Leaving your dog or cat at home or at an animal shelter while you're away on vacation can be a trying experience. That is why many people consider the option of doing the Camino de Santiago with their pet.
Although there are those who have taken the route with a cat, in general, the dog is the most “friendly” animal (if the word fits) to take a walk. There are simply a series of points that you must consider if you want to take it and here we will present them to you so that you can plan better.
Remember that taking a pet on a trip will not be an easy task. They don't always behave the way you want them to. For example, it is most likely that they will not tolerate going all the way in one go, but will need to stop a bit; they can create a bit of anxiety and could even make you sick along the way.
For his sake, consider that you will have to take shorter walks and that you may need to incorporate rest days.
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Bring your pet to the European Union
Before even considering doing the Camino de Santiago with your pet, investigate well if it can enter Spain from your country of origin. For example, a dog or cat less than six months old cannot enter any country of the European Union. Did you know this law?
In the case of dogs, and depending on your country of origin, you may need to quarantine them before travel. In many cases, at the starting point or once you arrive in Spain. Research very well before moving forward with your plans.
The main thing you must take into account to enter your dog in the European Union:
- You will need a pet passport
- You need to place an implant chip or an identification tattoo
- Apply the rabies vaccine and other vaccines depending on your country of origin
- You need a health certificate
- A sworn statement stating that you are not bringing the animal for commercial purposes
- If you are bringing your dog from the UK, their EU pet passport is no longer valid after Brexit. You will need to get a new one from a licensed vet in the UK.
Train your pet for the Camino de Santiago
When you start your training to do the Camino de Santiago, you should make your dog part of it so that he gets used to the long walks that you will have to do together. Try to take him to parks with different types of terrain so that he gets used to different environments and is aware of his reactions.
In the training process, make stops for him to drink water (and you too), see how he behaves in the presence of other animals (since it is an environment to which he will have to get used to during the trip) and how he behaves with the step of cars, because there will be paths that they will have to walk very close to traffic.
Always bring some type of reward snack to reward him for his good behavior.
planning for your pet
In the process of planning the Camino de Santiago with your pet, keep in mind the following points:
- Autumn is usually the best time to walk your dog. It is usually neither too hot nor too cold.
- Check which ones pet-friendly lodgings and book in advance
- Check which restaurants and bars allow pets
- Visit APA website so you can buy your dog's pilgrim passport. They can even receive "La Perregrina", which is the canine version of the Compostela certificate.
- If you come to Spain by plane or train, check that the airline or rail transport company provides facilities for the transfer of dogs. If you come by car from somewhere in Europe, much better for your pet if she is used to traveling that way. Make sure you find out where you can leave your car parked at the starting point of the path you choose.
- Find out about some health insurance for pets and check for veterinarians on the way. It is also good that you include medicines for your animal in the first aid kit.
- If your pet is small, consider a special backpack for its transfer for when it gets tired and you want to continue with the tour.
- And don't forget to bring him: water and a bowl so he can drink, snacks, harness and leash, his feed (pet food), bags for his stools, a rain poncho, shoes to protect his paws and his favorite toy.
Make the The Santiago Way It is a unique and enriching experience, which can be even more special if you decide to bring your best friend. We hope we have been able to help you with these lines and tips for doing the Camino de Santiago with pets.