the annoying barking.  Perhaps, your dog is barking because he doesn’t like living in a van?  

Whatever the case, a constantly barking dog is not good for the dog, you, or others around you.

Van Life With A Dog: The Ugly – Fleas

If you have a dog, at one point in your dog’s life, they and you will get fleas.  When your dogs have fleas, life is not good for them or you!  

Fleas will hop on your pet and start to multiply before you can say Frontline, Advantix, or Simperico Trio.  

Not only are fleas a health hazard to your dog by causing skin problems and worms, but they are also super uncomfortable!  

If you have ever been bitten by a flea, you know it is an itch that just keeps on itching!  Besides, the constant scratching and biting your dog will do to try and relieve itself of the fleas is enough to drive a person insane!

So, do yourself and your little pup a favor and get them on a regular flea maintenance prevention!

Is Van Life A Good Life For A Dog?

Van life is one of the most convenient lifestyles to live with a dog. However, van life and van dwelling aren’t for everyone and neither is it every dog’s dream. Whether or not van life is right for you and your furry pal depends on several factors: age, breed, lifestyle, personality, training, etc. 

Living in a van may limit or dissuade you from the variety of breeds you can take with you on this journey, but it doesn’t mean that all dogs are out of the picture. Bigger dogs that don’t mind spending time solo in a smaller space would be great van life companions.

Also, dogs with a lower energy level and those that don’t require as much exercise would do well in van life.

 A van is fairly noisy so if your pooch is sensitive to loud noises or easily startled by the sound of traffic passing close by then van life may not be for you and your pet. On the other hand, if your dog has a high tolerance for loudness and doesn’t mind the sounds of the outdoors then van living may just be right up his alley. 

You should also consider how long you plan to stay in one place once finding an urban campground or beach parking lot before deciding on adopting a van-dwelling pup.

If you’ll only be roaming from spot to spot for a couple of months, van life is a fairly stress-free environment. However, if you plan to stay in one place for an extended period of time, van life may not be the best option because it’ll be too difficult to find your dog’s favorite things to do on a regular basis.

Is It Illegal To Keep A Dog In A Van?

You may have heard that it is illegal for a dog to sit in the front seat of a van. What about the actual van itself? Is it legal to live in a van with a dog? You might be surprised at how many people are looking into van life and making it their lifestyle.

And yes, you can absolutely live in a van with your pup! But there are some rules and regulations regarding living in your vehicle that you will need to keep track of.

Do you plan to leave your van parked or do you want to take road trips with your dog? Do you plan on leaving your van parked for more than a few days at a time then read on!

Can I live in my van with a dog? Yes! But there are still some things to consider about living out of your van that you’ll have to work around such as where you will park and how long can you stay in one location before it becomes illegal.

Not only that but the van itself could be considered an extension of your home which means there are some “home” rules to follow. For example, no pets are allowed wherever the general public is allowed so if your van has a bed in it you might not be able to use it for van camping.

If your van is considered your primary residence then it will need to be registered and licensed just like any other vehicle so there could be an additional fee associated with that too. But once you’ve got all of the logistics down, van life is an amazing way to travel with your dog! Think you’re up for the challenge?

Can I Leave My Dog In My Van Without Me?

Van life enthusiasts are often faced with the question of whether or not they can leave their dogs alone.

The answer is, “it depends.”

It’s a bit more complicated than just a yes or no. Van life dogs come in all shapes and sizes with all different temperaments. Dogs that have a history of doing well left alone for a few hours will likely thrive. But, those who have separation anxiety may have trouble adhering to van living conditions as others do.

Leave the radio on to prevent any scary noises from being heard when no one else is around. A van life radio station will provide some background noise your dog can sleep to rather than worrying about his surroundings, which could later cause him anxiety or even stress. And remember, van-living dogs are just as much a part of van life as their owners are!

Take them along for the ride so they don’t have to be left behind with family or friends who may not know how to care for your dog’s special needs. Most importantly, treat van living with your pup as another form of training.

If he has separation anxiety now but you introduce van life slowly and introduce van living routines consistently, van living will help him realize that you’ll be back before he knows it. 

Most importantly, be sure that the temperature in your van is cool or warm enough to sustain your dog while you are away from it.  

Proper temperature and ventilation are not only paramount to your dog’s comfort, health and safety, it is also a legal requirement.  

If you do not allow for the proper temperature, ventilation, and safety, do not be shocked when you return to your van and find a couple of windows busted and a police officer waiting for you with handcuffs.

Where Does Your Dog Sleep In Your Van?

When it comes to keeping your dog comfortable while sleeping in a tight space, size matters–but not as much as you think. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, but van space doesn’t necessarily call for an extra-large van bed.

After choosing the right van bed, you’ll need to consider which type of van dog your four-legged pal will be: a crate dog or a free-range pup. Dogs who like their privacy and security will love a van crate. This option offers lounging and sleeping space with a quick and easy setup. Plus, it’s portable and comes in different shapes and sizes–some even have insulation options built-in!

Or if you’d rather give your dog more room to stretch out without having to worry about them getting into trouble when left alone, pick up some van blankets. Van blankets are also great for dragging around during walks, picnics, and other van life adventures.

Your dog may be a van sleeper or not depending on their personality type and sleeping habits, but either way, it’s important to keep them safe and happy in your van life.

Where Can I Find Dog-Friendly Places and Activities?

When looking for van life dog-friendly places and activities it’s important to balance your priorities. You might want to go somewhere that will be fun for both of you, but also somewhere where your dog can stretch their legs. The best thing about van life with a dog is there are so many options!

If you’re looking for van-life dog-friendly places and activities in an urban area, I suggest finding a great park or trail near where you’ll be living or camping in your van.

If you have a smaller breed of dog or if they get cold easily make sure that it isn’t too far from the van either because getting out and going on an adventure takes more time than you’d think.

Maybe your dog is a big fan of water make sure there are some great places to swim without too much danger of them getting carried away. Some dogs might not be good swimmers so it’s important to pay attention if they seem scared or uncomfortable in the water.

Make sure that you have a long line attached to their collar that way even if they get into the water, perhaps chasing after a duck or other animal, they won’t go far!

The best van life dog-friendly places and activities are only limited by your imagination so I suggest doing some research online before heading out with Fido on an adventure so you can find van life dog-friendly places and activities near wherever it is that you’ll be van life camping.

As van life becomes more and more popular it’s important to remember that dogs go everywhere with us and we need to make sure they’re safe and having fun too! That way van life can continue to be a great way for people and their dogs to become closer. Enjoy your van life, dog-friendly places, and activities adventures!

What National Parks Are Dog Friendly?

National parks are a great place to take your van and van life dogs for a road trip. There is much to do and many different types of National Parks:

National Park Service (NPS) manages 417 sites throughout the United States and its territories. There are 59 total national park service units including those managed by the NPS as well as those assigned to other agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, The Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation). 

How Much Does Van Life Cost?

Of these 59 NPS units, 55 allow dogs in at least some capacity – though there may be restrictions at each location so it’s best to check ahead of time. Most parks charge an entrance fee, so knowing the fees for van life dogs in advance is important if you plan on traveling around the United States with van life dogs.

Dog Apps For Van Life With A Dog

Van Dog

Van Dog is an app that connects van drivers with other van owners. It helps van-life dog owners find other van-dwelling dog owners to live van life with. The app can also help you find nearby vets, dog sitters, and parks for your van life doggo to explore! With this app, you’ll be sure that your van-life doggo will never feel lonely or left out ever again.


BringFido works almost exactly like Wag, but unlike Wag it has a map feature that allows you to find pet-friendly hotels and restaurants in your local area. It also helps you find parks, beaches, and trails where you can take your van life dog for a good run around too. I use this one more than the others because there seem to be more listings on it when I’m traveling from place to place.


This is one of those great apps that has been around long before van life even became a thing. Its catchy name can make it seem like it’s only for dogs, but really the app tracks everything: kids, keys, and even your van. The app uses GPS to track important items such as your van key or cell phone. Then if you ever lose those things (or your dog), you can find them fast on a map or set up alerts every time they enter or leave designated areas.

Doggy Wi-Fi

This app is less for when you’re traveling and more for when you’re at a location that doesn’t have Wi-Fi, but your dog is still feeling cabin fever. It will relay to you what your pup is barking at so you can tell if it’s just the wind or if there really is someone out in the darkness, trying to break into your van. It might seem silly at first, but once you realize how many times Rover has barked because of an overactive imagination, it will quickly become worth every penny.

Puppy Fit

This is an app that’s not as much for van lifers as it is for puppy parents who still expect their pups to stay active no matter where they go. The idea behind Puppy Fit is that all the walks and outdoor times during van life don’t count towards your pup’s daily exercise requirements because van life is different than the real world, van lifers say. So what you need this app for is to know exactly how many steps your van life vanner needs before they can have a nap or finally eat that snack.


Wag is a social network for pet owners and their pets. The app allows you to share photos and videos of your pet with other registered users, receive messages about vet alerts, upcoming events & lost dogs in your local area, and get support from others when your pup is ill or adoptable pets in need right across the street from you.

The Dog App

This isn’t really an app but rather a website that has all of the best apps listed in one place to make finding what you’re looking for that much easier. Whether you need help finding pet-friendly places to visit, a van life dog-friendly route to take, or just some fun van life doggy activities for your van life pup, The Dog App has everything you need to turn van life with a van life dog into an awesome adventure.

I read through the reviews of apps before signing up for van life dog and then checked out the website to see what other van life dog owners were saying about their experiences with them. 

In my experience, word-of-mouth is the best form of advertisement so knowing that I have fellow van live doggies in my corner definitely helps when deciding whether or not to download a new app.

Keep Your Dog On A Regular Eating Schedule

First, make sure that they eat at approximately the same times every day. If they don’t, then their bodies won’t know when to expect food and as a result, their stomachs will growl more because there isn’t any food for them to digest. Because of this, their stomachs might hurt and it may cause other issues such as vomiting or diarrhea.

This probably means that you need to change up your feeding schedule so that your pup knows when he should start getting hungry and hopefully prevent those uncomfortable feelings in his stomach.

Second, make sure that your dog is getting the right amount of food every day. If they are receiving too much food, then they might vomit or have diarrhea because their bodies simply can’t digest all of it at once.

This likely means that you need to give them less food over a longer period of time, which is something simple like giving them half of their daily ration in the morning and the other half in the evening.

Lastly, if your van life schedule involves taking road trips or traveling long distances, then try to keep your pup on a regular diet even while you’re on the road so that his stomach doesn’t get upset from being fed different types of food or at different times.

Choose Food That Is Available Everywhere

To keep your van life dog healthy and happy, you will need to take it upon yourself to see what kind of food is available where you are going. If you’re van living for a while, then see if the area has any pet stores or even just grocery stores that carry better options than what might be sold at a general store.

Ideally, feed your dog the same brand and type of food to avoid upsetting their tummy.

We have found that the kibble we feed Kona, our long-haired chihuahua, is only available at the Pet Supermarket.  So, for this reason, when we are unable to get the kibble he is used to, we go to whole fresh foods.

One of Kona’s favorite food dishes is plain rice, and chicken breast (hormone and antibiotic-free range chicken) with some fresh vegetables.

It is healthy, he loves it and we can get those ingredients anywhere.

If you want to choose an option that’s not only easier on your wallet but also good for your van life dog, there are some suggestions below:

1 .   Whole and raw foods – You can find these foods in small amounts for between $6 and $7 per pound which is considerably less than the cost of other types of dog food

2 . Freeze-dried raw – You can find these types of van life dog food for as much as $1.30 per pound which is considerably less than what you’ll pay for most other van life dog foods

3 . Canned van life dog food – One of the only downsides to canned van life dog food is that it does contain some preservatives, but if your van life dog eats wet and dry van life dog food then you will be able to save money by buying it in bulk online for about $0.87 per ounce which is cheaper than many kibbles found on store shelves

4 . Kibble – The variance between the price of each brand varies so much that it’s hard to recommend one kibble over another, but generally, van life dog food that has chicken, turkey, or lamb is going to be the cheapest option.

If you’re van living long term it might be better for your van life dog if you find a brand that you can buy in bulk online for $0.70 per ounce or less

5 . Rawhide chews – Chew toys are always an important part of van life with dogs because they help keep them occupied and they also serve as good dental hygiene, so getting high-quality rawhide-free van life dog chews is ideal for your van life dog. You’ll generally spend $1-$2 on these van life dog supplies each day

6 . Gluten-free van life dog treats – These van life dog supplies are similar to regular van life dog treats except that they are free of any gluten. They are a bit more expensive in stores, but you can find them in bulk online for $1 per treat. This makes each van life dog treat only about 4 cents.

Take Driving Breaks On Long Days

Leaving on a cross-country van trip can be stressful, especially if you have a dog.

If you are traveling with your pup there are certain things that need to be considered. To ensure a safe and comfortable trip for him keep reading.

The biggest thing is that your dog needs room to move around.  So instead of stopping every 150 miles or so, see if you can drive for about an hour. Then try taking a break in a break to let your furry friend stretch his legs. This is a great time to let them go potty. Now everyone can get back in the van to continue down the road.  

It’s also important when traveling that you don’t leave him in your van for too long and that you remember to take breaks and give him water. Usually, stopping after about 2 hours of driving is a good idea so your dog can get out and go potty again.

Pacing yourself will avoid overworking both you and your van life dog, so try not to get too frustrated if he gets antsy every once in a while.  It’s also important to keep in mind that van living with a pup will take longer than van living without one; it might be better to plan on covering fewer miles each day when traveling with Fido.   

Make sure your van has enough space for the two of you and lots of windows for ventilation purposes whenever you are traveling with your dog!

Put A Light On Their Collar To Keep Track Of Them At Night

There are many reasons to live a van life with your dog. It is important that you keep track of them at night.

It’s great that you want to travel and live in a van with your best friend. It’s even more important that you can see them at all times!

If your pup runs off chasing something. They may get lost. Maybe they decide to lie down and relax at night. Not being able to locate your pup can be very stressful for you and your dog.

Not only that, but van-life dogs tend to want more adventures than their sedentary counterparts. Van life dogs realize that the world is full of exciting smells and sights. Your van life dog will likely go on walks all night long through your van campsite if given the opportunity.

You can put a light on their collar so you can see where they are at all times! This is especially important when van camping at night time! It’s really hard to relax when you think there might be wild animals lurking on your van’s doorstep.

You and your van life dog will be very happy with a light on their collar. Van camping will go a lot more smoothly and street free.

Put a Collar Tag with Your Name and Easy Contact Information

So you have been on the go with van life for a while now. You have been living, working, and traveling from city to city. One thing that has probably been holding you back from your ultimate van life experience is not being able to take your best friend along for the journey.

It is a good idea to have your dog wear a collar with tags at all times. You don’t want to get into any trouble because your pup isn’t wearing its identification as it should be!

Picking up some basic collars is one of the best things you could do.

There are so many reasons why your furry friend needs collar tags for van life! The most important reason is that if your dog gets loose or lost, the finder will have your contact information.

This is especially important while van dwelling. You never know when you might leave a place and forget to bring Rover with you.

If they have a collar tag on, there won’t be any confusion between your pup and someone else’s. You don’t want to get a call from a stranger asking ‘whose dog is this?’ while you are halfway across the country having an adventure in van life.


Carry Your Dog’s Vaccination Records In The Van

Vaccinating your dog is very important, but it also entails a lot of responsibility. Before you set out for van life with your pooch, make sure that you have all his documents in order.

This means the vaccination record must be up to date. If at any point in time there’s an emergency that needs to be treated by a vet, they can access his records quickly and begin treating him right away. 

Make sure that you have all necessary vaccinations up-to-date for your dog prior to traveling out of state. Your veterinarian will know which vaccines are required by state laws. This is very important because certain diseases can be transmitted to other animals or humans!

This is a great folder to keep your pet’s records and all of your other important records and documents organized and safe.

Your Van Must Be Smelly and Dirty With A Dog

Keeping your dog as clean as possible before letting them back in the van is key.  It’s a dog, I know, certain smells are just going to be there with a dog living in your van.

Keeping it as open as possible with as much airflow is going to help tremendously.  Also, using a bed or sofa cover that is washable will help keep smells to a minimum as well.

There are some dry dog bath powders you may consider trying as well.  

Regular cleaning on your part is going to be the difference between a clean van and a dirty dog van.

What If My Dog Gets Sick While On The Road?

It is bound to happen at one point or another.  Your dog is going to lick, eat or breathe something they shouldn’t get sick.  You know your dog better than anyone.

If you notice your little van buddy stops drinking or eating, then something is wrong with him/her.  They may act differently, maybe more lethargic than normal, then that is a sign they are ill.

If they are eating grass, vomiting, or have diarrhea, then it is time to go into doggy nurse mode.  

Never let your dog go for more than two days of not eating or drinking. Especially if they are throwing up or have diarrhea.  Contact the closest reputable veterinarian as soon as possible.  

Lay low and travel as little as possible until your pup is feeling normal again.

Have A Designated Storage Area for Dog Stuff

Having all of your dog’s essentials in one place is going to make van life much better.  

Just like everything else in a van, it should be organized and have a designated spot.  It is amazing how easily things can get misplaced or lost living in a tiny van full time.  

Van Life with A Dog – Dog Essentials for Van Life

We have an in-depth blog post on 23 Van Life Essentials for your van life dog.  So, we are only going to mention a few in this post.

Dog Towel

When your pup comes in after being outside and playing in the wet grass, dirt, or snow, it is great to have a dedicated dry doggy towel to wipe him or her down before getting back into the van.  

This will help eliminate any unnecessary dirt, mud, and water from getting all over the floor, sofa, or bed.  

Hands-Free Leash

If you enjoy going on hikes with your dog and still want to have both hands available for carrying a camera, hiking pole, or just the freedom of having both hands free, then a hands-free leash would be a great compliment to your van life dog essentials.  

Dog Light

We are not talking about a flashlight here, to help you see while walking around in the dark.  A dog light is an LED light that attaches to its collar or harness.  For less than $10 you have the security of always being able to see your pet in the dark.

This enables you to see your dog when they are off-leash at night.  If your dog is anything like ours, having a light attached to them makes a big difference.

Dogs like to roam, sniff and pee on things.  Sometimes, their mini-adventures can take them too far away from you.  Not being able to see where your dog is could be dangerous for both of you.

Dog Bed

Our dog Kona could and does sleep on just about anything.  In fact, our dog is so weird, the more uncomfortable something looks, (wires, shoes, rocks, etc…) the more likely Kona is to plop down on it and take a nap.

Most dogs, however, like a nice, comfy, warm, and secure bed to lounge, nap, and sleep on.  Having their very own bed is a great comfort and security to your dog.  A bed that can be moved around the van and even to the outside when lounging around the campsite.  

Wrap-Up To Van Life With A Dog

Van life is the best life experience we have experienced so far!  Being able to travel at a whim to explore and adventure in places we have only ever seen in books, movies or the internet is a dream come true.

We are truly fortunate to be living this lifestyle and are embracing every moment of it.

However, it would not nearly be the same if we didn’t have our pups, Kona and Kinzi with us.  Experiencing van life with a dog allows us to experience all of the “firsts” and grand adventures that just wouldn’t be the same.

Sure, it’s more work on our part to accommodate and ensure he is comfortable, happy, and safe, but, we can not imagine van life without our dogs.

Let us know how you are living the van life with a dog or pet. 

What are some of your challenges and victories?  We’d love to hear from you!

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