Written by: Sondra Wolfer
Is the thought of leaving your dog behind when travelling the same as the idea of leaving a family member at home? You’re not alone. We Brits love taking our pets on holiday. In recent years, several polls have indicated that a great number of us take our pets along on our travels, and when we must leave them home, we worry about them and miss them terribly.
Thankfully, travelling abroad with dogs has become far easier with recently updated regulations. Here are some tips for preparing and packing for a carefree holiday with your dog.
1. Honestly assess whether your dog would be happier travelling with you or staying at home. Long-distance transportation and unfamiliar surroundings make most dogs anxious, but for some dogs it is a highly distressing experience from beginning to end. If your dog is new to travelling, take a small weekend trip by train to see how he manages. If he is calm throughout, he’ll likely enjoy longer trips abroad with you. If he exhibits anxiety or behaviour changes in transit, you’ll be doing yourself and your dog a kind favour by leaving him at home with a family member or other caregiver. Also, visit your veterinarian to ensure your dog is physically fit and healthy enough for the rigours of travel.
2. Familiarise yourself with the current UK travel regulations for pets and know there is uncertainty about how Brexit will impact the rules. As it stands, you can travel to many countries with your dog (cat, or ferret) if he has been microchipped, has a pet passport, is vaccinated against rabies, and has been treated for tapeworm. The EU and non-EU countries that accept a pet passport and from which pets are allowed to enter or re-enter the UK with documentation are listed on the UK pet travel site. Failure to follow the regulations can result in up to four months of quarantine for your pet.
3. Make sure your dog is accustomed to any pet travel supplies you will be using. A dog travel crate is not only important for your dog’s safety, but can be a comforting and familiar den for him as you travel to new places. If you are driving long distances, a dog car harness will ensure his safety as your seatbelt ensures yours.
4. Of course, you will make sure any place you are staying is dog-friendly. But what about the popular tourist destinations and local businesses? You don’t want to discover you can’t enjoy your holiday fully only after you get there. Call the cafés and pubs near your hotel to make sure you can enjoy a meal and a pint outside with your dog. You can also research nearby kennels or dog-sitting businesses in case you must leave your dog for a half or full day to visit a museum or other attraction.
5. If you are travelling in summer or to a country with a tropical or hot climate, be vigilant in protecting your dog from heatstroke. Always keep him well hydrated and offer him frequent opportunities to rest in the shade during long days spent sightseeing, walking on the beach, or hiking in the countryside. If you are renting a car during your travels, never leave your dog unattended in the automobile.
6. Compile a list of emergency veterinary hospitals and offices close to the locations you will be visiting in the unlikely event your dog is injured or becomes ill.
7. Transportation companies will have their own rules for pet travel. Check with the plane, train, or ferry company you are travelling with to find out the particulars. If you are travelling with a registered service animal, different regulations apply and you have legal rights.
8. Keep your dog’s schedule as routine as possible during the journey. You’ll lessen his anxiety by keeping his walks, bedtime, and playtime at familiar times. Having his favourite toys and a blanket that smells of home can also help in this regard. His diet should stay consistent to avoid stomach upset. Be sure you can get the same food where you are headed, or bring his food along.
9. Pack for your dog with safety and comfort in mind. Even though he has been microchipped, make sure your mobile number is securely attached to his collar. If he becomes separated from you when you are far from home, this is the surest way for anyone who finds your dog to reach you. Also, whilst your dog may cavort off the lead at home, he should always be connected to you by collar and lead when you are out of the hotel room in a foreign country.
Dog Travel Packing List:
● Collar and lead
● ID tags and contact information
● Pet passport
● Microchip information
● Any medication your dog needs
● Dog crate
● Dog bed
● Dog food
● Travel dog food and water bowls
● Dog toys and chew toys
● Dog blanket
● Dog food
● Dog treats
● Dog waste bags
Whilst you must jump through a few hoops, it doesn’t take much extra preparation to take your dog on holiday abroad. When you’ve done it once you, each subsequent trip will be a breeze. You’ll likely never want to take a trip without your four-legged jet setter at your side again.
(GOV.UK Bringing your pet dog, cat or ferret to the UK)
(APH Airport Parking & Hotels)