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Taking a dog on Camino

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
I intend to walk with my dog.

I’m just wondering if anyone here has done that or might have input on things I need to consider… which I might have already considered… or not?

I don’t want opinions unless you can give reasons to back them up. It’s just not helpful. So if you have experience, please share. Many thanks.

I’m aware of the APACA website and have joined a Camino con Perro group on FB.

Here are some details of my plan:
My dog is a healthy border collie - a breed ‘designed’ for stamina, outdoors working/walking, variable terrains and supremely loyal.
We’ll sleep in a campervan that we’re driving over from the UK.
My friend will drive the van to meet us each day and enjoy time on her own while we walk.
My friend can also spend time with my dog on days she’s not in the mood for walking with me.
I’m only doing 100 km, from Vigo, on the Portuguès de la Costa route because I understand that it’s the least demanding.
I’m only intending to walk around 10 km a day, after which we’ll both be (pleasantly, I hope) shattered.
We’ll take rest days when we want/need to.
I have health conditions that mean I’ll be taking it easy and it’ll definitely be me before her who needs to rest.
I’m doing it for the challenge but not to overly exert myself (or my dog) and I want to enjoy the experience.
No flights involved and we’re very used to having campervan adventures together, so it’s like our second home.
We’re about to do our first campervan trip to Spain next month so we’ll understand better how to do that aspect before doing the Camino next year.
I’m aiming for May, for best chance of warmth but not heat and less rain than earlier in the year.
I’d be disappointed not to complete/get to Santiago, but if that’s how it pans out, it won’t be the end of the world.
If I don’t go with dog and campervan, I don’t think I’d want to do it.
 

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Turga

Camino tortuga
Time of past OR future Camino
Pondering 2023
There has been a lot of discussion about walking with dogs. Try to do a search (upper right corner) on "walking with dog". Make sure to tick the box 'Search titles only'.
 

Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
You are the judge of what your dog can and cannot do each day on the walk. I also agree with Turga, do your research - especially in the area of accommodation venues that will accept your dog - either inside or tied up elsewhere on the property. Buen Camino.
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
You are the judge of what your dog can and cannot do each day on the walk. I also agree with Turga, do your research - especially in the area of accommodation venues that will accept your dog - either inside or tied up elsewhere on the property. Buen Camino.
I’m not sure you read my post. I said we’ll be sleeping in my campervan. So accommodation isn’t an issue.
 
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woody66

This is my boy !
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal 2021 Frances 2023
Hi Jetb!
Link to this forum thread
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/fuji’s-first-camino-camino-with-a-dog.75407/
Seems to have a lot of info that might be helpful; from someone that has done it!

As you have your van accommodation; that problem is solved.

Six miles a day for a healthy dog is not excessive and you know your dog; my boy Yankee is a working dog and always wants more! (but i imagine like you; I know when he's had enough.) and you've included rest days.

I walked the Portuguese Coastal last year in September but temps were up to 27 c and i was walking much longer stages than you 20 up to in excess of 30 km a day!
That's to much for any dog in that heat anywhere.

Regarding your health issues; again you are aware of your limitations but Vigo /Santiago is not flat .

However a lot of the Coastal/Senda from Porto is, and it's by the sea along boardwalks which i found easy walking.
I think your plan is perfectly doable.
Buen Camino
Have a good walk
Woody
Edit henrythedog beat me to it while i wrote this post regarding the relevant thread link!!!!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I intend to walk with my dog.

I’m just wondering if anyone here has done that or might have input on things I need to consider… which I might have already considered… or not?

I don’t want opinions unless you can give reasons to back them up. It’s just not helpful. So if you have experience, please share. Many thanks.

I’m aware of the APACA website and have joined a Camino con Perro group on FB.

Here are some details of my plan:
My dog is a healthy border collie - a breed ‘designed’ for stamina, outdoors working/walking, variable terrains and supremely loyal.
We’ll sleep in a campervan that we’re driving over from the UK.
My friend will drive the van to meet us each day and enjoy time on her own while we walk.
My friend can also spend time with my dog on days she’s not in the mood for walking with me.
I’m only doing 100 km, from Vigo, on the Portuguès de la Costa route because I understand that it’s the least demanding.
I’m only intending to walk around 10 km a day, after which we’ll both be (pleasantly, I hope) shattered.
We’ll take rest days when we want/need to.
I have health conditions that mean I’ll be taking it easy and it’ll definitely be me before her who needs to rest.
I’m doing it for the challenge but not to overly exert myself (or my dog) and I want to enjoy the experience.
No flights involved and we’re very used to having campervan adventures together, so it’s like our second home.
We’re about to do our first campervan trip to Spain next month so we’ll understand better how to do that aspect before doing the Camino next year.
I’m aiming for May, for best chance of warmth but not heat and less rain than earlier in the year.
I’d be disappointed not to complete/get to Santiago, but if that’s how it pans out, it won’t be the end of the world.
If I don’t go with dog and campervan, I don’t think I’d want to do it.
The usual problem people seem to have is accommodation which you already have sorted.
The other thing that people on their own have problems with is being able to go and have showers, buy food etc in places where you cant take your dog, and you seem to have that sorted as well.
I have two large breed dogs. My smaller dog (35 kg) has plenty of stamina and loves to walk with me. She walks around 5 kms a day normally, and can do 10 km for a few days in a row, then she needs a day off, my bigger dog is a 1-3 km dog, so doesnt have the same stamina.
I'm sure you have worked out what your dog is capable of.
As you have a large vehicle you can take plenty of the food your dog likes, so shopping for dog food shouldn't be an issue.
Last time we met two women who were walking from Sarria with 3 dogs between them, one was a Border Collie, one a Staffie, and the other was small enough to carry, but they all seemed fine walking. They had prebooked accommodation the whole way. But the camper van will solve that issue for you.
I'm sure you'll have a great adventure together.
 

Ianinam

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2013 / CP 2018
I haven't walked the Camino with a dog, but I know a few people who have done it and as a hospitalera in Roncesvalles I regularly see pilgrims with dogs. They are not allowed inside the albergue, so they always sleep in their own tent, like you will do in your camper.
A few things come to my mind.

The month May can be quite hot already so take little 'shoes' with you for your dog, especially when you walk on tarmac.

As @Saint Mike II already stated: your dog will not be welcome inside, so when you take a coffee/lunch and use the toilet in a restaurant/bar when there is a pouring rain, your dog has to stay outside.

Be aware of chain dogs near farms, usually behind a fence.

Be also aware of stray dogs walking around. If your dog is on a leash and is attacked by a stray dog he cannot defend himself.
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
I haven't walked the Camino with a dog, but I know a few people who have done it and as a hospitalera in Roncesvalles I regularly see pilgrims with dogs. They are not allowed inside the albergue, so they always sleep in their own tent, like you will do in your camper.
A few things come to my mind.

The month May can be quite hot already so take little 'shoes' with you for your dog, especially when you walk on tarmac.

As @Saint Mike II already stated: your dog will not be welcome inside, so when you take a coffee/lunch and use the toilet in a restaurant/bar when there is a pouring rain, your dog has to stay outside.

Be aware of chain dogs near farms, usually behind a fence.

Be also aware of stray dogs walking around. If your dog is on a leash and is attacked by a stray dog he cannot defend himself.
Thank you. Useful things to consider. Maybe I need a doggie umbrella? 🐕 ☔😂
 
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Corned Beef

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
Enjoy your Camino. Have seen a number of hairy Caminoists in the last two weeks so hope she enjoys it as much as you.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
Don't forget that, post-Brexit, the rules about taking animals into the EU area have changed.
If you previously had a pet passport issued in GB (not Northern Ireland) it is no longer valid.

Pets to Spain

Pets to France
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Your planning looks good to me.

Having a camper van with additional driver is brilliant. It provides dog friendly transport to and from the camino, dog friendly accommodation, gives your dog its own "territory" (a big psychological plus), the ability not to walk if injured or tired. From Vigo it is indeed a short and relatively easy walk to Santiago.

Having some money to cover unexpected vet bills would be the only other issue I can foresee.

All good to go! Buen Camino.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I suggest you harness your dog so you have a way to add a packet of contact information while you're on camino. I personally wouldn't trust just a collar for this. Add lots of info such as pictures of you, your friend and the camper. Phone numbers, email addresses, anything to get a speedy recovery of your dog in case of separation. In Spanish, Portuguese and English.
 
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Tony Lenton

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles (2018)
Camino Frances ( from Ponferrada 2019)
I intend to walk with my dog.

I’m just wondering if anyone here has done that or might have input on things I need to consider… which I might have already considered… or not?

I don’t want opinions unless you can give reasons to back them up. It’s just not helpful. So if you have experience, please share. Many thanks.

I’m aware of the APACA website and have joined a Camino con Perro group on FB.

Here are some details of my plan:
My dog is a healthy border collie - a breed ‘designed’ for stamina, outdoors working/walking, variable terrains and supremely loyal.
We’ll sleep in a campervan that we’re driving over from the UK.
My friend will drive the van to meet us each day and enjoy time on her own while we walk.
My friend can also spend time with my dog on days she’s not in the mood for walking with me.
I’m only doing 100 km, from Vigo, on the Portuguès de la Costa route because I understand that it’s the least demanding.
I’m only intending to walk around 10 km a day, after which we’ll both be (pleasantly, I hope) shattered.
We’ll take rest days when we want/need to.
I have health conditions that mean I’ll be taking it easy and it’ll definitely be me before her who needs to rest.
I’m doing it for the challenge but not to overly exert myself (or my dog) and I want to enjoy the experience.
No flights involved and we’re very used to having campervan adventures together, so it’s like our second home.
We’re about to do our first campervan trip to Spain next month so we’ll understand better how to do that aspect before doing the Camino next year.
I’m aiming for May, for best chance of warmth but not heat and less rain than earlier in the year.
I’d be disappointed not to complete/get to Santiago, but if that’s how it pans out, it won’t be the end of the world.
If I don’t go with dog and campervan, I don’t think I’d want to do it.
I don’t have advice but my opinion is that this seems a wonderful experience to share with your dog. One of the real beauties of this life is to be outside, with a dog(s) and sharing together the wonders of nature. The dog will have a separate range of interests to you, unless, that is, you enjoy sniffing hedgerows and borders and your pleasures will be enhanced by one another’s company.
You may even grow closer, if that is possible. Dogs commit themselves wholeheartedly and never complain.
Buen Camino.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I've seen a number of miserable dogs over 11 caminos, and only 2 or 3 happy ones. However, the campervan approach will likely take care of many of the practical downsides, of accommodation, food, eshaustion, and a feeling of security for an animal far away from its home.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
You may have already done this, but if you click on the tag "dogs & other animals" under the title of this thread, you will get most of the recent discussions on the topic.
 
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LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
E8ADF57B-7CCF-4495-B593-025C703BECD6.jpeg
Hello! We are currently on Camino no 2, just started and so far so good.

I see you have found our post from our first Camino, so I hope you’ll find lots of good info there. Feel free to send me a personal message if you have other questions.

If your dog needs AHC - the “Animal Health Certificage” group on FB has tons of info, also vets do drop their contact details with competitive price for the cert! Unfortunately I have already got the AHC from my usual vet at the time, and paid much more £££.

I have a friend who did the Portuguese in May, with her Border Collie called Gandaia! They had a great time. You can follow their journey on IG here. They did it from Tui.

Things which are different on the Camino from UK walking/hiking:
- heat: this year there were 2 heatwaves in May, we were lucky we did ours in between but afternoon temps were still high and on the road the surface was quite hot. Solution: toughen up the dog paws at home before Camino by doing lots of walking on road/pavement and not just soft ground/trails, put lots of paw balm on their pads (dry pads are more prone to crack/peel on rough sharp hot surface), start the walk early and finish early (shouldn’t be a problem if you limit your distance to about 10K)
- crowd management: the last 100K is usually very crowded, and as a very friendly young dog, Fuji likes to play with everyone, which led to her over exercising/overdoing it the first time round! So our solution was to leave early, go off stages, and put her on the lead more often.
- it rains a lot, so for Border Collie I would recommend getting a good rain coat for the doggy too! Will save you a lot of cleaning up…
- restaurants: most restaurants in Spain have outdoor terrace so they will always be okay with a dog sitting outside. Some restaurants do accept dogs indoors but this is rare, there are some in Santiago. This time I randomly entered one in Leon too! Nice. When I was on the Camino alone, I tied Fuji outside and I quickly went inside to order/got stamps/used the facilities. If your friend can help keep the dog company, that’ll be even better.

Have fun planning!

PS: I also have a British friend planning to do Camino with her husband driving the campervan, following her everyday. Sounds so good!
 

Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I’m not sure you read my post. I said we’ll be sleeping in my campervan. So accommodation isn’t an issue.
oK lost that bit. Then go ahead, just be careful when you encounter other dogs, not tied up. Cheers
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
This year I saw many pilgrims with dogs on the last 100km from Sarria onwards to Santiago (in august). At least in this section, walking with dogs seems to have become more popular and more normal. I had never seen that many dogs on the Camino before, and most seemed quite happy to me.

I didn't walk with a dog but with a cat (in a carrier). I did encounter pilgrims on a campsite who did it the way you did - with a campervan! It seemed like a very smart solution.

There were much more pilgrims with dogs on route than we met on the campsites, so I guess there is more dog friendly lodging nowadays, too? They must have slept somewhere!

Some people with small dogs had strollers for the dogs to sit in, but for slow 10km days with an active bordercollie, I guess you'll both be fine without such a thing.

In my opinion most problems that create unhappy, unhealthy dogs on the Camino come from owners who don't put their pets wellbeing before their Camino plans - walking too long distances, not resting enough, walking too fast, walking in too hot weather, ect. (and badly trained or fearful/nervous dogs, which I assume is not the case with yours).

You have a good plan B in case of your dog not liking it - he can just travel the rest of the trip in the van, as you said. And If you need a vet it is easy to drive to one. Perfect!

For restaurants/cafés, we usually did sit outside on the terrace. Most of the time I didn't even ask if we can come in, because I expected a "no" even with the cat being in a closed carrier. Left the cat with another trusted pilgrim when I had to go to the toilet or inside the cafe to order/pay, no problem. If your dog stays calm sitting on the terrace getting pets and treats from other pilgrims while you go in, or stays calm lying in the shade while someone just keeps an eye on him, I see no problem.

Enjoy your Camino with your four (and two!) legged friends.
 

Houlet

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2014
Via de la Plata 2015
Camino Sanabres 2015
Camino Norde 2017
You are walking through agricultural areas, there are quite a few farm dogs on route, and they can be aggresively territorial. I have never taken a dog on camino but suspect it could be a problem.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
don’t want opinions unless you can give reasons to back them up. It’s just not helpful. So if you have experience, please share. Many thanks.
No direct experience, but I met a very happy BC in 2015, doing what BCs do. I had a pic of these guys when they got to Santiago, but can't find it - but they walked the Camino Frances from quite a long ways out, Italy, doing 25+km stages!
IMG_7750.JPG
You have covered your bases, and @LavanyaLea's great post has lots of useful info - and the photo of the day!

A few things others haven't mentioned:
Is your dog chipped? Worth doing, in case.

If you have to walk on roads or paved surfaces in midday consider taking booties.

And since border collies can be mud magnets (at least mine was), do carry some way to remove the worst of the undercarriage detritus with you, rather than depending on only having to do that at the end of the day at the campervan (brilliant idea, BTW).
Buen camino, to you both. And I will be hanging out for photos!
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
No direct experience, but I met a very happy BC in 2015, doing what BCs do. I had a pic of these guys when they got to Santiago, but can't find it - but they walked the Camino Frances from quite a long ways out, Italy, doing 25+km stages!
View attachment 133603
You have covered your bases, and @LavanyaLea's great post has lots of useful info - and the photo of the day!

A few things others haven't mentioned:
Is your dog chipped? Worth doing, in case.

If you have to walk on roads or paved surfaces in midday consider taking booties.

And since border collies can be mud magnets (at least mine was), do carry some way to remove the worst of the undercarriage detritus with you, rather than depending on only having to do that at the end of the day at the campervan (brilliant idea, BTW).
Buen camino, to you both. And I will be hanging out for photos!
Dogs entering EU states must be microchipped.
 

Sirron

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May-July 2023
I intend to walk with my dog.

I’m just wondering if anyone here has done that or might have input on things I need to consider… which I might have already considered… or not?

I don’t want opinions unless you can give reasons to back them up. It’s just not helpful. So if you have experience, please share. Many thanks.

I’m aware of the APACA website and have joined a Camino con Perro group on FB.

Here are some details of my plan:
My dog is a healthy border collie - a breed ‘designed’ for stamina, outdoors working/walking, variable terrains and supremely loyal.
We’ll sleep in a campervan that we’re driving over from the UK.
My friend will drive the van to meet us each day and enjoy time on her own while we walk.
My friend can also spend time with my dog on days she’s not in the mood for walking with me.
I’m only doing 100 km, from Vigo, on the Portuguès de la Costa route because I understand that it’s the least demanding.
I’m only intending to walk around 10 km a day, after which we’ll both be (pleasantly, I hope) shattered.
We’ll take rest days when we want/need to.
I have health conditions that mean I’ll be taking it easy and it’ll definitely be me before her who needs to rest.
I’m doing it for the challenge but not to overly exert myself (or my dog) and I want to enjoy the experience.
No flights involved and we’re very used to having campervan adventures together, so it’s like our second home.
We’re about to do our first campervan trip to Spain next month so we’ll understand better how to do that aspect before doing the Camino next year.
I’m aiming for May, for best chance of warmth but not heat and less rain than earlier in the year.
I’d be disappointed not to complete/get to Santiago, but if that’s how it pans out, it won’t be the end of the world.
If I don’t go with dog and campervan, I don’t think I’d want to do it.
Sounds like an awesome time. I have two dogs. One would love it. The other (a golden retriever) is a big fan of air conditioning and would leave me for the first person with AC hahaha.
I hope it's a great time and I'd love to see photos or videos of you and your dog on your journey!
 
Last edited:

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
Don't forget that, post-Brexit, the rules about taking animals into the EU area have changed.
If you previously had a pet passport issued in GB (not Northern Ireland) it is no longer valid.

Pets to Spain

Pets to France
Yes, I’m up to date on the changes. Thanks. We’re going in just over a week so I’ve gone through the whole (bloody expensive!) process. In fact I plan to get an EU pet passport while we’re in Spain this time for any future trips.
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
You are walking through agricultural areas, there are quite a few farm dogs on route, and they can be aggresively territorial. I have never taken a dog on camino but suspect it could be a problem.
Yes, I’m aware of them. I’m actually meeting a woman tomorrow who’s done it with two border collies so will find out best way to deal with that. Thanks.
 
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JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
No direct experience, but I met a very happy BC in 2015, doing what BCs do. I had a pic of these guys when they got to Santiago, but can't find it - but they walked the Camino Frances from quite a long ways out, Italy, doing 25+km stages!
View attachment 133603
You have covered your bases, and @LavanyaLea's great post has lots of useful info - and the photo of the day!

A few things others haven't mentioned:
Is your dog chipped? Worth doing, in case.

If you have to walk on roads or paved surfaces in midday consider taking booties.

And since border collies can be mud magnets (at least mine was), do carry some way to remove the worst of the undercarriage detritus with you, rather than depending on only having to do that at the end of the day at the campervan (brilliant idea, BTW).
Buen camino, to you both. And I will be hanging out for photos!
Really helpful input. Thanks.
This year I saw many pilgrims with dogs on the last 100km from Sarria onwards to Santiago (in august). At least in this section, walking with dogs seems to have become more popular and more normal. I had never seen that many dogs on the Camino before, and most seemed quite happy to me.

I didn't walk with a dog but with a cat (in a carrier). I did encounter pilgrims on a campsite who did it the way you did - with a campervan! It seemed like a very smart solution.

There were much more pilgrims with dogs on route than we met on the campsites, so I guess there is more dog friendly lodging nowadays, too? They must have slept somewhere!

Some people with small dogs had strollers for the dogs to sit in, but for slow 10km days with an active bordercollie, I guess you'll both be fine without such a thing.

In my opinion most problems that create unhappy, unhealthy dogs on the Camino come from owners who don't put their pets wellbeing before their Camino plans - walking too long distances, not resting enough, walking too fast, walking in too hot weather, ect. (and badly trained or fearful/nervous dogs, which I assume is not the case with yours).

You have a good plan B in case of your dog not liking it - he can just travel the rest of the trip in the van, as you said. And If you need a vet it is easy to drive to one. Perfect!

For restaurants/cafés, we usually did sit outside on the terrace. Most of the time I didn't even ask if we can come in, because I expected a "no" even with the cat being in a closed carrier. Left the cat with another trusted pilgrim when I had to go to the toilet or inside the cafe to order/pay, no problem. If your dog stays calm sitting on the terrace getting pets and treats from other pilgrims while you go in, or stays calm lying in the shade while someone just keeps an eye on him, I see no problem.

Enjoy your Camino with your four (and two!) legged friends.
Muchas gracias! 😊
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
View attachment 133559
Hello! We are currently on Camino no 2, just started and so far so good.

I see you have found our post from our first Camino, so I hope you’ll find lots of good info there. Feel free to send me a personal message if you have other questions.

If your dog needs AHC - the “Animal Health Certificage” group on FB has tons of info, also vets do drop their contact details with competitive price for the cert! Unfortunately I have already got the AHC from my usual vet at the time, and paid much more £££.

I have a friend who did the Portuguese in May, with her Border Collie called Gandaia! They had a great time. You can follow their journey on IG here. They did it from Tui.

Things which are different on the Camino from UK walking/hiking:
- heat: this year there were 2 heatwaves in May, we were lucky we did ours in between but afternoon temps were still high and on the road the surface was quite hot. Solution: toughen up the dog paws at home before Camino by doing lots of walking on road/pavement and not just soft ground/trails, put lots of paw balm on their pads (dry pads are more prone to crack/peel on rough sharp hot surface), start the walk early and finish early (shouldn’t be a problem if you limit your distance to about 10K)
- crowd management: the last 100K is usually very crowded, and as a very friendly young dog, Fuji likes to play with everyone, which led to her over exercising/overdoing it the first time round! So our solution was to leave early, go off stages, and put her on the lead more often.
- it rains a lot, so for Border Collie I would recommend getting a good rain coat for the doggy too! Will save you a lot of cleaning up…
- restaurants: most restaurants in Spain have outdoor terrace so they will always be okay with a dog sitting outside. Some restaurants do accept dogs indoors but this is rare, there are some in Santiago. This time I randomly entered one in Leon too! Nice. When I was on the Camino alone, I tied Fuji outside and I quickly went inside to order/got stamps/used the facilities. If your friend can help keep the dog company, that’ll be even better.

Have fun planning!

PS: I also have a British friend planning to do Camino with her husband driving the campervan, following her everyday. Sounds so good!
Thanks so much for your supportive comments. I’m partway through reading your blog but not much free time just now. Busy planning our first (non-Camino) trip to Spain in just over a week.
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
Ooooh!

This is how I would like to do a camino with my dog, if and when, ever.

And now someone is doing it. 😮

All the best to you, JetB. Enjoy your camino. Enjoy your preparations. Enjoy!
I’m not the first by a long shot. Check out blogs and podcasts of people who’ve done it. I’m meeting one tomorrow, also with two border collies.
 
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David61

Active Member
As others have mentioned boots are worth considering. Met this chap back in 2019 and his owners said it was there only real concern for him. The Way can be hot and very stony on small paws (and my size 8s as it happens). You seem to have things well thought through though so good luck
 

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JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
View attachment 133559
Hello! We are currently on Camino no 2, just started and so far so good.

I see you have found our post from our first Camino, so I hope you’ll find lots of good info there. Feel free to send me a personal message if you have other questions.

If your dog needs AHC - the “Animal Health Certificage” group on FB has tons of info, also vets do drop their contact details with competitive price for the cert! Unfortunately I have already got the AHC from my usual vet at the time, and paid much more £££.

I have a friend who did the Portuguese in May, with her Border Collie called Gandaia! They had a great time. You can follow their journey on IG here. They did it from Tui.

Things which are different on the Camino from UK walking/hiking:
- heat: this year there were 2 heatwaves in May, we were lucky we did ours in between but afternoon temps were still high and on the road the surface was quite hot. Solution: toughen up the dog paws at home before Camino by doing lots of walking on road/pavement and not just soft ground/trails, put lots of paw balm on their pads (dry pads are more prone to crack/peel on rough sharp hot surface), start the walk early and finish early (shouldn’t be a problem if you limit your distance to about 10K)
- crowd management: the last 100K is usually very crowded, and as a very friendly young dog, Fuji likes to play with everyone, which led to her over exercising/overdoing it the first time round! So our solution was to leave early, go off stages, and put her on the lead more often.
- it rains a lot, so for Border Collie I would recommend getting a good rain coat for the doggy too! Will save you a lot of cleaning up…
- restaurants: most restaurants in Spain have outdoor terrace so they will always be okay with a dog sitting outside. Some restaurants do accept dogs indoors but this is rare, there are some in Santiago. This time I randomly entered one in Leon too! Nice. When I was on the Camino alone, I tied Fuji outside and I quickly went inside to order/got stamps/used the facilities. If your friend can help keep the dog company, that’ll be even better.

Have fun planning!

PS: I also have a British friend planning to do Camino with her husband driving the campervan, following her everyday. Sounds so good!
Do you know which route she’s planning to do? It might be good to share ideas etc.
 
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LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
Do you know which route she’s planning to do? It might be good to share ideas etc.
My friend is going to do the Frances, with her husband and dog following in a camper. She’s on this forum too @Helen Robinson

I think Spanish vets are more likely to issue a pet passport than French ones. Good luck!
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
My friend is going to do the Frances, with her husband and dog following in a camper. She’s on this forum too @Helen Robinson

I think Spanish vets are more likely to issue a pet passport than French ones. Good luck!
Thanks. I’ll be driving through France to spend time in Spain, so that’s good to know. I have a few friends dotted around Spain so hoping they’ll be able to recommend a local vet.

@Helen Robinson, I’m intending to do the Portuguès Coastal, from either Vigo or Baiona. But anyway, feel free to tag me with any useful info you come across if you think it’s be useful. I’ll do the same. 👋
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
I suggest you harness your dog so you have a way to add a packet of contact information while you're on camino. I personally wouldn't trust just a collar for this. Add lots of info such as pictures of you, your friend and the camper. Phone numbers, email addresses, anything to get a speedy recovery of your dog in case of separation. In Spanish, Portuguese and English.
Thank you. That’s really good practical advice. We use a harness already, so that’s not going to be an issue. 👍
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
Sounds like an awesome time. I have two dogs. One would love it. The other (a golden retriever) is a big fan of air conditioning and would leave me for the first person with AC hahaha.
I hope it's a great time and I'd love to see photos or videos of you and your dog on your journey!
Thanks for the supportive comment. From what I’ve seen, my girl loves the sun. Even with shade available she was often sunbathing this summer in the UK when we had pretty extreme temperatures, but collies have a double coat which works to regulate temperature, both hot and cold. I’ll be watching anyway to see how we both fare. If heat or rain get too much, we’ll have shorter days and take more breaks. This is not about a gruelling challenge of perseverance, but hopefully more of a big long fun ‘walkies’ together. 🤞🏼
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
This year I saw many pilgrims with dogs on the last 100km from Sarria onwards to Santiago (in august). At least in this section, walking with dogs seems to have become more popular and more normal. I had never seen that many dogs on the Camino before, and most seemed quite happy to me.

I didn't walk with a dog but with a cat (in a carrier). I did encounter pilgrims on a campsite who did it the way you did - with a campervan! It seemed like a very smart solution.

There were much more pilgrims with dogs on route than we met on the campsites, so I guess there is more dog friendly lodging nowadays, too? They must have slept somewhere!

Some people with small dogs had strollers for the dogs to sit in, but for slow 10km days with an active bordercollie, I guess you'll both be fine without such a thing.

In my opinion most problems that create unhappy, unhealthy dogs on the Camino come from owners who don't put their pets wellbeing before their Camino plans - walking too long distances, not resting enough, walking too fast, walking in too hot weather, ect. (and badly trained or fearful/nervous dogs, which I assume is not the case with yours).

You have a good plan B in case of your dog not liking it - he can just travel the rest of the trip in the van, as you said. And If you need a vet it is easy to drive to one. Perfect!

For restaurants/cafés, we usually did sit outside on the terrace. Most of the time I didn't even ask if we can come in, because I expected a "no" even with the cat being in a closed carrier. Left the cat with another trusted pilgrim when I had to go to the toilet or inside the cafe to order/pay, no problem. If your dog stays calm sitting on the terrace getting pets and treats from other pilgrims while you go in, or stays calm lying in the shade while someone just keeps an eye on him, I see no problem.

Enjoy your Camino with your four (and two!) legged friends.
Thanks for sharing. May I ask why you chose to walk with your cat… in a carrier? Some kind of personal challenge… or difficulties finding anyone to cat-sit? 😻

I have a cat too, but he’s very determinedly a stay-local/at home boy. He’d hate it - didn’t even want to check out my campervan. 🤷🏻‍♀️
 

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JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
No direct experience, but I met a very happy BC in 2015, doing what BCs do. I had a pic of these guys when they got to Santiago, but can't find it - but they walked the Camino Frances from quite a long ways out, Italy, doing 25+km stages!
View attachment 133603
You have covered your bases, and @LavanyaLea's great post has lots of useful info - and the photo of the day!

A few things others haven't mentioned:
Is your dog chipped? Worth doing, in case.

If you have to walk on roads or paved surfaces in midday consider taking booties.

And since border collies can be mud magnets (at least mine was), do carry some way to remove the worst of the undercarriage detritus with you, rather than depending on only having to do that at the end of the day at the campervan (brilliant idea, BTW).
Buen camino, to you both. And I will be hanging out for photos!
Thanks for your comment, advisory and encouraging. Dogs have to be microchipped and wear a tag in the UK too, so that’s already covered.
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
I've seen a number of miserable dogs over 11 caminos, and only 2 or 3 happy ones. However, the campervan approach will likely take care of many of the practical downsides, of accommodation, food, eshaustion, and a feeling of security for an animal far away from its home.
Thanks. I wouldn’t consider doing it without the van. Or the dog. Or the friend. Or the manageable short days. It needs to be right for all of us. 😊
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
Thanks for sharing. May I ask why you chose to walk with your cat… in a carrier? Some kind of personal challenge… or difficulties finding anyone to cat-sit? 😻

I have a cat too, but he’s very determinedly a stay-local/at home boy. He’d hate it - didn’t even want to check out my campervan. 🤷🏻‍♀️
I certainly didn't plan for this, it just happened. Found the cat on the trail. He was starving and very sick, basically dying. So I decided to take him with me and keep him (didn't want him to be put down in a shelter either). Now I've got a cat that likes being outside on the leash and camping 🤣🤷
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
I certainly didn't plan for this, it just happened. Found the cat on the trail. He was starving and very sick, basically dying. So I decided to take him with me and keep him (didn't want him to be put down in a shelter either). Now I've got a cat that likes being outside on the leash and camping 🤣🤷
What a wonderful story. What’s his/her name? And where do you live? How was it taking her/him home?
 

JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
What a wonderful story. What’s his/her name? And where do you live? How was it taking her/him home?
I had a vague fantasy about finding a dog on my travels who just took to me and me to her/him and we’d adopt each other. Not while doing the Camino, just on my travels through Spain. Then Koko appeared in my life in a different way but similarly coincidental; it just happened, unplanned by me but maybe by the universe…?
 
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LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
I had a vague fantasy about finding a dog on my travels who just took to me and me to her/him and we’d adopt each other.
This has certainly happened a few times in recent years, one adopted by a German pilgrim, and another by a Japanese family! So yes! After their Camino ended, the dog was looked after by animal shelter to get better/stronger, and the Japanese pilgrim sorted out the paperworks etc, and a few months later they came back to pick up the dog!

Their Instagram: here and here.
 

Sirron

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May-July 2023
Thanks for the supportive comment. From what I’ve seen, my girl loves the sun. Even with shade available she was often sunbathing this summer in the UK when we had pretty extreme temperatures, but collies have a double coat which works to regulate temperature, both hot and cold. I’ll be watching anyway to see how we both fare. If heat or rain get too much, we’ll have shorter days and take more breaks. This is not about a gruelling challenge of perseverance, but hopefully more of a big long fun ‘walkies’ together. 🤞🏼
Oh I know your dog will be fine. My Dog refused to follow me to the mailbox this morning hahaha. He's just so lazy hahaha but I love him! :)
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
How was it taking her/him home?
I'm from the EU, had an open return date and travelled back by car, so it wasn't too difficult. This silly adventure cat even loved the car ride back home, lots of rest stops with walks (on leash) and treats :)

I had a vague fantasy about finding a dog on my travels who just took to me and me to her/him and we’d adopt each other.

Same. In the end it was a cat, not a dog, but still - purrfect! What do they say, the Camino gives you what you need, not what you want! I certainly won't complain :)

Good thing I had learned some spanish phrases to get by in case of finding a stray since Camino #1... knew it would happen at some point!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I have no advice at all on this question.

Just an observation - - I have never seen so many pilgrims with dogs than I have seen on the 50K that I have walked so far on the Francès from Santiago to Melide.

And not just "more", it's about 30 to 40 times more.
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
I have no advice at all on this question.

Just an observation - - I have never seen so many pilgrims with dogs than I have seen on the 50K that I have walked so far on the Francès from Santiago to Melide.

And not just "more", it's about 30 to 40 times more.
The last 100km has become quite popular in Spain with more tour operators offering packages. This Wednesday with Hispanic day, so maybe more Spanish people are using the day off as opportunity to take time off to do a week’s Camino.

This summer (August) there was a charity event attended by 20 dogs and 25 pilgrims doing the last 100km of Camino Portugues!
 
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JetB

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
No judgment but I always feel sorry for the dogs walking long distance. You choose they don’t, and I know dogs like walking but it’s a lot. Also I remember on my last Camino the person I saw walking with his dog had difficulty finding places that the dog could stay in.
“No judgement”, but you obviously did not read my post.
 

LavanyaLea

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (May/June 2022)
3ED32E79-955E-4DB7-8F87-3F757396875A.jpeg
Arrived in Santiago today! Our Camino family arrived 2 days ahead cos we took a rest day in Lugo, and they came out to meet us at the square! As well as looking after Fuji while I went to get my compostela.

I think JetB got a good plan with the campervan!
 

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