If you know me at all you know I love dogs but I don’t have one myself. Then I hear you ask, well then how can you advise on travelling with a dog? Well I met the lovely Border Collie Milo (@milocrossingborders on Instagram – follow him!) and his mama Jade on one of my first days in Bolivia. We ended up getting on well and so travelled together for 3 weeks throughout Bolivia! Here is your full guide on how to travel Bolivia with a dog.
Milo is a super social and well trained dog. He was a real joy to be around and is very chilled out by moving around a lot. I found it very easy to travel with him in Bolivia, I think a lot of this also reflects on how well behaved he is.
Having a dog as a pet is normal in Bolivia, although it is more common in other south American countries. People are very excited and curious to see a travelling dog so expect lots of attention too.
Accommodation in Bolivia With a Dog
In general, most of the places we stayed in Bolivida were completely fine with having a dog. If a hotel or hostel is pet friendly they usually have it stated on their information on the booking website or hostelworld website. Even if they don’t, sometimes a quick WhatsApp is enough to learn that they actually do accept pets.
There was one place that we stayed that charged a small extra cleaning fee. This is understandable for the extra dog hair. The biggest issue that we had was with a big chain of hostels. Even though they stated dog friendly, they tried to charge the price of 1 person for the dog each night due to ‘policy’. We spoke to them about it and ended up not having to pay.
Milo is a very well-trained dog and there was no possibility of poopoo or peepees indoors. If your dog is not 100% potty trained I could anticipate issues if an accident happened.
In general, I would advise staying in small independent hotels when you travel Bolivia with a dog. They are usually family run and enjoy more people and animals around.
Buses in Bolivia with a Dog
The main form of transport around Bolivia is public buses. And because of the distances involved, these buses are often night buses. As with accommodation, ask about the dog before you board. I found in general we didn’t need to book too far in advance for a night bus (1 day in advance or on the day was fine).
The only place we had issues from with a dog was La Paz. There were at least 3 companies that said no to having a dog on board. Luckily there were many companies going the route we were doing so we found one that was ok with it. Outside of La Paz it was no issue at all.
Milo was a very clever and chilled out dog that was ok spending the night on the floor of the bus under feet. Most people around us didn’t even notice he was there.
There was 1 bus that we took that Milo needed to go in the luggage compartment for the journey. Jade travelled with a travel crate so that he slept in that if he needed to in the luggage compartment. Saying that, make sure to check that the luggage compartment seems aired and warm enough for your doggo. Safety of the dog first! If you are going to put a dog in the luggage department and you have concerns, ask the driver about it.
When we did a 4 day Tupiza to Uyuni tour, Milo travelled in the jeep with us the whole time. He enjoyed it and it was very comfortable to have him in it. We checked with the tour company and they had no issues with it. We got some fab photos of Milo on the salt flats – a definite benefit of going to travel Bolivia with a dog.
Visiting La Paz with a Dog
La Paz is a crazy city and has the amount of traffic with that. Some of the roads are 3 lanes each side and have crazy traffic jam. If you are going to take a dog to La Paz, make sure they have good lead discipline and are not too intimidated by lots of cars.
One of the main ways to get around in La Paz is by cable car. However, in the cable cars dogs of a certain size must have a mussel. I think if a dog is small enough to be in a handbag it doesn’t need a mussel. Milo didn’t have a mussel so he got left behind and didn’t get to ride on the cable car :(. We tried even using his lead around his mouth but they didn’t accept that.
I went on a walking tour around La Paz with Milo and he was very welcome. I also found that restaurants were happy to have milo in the restaurant.
Finding Dog Food in Bolivia
There are many pet shops in the main towns or cities in Bolivia that have a good range of food. So we could get dog food that Jade preferred when we were in built up areas. Saying that, if you are out main towns pet shops are very few. If you are going into the countryside (such as to Torotoro or Uyuni tour), stock up on dog food for the amount of time.
Local attitude to travelling Bolivia with a dog
In general, local people in Bolivia were very friendly towards Milo. Seeing such a distinctive dog too, he made a lot of friends. As I had never travelled with a dog before, I really saw how much having a dog was able to break the barriers and be a great conversation starter with local people. Many people were curious as to where Milo was from and how he had got to Bolivia.
As well as being a hit with local people, travelling with a dog is a great way to meet other travellers. The reason I spoke to Jade in the first place was talking about Milo and then we ended up travelling together for 3 weeks! When I went on the walking tour with Milo in La Paz, so many people in the group were curious about what it is like travelling with a dog. If you end up travelling with a dog, prepare to answer lots of questions!
Street dogs in Bolivia
There are lots of street dogs around in Bolivia, especially in the cities. Milo is very friendly to other dogs and also not particularly threatened by them. We didn’t have any issues with dogs in Bolivia. Saying that, if your dog is not ok with strange dogs this could be a problem as there are so many.
My general impression of travelling with a dog in Bolivia
Do you have more planning to do when travelling with a dog? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely. I had never travelled with a dog before or even considered it as a possibility. But seeing how much joy travelling with a dog can bring I would definitely do it again. Let me know if you travel Bolivia with a dog and how you find it in the comments. Please include dog pics!