Traveling With a Dog: Everything You Need to Know

Ed Maughan
Ed Maughan

Going on holiday is something we look forward to all year round, but when you have a dog(s) to think about, planning a trip away can quickly get complicated. We have compiled some need-to-know information on how to travel with your dog to ensure you both enjoy your time away together.

The aim of this guide is to provide you with the best practices for a stress free, safe and enjoyable journey.

The best way to transport your dog

It’s important to make sure that your dog has a valid (DEFRA approved) pet passport, this must be obtained at least 21 days prior to the date of travel. Otherwise you must have a third country certificate (if you don’t have a valid pet passport) to travel to the UK from a listed or non listed country. The purpose of these documents is to show the various treatments and vaccinations that your pet has had, as well as proof of microchipping, to ensure they comply with The EU Pet Travel Scheme.

Different parts of the world have different requirements and restrictions when it comes to accepting animals across their borders. It’s a good idea to make sure your dog meets all the necessary requirements, whether you are intending to remain in the UK, traveling to Europe or internationally:

  • Tapeworm treatment
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Blood tests (if traveling from a non listed country)
  • Microchip
  • A letter from your vet validating that your pet is in good health and up to date with vaccinations
  • A muzzle (if you are traveling by ferry, some providers state this as compulsory)
  • Checked if the country you are intending to travel to has any regulations for specific breeds
  • Locate a local vet at your intended destination. Your dog must be treated for tapeworm no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours prior to the scheduled time of reentry to the UK.

Failure to meet all the necessary requirements could result in your dog being placed in quarantine.

Traveling with a dog in a car

If you’re planning a trip that requires you to drive long distances, then making sure the journey and the environment are as comfortable as possible, for both you and your dog, should be a top priority. See the checklist below for some options to consider:

  • Bring toys, blankets and anything else that smells like home, this will be a huge comfort and will help them to relax.
  • Using a pheromone spray or wipes can also help to calm your dog if they suffer from nervousness or anxiety.
  • Ensure you have the necessary medicine if your dog is prone to motion sickness.
  • Using a dog crate when traveling is a great idea. It’s a safer option for you and your dog as you will be able to focus on the road.
  • If you don’t want to put your dog in a crate, consider using a dog travel harness, which is secured to a seat belt.
  • Going on a long walk prior to your journey will help to tire your dog.
  • Leaving dogs in hot cars, even with the windows slightly open, can cause dehydration. Heat is amplified inside a car, so always have water available.
  • Don’t feed your dog a huge meal before getting into the car, and give them only light snacks (if needed) when you stop.
  • Don’t forget to pack your dog’s food, you might not be able to get hold of the same brand when you’re away.

Traveling with dogs on planes

Each airline will have their own procedures, so make sure to inquire before you book anything. Below are some basic airline requirements:

  • A valid pet passport
  • Reservations for your dog are on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure there is space before you book your own seat
  • Check the size of your dog travel crate, different airlines will have different requirements
  • Don’t give your dog a big meal or lots of water before the flight as this can cause discomfort and/or sickness as they cannot go to the bathroom once in flight
  • Medicating your dog for the duration of a long haul flight is an option, but talk to your vet before making any decisions

Where to stay with your dog

Finding the right accommodation for you and your dog doesn’t have to be a challenge, however, each holiday rental property will have a different set of rules and regulations. Do your homework before booking anything. After a long journey, the last thing you will want to hear is ‘we don’t accept dogs’ when you have a Great Dane, Cockapoo and a Labrador in tow.

First of all, check that the property you are looking at doesn’t have any kind of restrictions on dogs. Some properties do accept dogs, but only if they are small and quiet. So if you have a big dog that likes to bark at night, it might be a good idea to look for something else. Introduce yourself, and your dog, to the owners. Getting to know them is the best way to settle in and find out where the best dog friendly places are: the long walks, sandy beaches, restaurants, and shops.

Remember to pick up after your dog, you don’t want to upset the neighbours!

Dog Friendly Stays

Looking for dog friendly accommodation? Browse our stays below.

Things to do with your dog whilst you’re away

When you arrive at your destination, drop off all the bags and take your dog on a long walk. This will help them to relax and acclimatise. Maintaining a routine in your new surroundings is just as important as it is as home. Some dogs can adapt quickly, but others can take a little more time. Place familiar toys and blankets around the holiday home, and if they are showing signs of distress, using a pheromone plug-in will really help to calm them down.

Having an itinerary of things to do with dog-friendly activities is important, so doing some research into the local area is a must. Things to look out for are whether there are any dog-friendly beaches nearby, designated dog walking sites, hikes or parks in the area, and if the local restaurants accept dogs.

Another top tip is to find out whether there are any local dog walking groups you can join, this is a great way to socialise your dog and show them that their new surroundings are just as good as home!

Keeping your dog safe whilst travelling

If you’re travelling overseas, remember that traffic will likely be flowing in the other direction. Be vigilant letting your dog off the lead, you don’t know if there are any holes in fences around the park that your dog could escape through, or there might be a cliff edge where you least expect it. Another factor to be wary of is other animals, wild or domestic who aren’t as friendly as yours, this is why it’s so important to vaccinate your dog against rabies.

If you would like further information on anything mentioned in this article, check the .gov website for official information on taking your pet abroad.

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