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Living In A Van Full-Time With A Dog

This post was updated on June 11th, 2021

One question that is often asked by people who do not follow this lifestyle is how we manage our furry friend in our nomadic life.

Our dog has been accustomed since he was a puppy to follow us everywhere. From small trips to longer trips: car, boat, canoe, trains, bus, subway, even by chairlift and cable car. Now, we share with him our house on wheels and I must say that he seems to be happy with this lifestyle.

He is traveling a lot without ever complaining, on the contrary, as soon as he has the opportunity he is pampered by many people we know on the street and always finds several friends with whom to play and share his precious ball.

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Van life with a dog

He never lacks the stimuli, helped by his great curiosity to explore new places. Since we’ve been traveling, he’s also had a significant mental growth.

Until some time ago, he was very fearful, sometimes even too exuberant. Now, he manages to play with other dogs in a much quieter way and will even share food and water with other animals without any problem.

Most importantly, our dog began to transpose rules and commands with ease, making it easier to manage our lives on the road. This aspect is fundamental for those who undertake van life with their dog, also with regard to the aspect of trust.


Keeping him comfortable

Of course, it’s not all that easy, especially if the dog lives in the van with you full-time.

Luckily our friend, in addition to playing a lot, likes to take long naps and inside the car is comfortable. But you can’t just leave your dog inside for as long as you would in a more serene way in an airy house. When it’s time for his nap, we can take him out when the weather allows or inside but with the certainty of getting enough oxygen through.

Another downside is that he loses a lot of hair. But this could be more negative in a house since there is more area to clean up. Being in a small space, this could be more advantageous because in a short time you can clean everything. We have a portable vacuum cleaner that collects hair and fluids in case of further damage.

We always try to stay in the middle of nature, where we can also leave our dog free. We are mainly looking for places of sea, lakes, and rivers where we can all cool off and go swimming. We keep fresh water at his disposal to quench his thirst and we clean it every time he has to climb up the van to avoid accumulating dirt.


Our furry friends are endowed with great intelligence and spirit of adaptation. Therefore, if put in favorable conditions, they will not create problems even in a different cohabitation like within a van.

The dog is an animal that needs constant company and a lot of social life. He needs attention and for his well-being, he must know how to share his time and space with both animals and humans. He needs to feel loved, he must be an integral part of his family, and so he will be a happy dog with a balanced character.

For more tips on van life with a dog, check out this video from Sara & Alex James:

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