How to travel, and holiday, with your dog in Europe
These days, more and more people are taking their dogs along with them on holiday, or travelling, in Europe. We are some of those people, and since starting our Travel Adventure so many people have contacted us asking for advice on how to travel, and holiday, with your dog in Europe.
When we were preparing for our own trip we spent so much time googling, researching and writing lists upon lists of things we needed to know and do on how to travel, and holiday, with your dog in Europe. So we get it. It’s completely daunting and like ourselves, most people don’t know where to start, or if its even possible to take your dog on holiday with you.
*Spoiler Alert* It is. And it’s actually quite a simple process when you know how.
So here it is, our step by step guide of everything you need to know on how to travel, and holiday, with your dog in Europe; from passports, to safety, to keeping your fur-baby amused en route, and where to get it all.
We travel by motorhome, so that’s where most of our experience comes from. Nowadays there are options to fly and travel by ferry with your pets; a quick google search will bring up a list of options for you, should you need it.
So where do you start……….
From 6 April 2016, it has been compulsory ( in the UK ) for owners to ensure their dog is microchipped. You must get your pet microchipped before, or at the same time as, their rabies vaccination. If you don’t, they’ll need to be vaccinated again.
If your dog isn’t yet microchipped, then this has to be the first thing on your list.
You don’t need to have your pet microchipped if it’s been tattooed with an identification number on or before 3 July 2011, if the tattoo is clearly legible, and your pet was vaccinated against rabies after it was tattooed. Your vet must record the date of tattooing, the tattoo number and the date of the rabies vaccination in the Pet Passport.
Pet Passport and Rabies Vaccination
You must get your dog vaccinated against rabies before it can travel, and this must be administered at least 21 days before your planned departure date.
We contacted our local vet to confirm if they could issue a Pet Passport, and from there it was pretty straight forward. Your Vet will apply for, and fill out, the passport with your dog’s information and vaccination history etc. They will also administer the rabies vaccination (and microchip if needed).
Prices will vary depending on each vet’s fees, but we paid £120 for passport plus rabies vaccination, per dog.
You’ll need to take your pet, its identity and vaccination records and any rabies blood test results (if you have them) when you get a pet passport. And your dog must be at least 12 weeks old.
Health and Safety
Depending on the breed of your dog, and which European country you are travelling to, will determine your dog’s health and safety requirements. We have a Pug and a Border Collie, so their needs are vastly different, hence we have a LOT of doggy items packed in the motorhome.
Here are a few suggestions of things to pack –
Pet First Aid Kit
This Pet First Aid Kit is ideal for pet emergencies and minor injuries. We just recently had to dig our’s out after Angus cut one of his pads on his front paw.
We have a Pug, Poppy, who really quickly will overheat in the hot weather. When we were in Spain, France and Portugal, she rarely had her cool jacket off and it made such a difference for her comfort. It’s really easy to store as it folds away into almost nothing and keeps cool for a long time. Just wet with cold water as and when your pooch needs it.
You can also get cool mats for your dog. These cool as your dog sits on them, ideal if they aren’t keen on wearing a jacket.
Or how about this trendy chill-out bandana.
We travel by motorhome so our dogs either lay on the floor when we travel or are asleep on the couch. If you are travelling by car with your dog though, you may want to consider a safety harness, like this RAC one. Your dog can then be safely and comfortably belted into a seat, keeping them safe, and stopping them from jumping from seat to seat. (Surely it’s not just my two who act like that in a car?!!)
Out and About
Since starting our European travel, our dogs are out and about far more than they ever were back home. Here’s a couple of essential items we have packed with us to make days out less stressful.
Travel Water Bowl
We take these travel water bowls with us everywhere we go. Small enough to easily fit in a bag, just pop up and fill with water as and when your dog needs a drink.
These are ideal for drying off your dog after a day well spent at the beach, the lake, or traipsing through the woods. I will literally try anything that helps reduce the smell of wet dog, and these microfibre towels get them dryer quicker. They wash up great too, and saves me using my ‘good’ towels on the dogs. (Could i sound more like a mother with that last sentence?!?).
Keeping Them Amused
On long (and short) drives, Poppy will sleep the whole way. Angus, our Border Collie, is high-energy and only 10 months old, so keeping him amused is a whole other issue. FINALLY, we bought him a Kong. And its been a god-send. They are a bit pricey, but they are built to last (even a teething puppy hasn’t been able to break it) and will keep him amused for hours when stuffed full of his favourite treats and food. Weve also frozen food in it, which makes it harder for him to get it out, and keeps him cooled off too in the hotter weather.
As they say, all good things must come to an end. And so, when its time to come home there’s one last thing you need to do before your dog will be allowed back into the UK.
Between 1 and 5 days prior to returning to the UK, a vet must treat your dog for tapeworm and record it in their Pet Passport. The tapeworm treatment must be administered within these timescales, no less and no more. Your dog can be refused entry or put into quarantine if you don’t follow this rule.
Its worth mentioning, at this point, we’ve been to two different vet practices since we started travelling, and all we did was a simple google search for ‘vets near me‘. Both times we have been treated straight away, as walk in appointments, and there’s usually always someone who can speak english well enough to understand what we needed help with.
So I hope my guide on how to travel, and holiday, with your dog in Europe has been useful, helpful, informative? But mostly I hope it has inspired, and given someone the confidence to take that holiday with their dog. I hope so.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!