Doing St. James Way with dogs

Pilgrim's Way to Santiago with dog

When we seek to make the St. James Way with dog we want this family member to fully enjoy nature as we do. In addition, a more special bond will be created between our pet and us.

But it is not such a simple route that we are going to face and for our dog it will not be either. That’s why we’ve created good
Tips for the way to St. James end with the achievement of the objectives.

One of the doubts that most pilgrims have when they want to make the St. James with a dog is whether the hostel will allow you to stay in its facilities. Although we will give more details later, we can say that there are accommodations that allow it. In Galicia Villas we currently have two properties that allow pets, which are Cas do Mestre and Casa do Sal.

But this is not all in the matter of doubts or inconveniences, we know that there are other questions that we will answer with total security. If you plan to travel this year to the Camino de St. James with your dog follow the planning here we will give you the details.

How to start the Pilgrim’s Way to St. James with a dog?

The physical and mental training is fundamental to realize the way of St. James with dog and on foot. For both the conditioning process is essential if we want to reach Santiago de Compostela.


Start long walks with your dog and its due process of hydration. It is necessary to know if the pet has the necessary resistance to walk for 6 or 8 hours a day in stretches of 20 or 30 kilometers. In addition, we recommend the following:

  • You can create a daily routine from very early on in the walk.
  • It also includes a short night route that helps fortify both of you.
  • It is important to vary the area of practice because on the road to Santiago that we choose, irregular terrain predominates.
  • It is necessary to bring the dog dewormed and with all its vaccinations up to date. In addition, have the flea protection you use to prevent the dog from contracting any on the road.

Luggage or backpack

Both we and the dog must have a very complete luggage, containing everything essential that we may require on the way. However, it is advisable not to exaggerate in weight unless we contract the services of backpack transport.

In case of not doing it and wanting to do the St. James Way with dog and backpack you must know that it is the fundamental thing to keep. You more than anyone else know what makes your dog happy and depending on that you should pack some things. These are the most important:

  • Documents that accredit the dog with its obligatory vaccinations by law before any trip.
  • You must wear the harness or strap with which you normally walk.
  • A raincoat to keep the canine dry.
  • Instantaneous drying towel.
  • The food the dog needs for the estimated time.
  • In spite of being a natural road there are urban routes to travel. There our responsibility is to keep the area free of canine feces. That’s why a bag to collect excrement is essential.
  • Canine shoes due to the long walks that await you.
  • A cream for the legs that you will surely need.
  • A mat so that it doesn’t get cold at night.


As a human being, the dog must have its credentials up to date to avoid mishaps with the authorities. These roads of Santiago unite in borders between countries of the European community. However, as a citizen they demand documentation that validates their origin.

In the case of dogs, they also need all the necessary paperwork and permission to move from one country to another. One of them is the Perregrina or Compostela Canina, which allows the dog to make the pilgrimage.

This document comes from the APCA (Asociación Protectora de Animais do Camiño) in order to adapt the services in the shelters to the dogs.  Although it is not officialized by the Catholic Church is a very important beginning to achieve it.

Which is the best way to Santiago with a dog?

As there are 10 official routes to make the St. James Way we have a quick and fleeting question: Which is the best Santiago Way with dog ? The compilation of other pilgrims who have made the route explains that any road is perfect.

However, we must choose one, and where the best opinions converge Sarria points out. This is part of the French Way of Saint James in its stage 29 specifically Sarria – Portomarín.

In this section there are hostels that accept pets and the route is simpler for them. The detail is in arriving to Sarria with our dog without finding problems in the way. We know that we can arrive by train, bus, plane or car.

How to make a way to Santiago with a dog?

The Way of St. James that we choose can be crucial for our dog. This could cause somewhat complex inconveniences to be solved on the way. In that sense we have created a list of options we must make to have an optimal Santiago Way with dog .

  1. Wearing it on a leash or loosely will depend on the degree of education of the dog. If the dog is able to obey you without using it, you can try. However, it is recommended to have a 50% of use, that is to say a little with a leash and another loose. We are talking about long runs and a climate that can be overwhelming to keep the dog on a leash all day.
  2. With the food of the dog we must make an adjustment of quantities. That is to say, not to vary its regular feeding but to increase the daily doses. We are talking about a physical wear that will demand more energy to the dog. We can include a specialized energy food supplement to elevate your strength and mood.
  3. Hydration is key in the St. James Way with dog. This becomes a mandatory energy that we must have at hand at all times. It is necessary to be a little selective with the ideal moments to give water to the dog.
  4. Our dog’s pads require continuous treatment because it is what wears most. From creams, shoes or any object that makes him comfortable and painless. The legs are what must have more control on our part and check them continuously.

Best time of the year to make the way to Santiago with dog

We know that the Way of St. James has a special time of year to make the route. However, expert pilgrims indicate that any time is a good time to make the journey. Whether in winter, summer, spring or autumn, the important thing is to specify the date.

To make the St. James Way with dog perhaps the variable climate can impact much more than other factors. Winter and summer are very extreme conditions in the area that will surely make your dog weaken more quickly.

The goal is to reach everyone safe and sound, and watching over the health and integrity of your pet is an extra responsibility that you must maintain. That’s why it’s advisable to make the trip in spring, the intermediate season at these extremes.

From May to June and we include September and October are considered the best months to go. In these times the temperature is bearable for everyone. Finally, accommodation is key for our dog to regain energy and continue energetically. It is therefore advisable to make the reservation in advance and include the dog’s room.


When we make the decision to make the St. James Way with dog we must add another responsibility to the list. The pet’s integrity, health, comfort and stability are 100% on our own. Therefore, before the trip it is necessary to create physical and mental conditions to develop the activity.

On the other hand, the documentation of health of the dog is necessary to have no inconvenience with the authorities. From the legal ones to the symbolic ones that make the activity take more force for all.

Finally, we can conclude that the process can be carried out with total normality, calm and peace if we plan everything well. From luggage, health and accommodation so that our dog is cared for properly. We recommend you to read our article about travelling with dogs.