More and more pilgrims would like to enjoy the Camino with their best friends: their pets. If
you are one of them, here you have some information that can be really useful for you.
First, you should know that it is not still possible to stay in the public hostels (albergues) with
your pet. However, there are private hostels, guests houses, country cottages or casas rurales
which accept pets in most of the Caminos. The Spanish animal welfare association for the
camino APACA has made a list with those accommodation premises which have been
recommended by pilgrims who have walked the Camino Francés with their pets.
Some pilgrims recommend not to improvise and book in advance if you are travelling with your
four-legged friend. Not only more and more hostels and guests houses accept pets but you can
also get a pet credential and its own Compostela, which is called “Perregrina” (it could be
translated as dog-drina).
Plan ahead the Camino
Before starting your Camino, both you and your dog must get ready to the new adventure. You
will need to be fit so it is a good idea to start walking for one or two hours a day some months
or weeks before leaving. But physical condition is not the only thing you should care about, it
is also important to think carefully which season you are going to choose for your Camino.
Winter and the hottest months of summer are seasons you had better avoid to prevent your
pet from unnecessary suffering such as heat strokes. A pilgrim who walked the camino in
August remembers that she had to start walking before the sunrise in order to avoid the
hottest hours of the day and she says she would not repeat the camino in that month of the
year. She says that she would travel in Spring or Autumn.
Once you know the route you plan to take, the next thing to consider is your dog’s limits.
While most dogs can run wild for a few hours at a time, a long-distance walk can be an entirely
different prospect. Not all dogs will be fit enough to take on an extended trek, and it’s best you
find this out before you set out on your journey.
It’s likely you will have practice in the run up to the walk, so the best thing to do is bring your
dog along when you are training for a longer hike. That way, you can get a sense of how
capable your dog is while also getting them accustomed to extended periods of walking. For
bigger, stronger dogs, long distances are less likely to be a problem – meaning you can enjoy a
walk that suits you both. If you’re unsure on your dog’s tolerance of long-distance walking, it is
always recommended checking in with your vet to get a professional opinion.
Dog health and care information
Walking with your dog means walking with a friend you have to take care of. The routes are
thought for human walking not for your pet, so maybe you will have to redistribute the
kilometers according to your dog´s necessities.
Hydration is one of the most important cares on the Camino. Both you and your dog must
drink plenty of water, rest in shade and try to cool down in rivers, fountains, springs…
Our dog´s paws are as vulnerable as human feet, and like ours, they need to be taken care of
and pampered. An owner wouldn’t walk across a hot parking lot or a snow covered field
without the proper protection on their feet. A paw pad needs to be checked for a myriad of
issues that should be addressed, including nail length, cracked pads and foreign objects
wedged in between paw pads.
Pack the essentials
Packing the essentials is something you will need to put extra consideration into if you plan to
bring your dog along with you. Food and water are the obvious things you will need to pack,
making sure you bring enough to get your dog through the trip – although you may find it
easier to stop off at shops en route to top-up your supply.
Use a smaller, plastic bowl rather than a chunkier metal one to save space and reduce weight.
With the instinct to explore in often unknown surroundings, it might just be worth packing
some dog first aids essentials too, in case anything happens along the way. Bring a towel for
the likely event you will come across a river or puddle your dog just has to splash in, as this will
come in handy if you need to dry off paws before you head inside a pub or back to your
So, don´t deprive yourself of traveling with your pet, just prepare yourself in advance and
share the Camino with your best friend.
Buen Camino, amigo!