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How to travel with your pet, why owning a dog doesn’t have to stop you travelling

When you have a dog, travelling becomes slightly more complicated – but that doesn’t mean it’s not doable. You just have to do a little more research or put some extra planning in place before you set off. If you manage it succesfully, you’ll enjoy a holiday with the full family and stop having to worry about poor Rover back home.

When you first got a dog, you probably considered the extra expense involved. According to research on pet ownership by Voucherbox, costs such as vets’ bills, pet insurance, food and kennelling costs, as well as the initial price of a puppy, mean that an average lifetime cost of a dog in the UK is around £15,000. So a dog certainly does add to the household bills, but that hasn’t stopped half of British pet owners choosing to have a dog rather than less expensive pets such as a hamster or rabbit.

Wonton in his crate | pic: Jim Winstead

Of course, travelling when you have a dog pushes up your costs even more, whether or not Rover goes with you or is left in kennels. If he stays behind, kennelling costs could be anything from £20 – £40 a day, but then again dog-friendly accommodation is usually slightly more expensive than a hotel room or holiday apartment for human guests only.

Shipwrecked, Kaman at the beach | pic: Bill

Whether to take the dog with you really depends on where you’re going and what you’re going to do when you’re there. For instance, if you’re headed on a beach holiday, there’s no point the dog coming with you if he’s not allowed on the local beaches. However, if you’re heading for the hills and lots of country hiking, it might be a great place to take a four-legged friend along.

If you do decide to take your dog with you, check out the following tips to make your travelling easier.

Going On A Road Trip With Your Dog

So cute you wouldn't want to leave him at home | pic: Pixabay

When you embark on a road trip with your dog, make sure he or she is car-ready. The best option for many people is to have a travel crate that the dog can settle down in for the duration of the journey. The earlier you can crate train your puppy, the better. But before setting off on your next trip make sure your dog has had some practice runs in their travel crate, so that they feel comfortable and safe in it. Give them a favourite blanket or toy to travel with.

Make sure your dog fasts for several hours before a journey, so you won’t need to make extra pit stops, but keep a supply of water and their water bowl handy so that when you do stop for a break they can have a drink and not risk getting dehydrated.

Going Abroad With Your Dog

With the UK so conveniently close to continental Europe, it’s quite feasible to consider taking your dog with you, whether you take the ferry or go by plane. It just requires that little bit extra of planning and getting through some red tape.

Check out the rules and laws in the destination country and any other countries you’ll be travelling through, to ensure that your dog can not only travel safely, but also be allowed to return to the UK afterwards. Your vet will be able to advise you on this.

Make sure your dog is microchipped as this will be needed for identification. A rabies vaccination is a prerequisite for a dog that is being taken across EU country borders or returning to the UK. Dogs need to have had their rabies vaccination three weeks before travel, but you should have them microchipped before being vaccinated, so that the vet can record the unique microchip reference details along with vaccination details. The vet will then issue you with a pet passport which remains valid as long as the dog continues to meet UK entry requirements.

Passport control | pic: Steve Parker

Before you head home, you’ll need to take your dog to see a local vet, so that they can check them over, give them a tapeworm treatment and sign and date the pet passport. If your pet doesn’t meet any of the necessary requirements, they may not be allowed back into the UK without a spell of time in quarantine, so it’s worth checking and double-checking that you’ve done everything you need to and have all documentation in order.

Whether you take your dog with you on holiday or leave them at home in someone else’s care, you’ll need to think through your options and decide which one suits you, your family and your dog the best. After all, they’re part of the family, so perhaps it would be harder to leave them at home rather than dealing with the logistical inconveniences of taking them with you.

Some images here are licensed under Creative Commons 2.0: Creative Commons 2.0: Jim Winstead, Bill, Steve Parker

 

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