Top Tips For Foreign Holidays With Your Dog!
Holidays are a family affair! And for many of us that includes our dogs!
Taking them abroad does require thinking ahead and organisation but it can be an extremely rewarding and memorable experience for you all.
So I have teamed up with my friends at Eurocamp to bring you my top tips for travel!
🐶☀️ Where will you go?!
Technically the whole of Europe is your oyster but we do have to be practical about the distances and the time we spend on the road. Especially if it is your first trip away with your dog!
Around 70% of the Eurocamp range welcomes dogs and many of these are in France, so an easy driving distance for a holiday. In fact, their most popular park for dogs is La Croix du Vieux Pont, just 2 and a half hours drive from Calais.
🐶☀️ Make Sure They Are Microchipped, Rabies Vaccinated & Identifiable
All dogs travelling into Europe need a microchip that has been confirmed as working by your vet and must be vaccinated against Rabies a minimum of 21 days before you enter the EU, but ideally longer. How often the rabies needs to be repeated will depend on the country you are visiting, so it is important you check this and keep them up to date.
There are several different databases chips can be registered with. Make sure yours is one available 24/7 and accessible from abroad.
Also, in most EU countries your dog must wear a collar with your contact details on. It is also worth having a tag made with information about where you are staying while away, just in case you do lose them. Although many campsites and areas have rules that require dogs to be on the lead at all times.
🐶☀️ Passports Are Out – Animal Health Certificates Are In
Now we have left the EU, the passports that our dogs used to be able to travel on are no longer valid. In order to enter Europe a vet will need to issue you an Animal Health Certificate. These need to be completed no more than 10 days before you leave and are valid for 4 months of onward travel in the EU and return to the UK. You can only enter the EU once on each AHC
They are fairly complex and not all local vets will offer the service.
There are now a few clinics that have set up dedicated AHC services in port towns. You will need to contact them well in advance and ensure you have all the relevant requirements and paperwork but they can be convenient in that you drop in for a check-up on your way to leaving the country and they will issue the AHC there and then.
🐶☀️ Check the breed!
In some EU country, particularly France, dog breeds we know and love in the UK are considered dangerous and therefore banned or are under significant restrictions. This mainly applies to Rottweilers, Staffie types that could be considered Pitbulls, and Mastiff breeds.
They may be stopped from entering or you could be liable to fines when you are there, so it is very important to ensure your dog isn’t affected.
🐶☀️ Think about food!
It is now illegal to import meat or meat derivatives into the EU, which means you won’t be able to take your dog’s normal food, or treats, with you. The only circumstances where a dog diet would be allowed is if it is for medical purposes (confirmed by a lefter from your vet) and even then you are only allowed a maximum of 2kg, it must be commercially prepared and it not require refrigeration or freezing.
One option is to travel with a bag of vegan or vegetarian dog food to get you through the journey and then buy ordinary dog food as soon as you can. Many brands available in the UK are also on sale in Europe.
If your dog has a sensitive tummy and you are worried it could get upset on a new food, consider asking your vet for probiotics to support them through the change.
🐶☀️ Get Parasite Protected
You probably know about the requirement to visit a vet before you return to the UK to have your dog wormed against tapeworms but there are some serious diseases that are carried by insects like mosquitoes, sandflies and ticks in the EU, so it is very important your dog is continually protected while you are away.
The right treatment will vary depending on where in Europe you are going, so ask your vet for their advice.
🐶☀️ Packing their suitcase!
Your dog won’t need as many holiday outfits as you (!) but there will still be a fair bit to pack for them.
Remember their collar, lead and harness. Take their bed or at least a blanket that smells of home, as this should really help them to settle in a strange environment. Towels are also a good idea if they are water babies. If you have a white dog or one who is thinly haired, pet sunscreen is also a really good idea.
Things like food and water bowls are useful, as are favourite toys. I can also recommend a kong or lickimat. These can be brilliant at relaxing and distracting your dog both on the journey and while they settle in to their temporary new home.
And don’t forget poo bags!
If your dog takes regular medication it is sensible to have proof they have been prescribed by your vet. An invoice or prescription should be adequate but it is very important you check the individual rules of the country you are travelling to. Also, pay attention to any storage requirements the drugs have, many need to be kept at specific temperatures to be effective. This information should be included on the data sheet that comes with the packaging.
In the same vein, plan ahead to be sure you know what to do if your pet does need veterinary attention while you are away. Make a note of the local surgeries and check your pet or holiday insurance covers you for vets bills incurred abroad.
If your pet has on-going health issues, or any allergies or medication sensitives, it can be a good idea to ask your vet for a copy of their medical records to take with you (these can be easily emailed), just in case you do need to visit a local vet.
🐶☀️ Travel safely
Having your dog properly restrained in a car is not only a legal requirement, in an accident it could be lifesaving for both you and your pet.
Some dogs prefer to be on a seat with a seat belt and harness but others find being able to see out of the windows stressful and are much calmer in the boot.
However, if they do journey in the back of the car, pay attention to the temperature. On warm days it can rise pretty quickly, especially as often the air-con doesn’t reach there well in many vehicles. Cool mats, fans and regular breaks can be helpful but for some dogs and some cars, travelling for long journeys in the boot isn’t practical or safe.
Check that your car insurance covers you for long journeys with your pet abroad, some may have specific exclusions.`
Keep snacks and water on hand both for the journey and for breaks. Talking of which….
🐶☀️ Plan Your Journey
Regular breaks are vital when you are travelling with pets but how frequent they need to be very much depends on your dog.
Some will need a break every couple of hours, others will need to go longer. They may be napping at a time when you had planned to stop and you can decide to leave them but you will have to be ready to stop when they wake up!
So, knowing plenty of potential rest stops that are safe for your dog to get out and stretch their legs and being flexible is the key!
🐶☀️ Have a fabulous time!
Dogs are our family, so it makes sense to include them in our family holidays if we know they will have just as good a time as we will!
Simply plan ahead and pick a fabulously dog friendly destination and make some memories that will last forever!
(Just don’t forget the poo bags!)
To find out more about Eurocamp and their dog friendly holidays, click here; https://www.eurocamp.co.uk/holiday-types/eurocamps-best/dog-friendly-parcs
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