Travelling with a dog: How to plan your holiday with a dog

woman with dog on holiday
Miri Ilic

23 Aug Travelling with a dog: How to plan your holiday with a dog

This detailed article answers all questions about travelling with a dog, including a checklist of what to bring and which hotels accept dogs.

Can I take my dog travelling?

That depends on whether the dog likes to travel or not 😉 Some dogs like to drive, others suffer from travel sickness like humans. Hiking in the Alps may only be a nice experience for the master and mistress if the four-legged friend is already older or very chubby and not so fit. A dog with a very warm fur certainly doesn’t feel comfortable in the Mediterranean at the height of summer. On top of that, in some countries there are local rules in addition to the normal entry requirements (e.g. muzzle requirement) that the dog might not be able to cope with. Last but not least, there are also diseases and parasites in other countries that can be dangerous for the animal. With the right choice of destination and preparation, nothing stands in the way of a relaxed holiday that pleases both humans and animals.

Travelling with a dog – what to consider?

  • You should consider the following aspects before going on holiday with your dog:
  • Travelling abroad: What are the legal entry requirements for dogs in the desired holiday destination?
  • Are there any special regional regulations, e.g. compulsory leashing, compulsory muzzling, prohibition of dogs on the beach…?
    Have I chosen a good time to travel so that the dog also feels comfortable in terms of the weather? Can I organise the trip so that he can cope better?
  • How can I make the journey dog-friendly? Is driving a car with a dog a good idea?
    Do my planned activities on site suit my pet’s needs? What do I do if I have to leave the dog alone because I can’t take him to the museum/amusement park…? Does the dog need a break more often, but I want to go through with my programme? You should also take this into consideration.
  • Have I chosen accommodation that is suitable for dogs? Do I have to pay a surcharge and what does it include (bowl, food…?)?
    Can I take my dog to the lake/beach at my holiday destination? Find out about dog beaches in advance.
  • How do I make sure I can find the dog again if it runs away? A dog tag with a mobile phone number engraved or embroidered on the collar makes it easier for the finder to identify the dog.

Is my dog a good travel dog?

hund mit sonnenbrille

  • the perfect travel dog is small enough that you can carry him and he fits in everywhere when he needs to (means of transport)
  • the perfect travel dog is a female. Marking male dogs don’t have friends everywhere 😉
  • the perfect travel dog is uncomplicated and has a calm nature. If your dog is very anxious, travelling with a dog will be torture. Not everyone likes a rampaging dog that jumps on everyone.
  • the perfect travel dog is a Mexican hairless dog. Joking aside: a dog with long and thick fur sheds a lot of hair and causes you problems when travelling – in the hotel, in the rental car, when it is wet…
  • the perfect travel dog is healthy. If your dog has chronic illnesses, there may not be the right care in the destination country or it will be very expensive.

Pet travel to Europe after Brexit

The Pet Travel Scheme allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets to travel between and into EU Member States (including Northern Island) if they meet certain conditions. No quarantine will be applied.

The EU Pet Travel Scheme will no longer apply to Great Britain from 1 January 2021. Pets from Great Britain to an EU country or Northern Ireland will no longer be valid for travel on EU pet passports from January 1, 2021. You will need to obtain a EU animal health certificate, also for service animals.

EU animal health certificate

The EU Animal Health Certificate is an official document that proves your pet has been vaccinated against rabies and other diseases such as a tapeworm treatment. It’s required for travel to the European Union. The certificate must be valid at least 30 days before you leave home. You can get it from any vet or by visiting https://www.vetcert.eu/. An EU animal health certificate is required only if your pet travels from a non-EU country to an EU country. The certificate must be obtained at least 10 days before departure.

Travelling with a dog in Europe: What is required for a dog to travel

  • EU pet passport for travel within EU countries: it lists all vaccinations. Depending on the country, more than just the standard vaccinations may be required, e.g. proof of rabies antibodies through a blood sample.
  • EU animal health certificate: for travel from third countries to EU countries.
    Microchip or tattoo: the number of the microchip is listed in the pet passport.
  • Regional regulations: Even if you are travelling within the EU, individual regulations may vary regionally or locally. This can range from a ban on entry for certain breeds of dog (“listed dogs”), to a muzzle and leash requirement (e.g. Italy), to a ban in national parks.
  • Re-entry to the EU from a non-EU country: If you are entering the EU with your dog from a non-EU country, you must find out beforehand whether certain conditions are attached to it, e.g. a certain vaccination, because there are diseases in the holiday country that should not be brought into the EU.

What vaccinations does a dog need in the EU?

That depends on the entry requirements in the country of destination. In the Mediterranean region, there are diseases such as leishmaniasis, erlichiosis, heartworms and babesiosis. Additional vaccinations, medicines and remedies against ticks and sand flies make sense. It is always a good idea to check with your vet before travelling abroad.

Attention: For rabies vaccination, at least 21 days must elapse between vaccination and entry into another country. Other measures, such as treatment against fox tapeworm, may only have been taken a few days ago for entry into certain countries. Regulations are constantly changing, so no countries are listed here.

Where is the best place to take your dog on holiday?

Hund an leine am strand

Germany and Austria are particularly good destinations, but also Italy and Croatia, which are easily accessible by car from Central Europe. Outside the hot periods, there is a lot to experience in nature for man and dog.

Is it cruel to travel with a dog?

frierender hund

In some countries, dogs have to be quarantined on entry. In others, depending on the breed, they are not allowed to move freely, or only under strict conditions. In addition, your four-legged friend may not be the type to travel and may be stressed by unfamiliar situations and being on the road. In these cases, it is better to leave your dog with someone you trust or put him up in a kennel, otherwise travelling with a dog is simply not a holiday – neither for you nor for your furry companion.

What should I take with me when travelling with a dog? Checklist

hund auf reisen zubehör

Official travel documents: For every trip abroad you need at least the EU pet passport, the necessary vaccinations and, depending on the destination, other documents.

These items belong in your dog’s first-aid kit:

  • Disinfectant and sterile saline solution, also for wounds.
  • Wound ointment
  • Anti-diarrhoea medication and electrolyte solution
  • Remedies against nausea
  • Remedies for cleaning the ears
  • Tick forceps and tweezers
  • preventive spot-on medication against parasites
  • Sunscreen for short-haired dogs
  • Compresses, bandages and scissors
  • List of vets or veterinary clinics at your holiday destination
  • possibly special dietary food, food supplements
  • Individual medication required for the dog in sufficient quantities (not everything is always available locally)

Bowls and water: Your accommodation may provide bowls, but you should not rely on them. It is better to bring your own bowls for water and food and to pack water for the journey.

Dog food: You know your dog and what he eats. Pack enough dry or canned food. If your dog is not keen on a particular type, you can buy food locally. Of course, dogs like treats on holiday too. Bear in mind that your dog may eat more than usual because you are more active. Small tins are more practical than large ones, and the rest can go in the fridge (with a plastic lid). If you feed your dog raw meat, it will be more difficult.

Travelling with dog in car: tips

Blanket and towels: If the dog is dirty or wet, you will be glad to have these things handy in the car.

Safety: When travelling by car with a dog, your four-legged friend should be secured in the car with a seat belt, a box or a grid/net.

Destination: If you sometimes have to leave your dog in the car, you should choose a cooler destination.

Travelling with a dog on a plane

Air travel is particularly stressful for your dog, especially if he has to travel in the hold. Think carefully about whether you want to put your dog through the stress!

Documents: Find out beforehand which travel regulations apply to the destination country and the airline.

Transport box or carrier: If the dog is small and fits in a bag under the seat, choose a special transport bag with ventilation. If the dog is not allowed in the cabin or is very large or heavy, it must be placed in a transport box in the hold. Make the transport box as comfortable as possible (blanket, distraction…) and ask if the cargo hold is heated. You may want to check with the vet beforehand if and what calming medication might be useful.

Taking your dog on the bus, train and ferry

Train: Depending on the train company, the dog may travel free of charge in a bag or must have its own ticket, e.g. at the children’s rate. The websites of the railway companies provide information about this.

Coach: Long-distance coach companies such as Flixbus generally do not transport animals. Locally abroad, the spectrum ranges from “free of charge” to “prohibited” or “only with muzzle” for travelling with dogs in the coach.

Ferry: Ferry companies handle the transport of dogs very differently. From free movement on board, but with a muzzle, to “locking away” the dog in the car or a cabin, everything is possible. The websites of the ferry companies provide up-to-date information. In Croatia, for example, dogs are allowed on board the ferries to the islands.

Are dogs allowed in hotels?

Hund im körbchen hotelzimmer

In some yes. In any case, the dog must be specified when booking because there is usually an extra charge for the dog. Often there are only a few rooms for travellers with pets so that there are not too many dogs in the hotel. Cleaning the room (dog hair!) is also more time-consuming than usual. Often dogs are only allowed on the outside terrace in the restaurant and not inside.

Great options for dog-friendly hotels

Miri Ilic
Miri Ilic

Mit ihrer Lache holt sie jeden aus dem Büroschlaf! Wenn sie kein Geld verdienen müsste, würde sie nur in der Weltgeschichte herumtouren. Sie liebt gutes Essen, Hängematten und kitschige Sonnenuntergänge.

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