Our dogs are bonafide members of the family, and it’s painful to leave them when we go on holiday. If you want to take your dog away with you - whether at home or abroad - but are unsure about the hassle that might come with it, hopefully this little guide will clear things up so both you and your four legged friend can enjoy a relaxing break away from routine.
Assuming you’re travelling by car, this is a really great way to travel with dogs. It gives you plenty of control over the journey, including the total length of each leg. With a dog in tow, you’ll need to take more breaks than usual, making sure they get chance to stretch their legs and have a drink. It’s always a good idea to carry a water bottle and bowl for your dog.
It’s absolutely necessary that you provide some shade for your dog, even in the best air conditioned car. Dogs don’t sweat like humans and direct sunlight isn’t safe for them. If you need to leave your dog with the car, then the best option is to tie them up outside in a shaded spot. Under no circumstance should you leave them unattended in the car, even with all the windows down. This can, and does, lead to fatalities.
Once you’ve arrived at your destination (which is hopefully dog friendly!), it’s worth checking out local restaurants and eateries that are happy for you to bring your dog inside. Planning is key to a stress free holiday, so before you leave, make a list of attractions and things to do that can include your dog.
Here, the issue of travelling with your dog becomes much more complicated. As more people holiday abroad, especially driving to France and Spain, it’s natural that they will want to take their dogs with them. This requires careful planning to ensure you meet the criteria and don’t get held up at customs.
The first port of call will be to check the DEFRA Pet Travel Scheme for the country you wish to visit. Different rules apply for different countries, and you’ll need to make sure your pet can legally return to the UK! As a general rule, all dogs must be microchipped and have up to date vaccinations, including rabies and tapeworm, as well as a recent blood test.
You’ll also be required to use approved ports and airports for departure and arrival, although most of the major ones fall into this bracket. You will need to apply for a pet passport, and sign the relevant declaration forms.
Once this has been completed, you’ll want to research the area of the country you’ll be visiting to check there aren’t any diseases that your dog is likely to pick up. Insects and parasites can all pose threats to your foreign dog, who won’t have immunity. Taking a dog abroad is a complicated process, and is probably only worthwhile if you are going away for a prolonged period of time.
Aside from the paperwork and vaccinations, the usual planning applies to finding things to do and places to go that are dog friendly. It’s not just the British who love dogs, and there can be some amazing experiences you can share with your furry friend in a new country! Plan, be prepared and most importantly, have fun!