Ranger at the top of the Mont Blanc Tramway
With the ability now to easily take your dog on holiday to Europe with you, more and more of us are deciding to do just that. If you are considering it then these pointers may help.
Before going away
- Speak to your vet several months in advance to ensure your pet will be properly vaccinated in advance. My vet was great and researched the possible parasites for the area we were visiting and advised accordingly on what additional precautions to take.
- Rabies vaccination at least 3 weeks in advance of travelling – pet passport will be completed by your vet
- Consider how you are going to ‘manage’ your dog whilst away. – travel cage/car cage – can you lock it? If you’re camping then a stake is useful but check your dog is happy with this and won’t just bark if tied up.
- Tents get very hot so additional shade is advisable.
- Travelling – cage or car harness? Are you going via ferry – is it a long journey and are you going by day as I believe the hold area of ferries can get very hot. Tunnel – hugely efficient (if not subject to delays) your pet is with you the whole time and you remain with the vehicle
- Food – what do you feed, does it need to be kept cold and can you take sufficient with you for the whole trip.
- Identichip – are your details up to date
- Additional collar tags – mobile numbers of everyone going + the code if calling from within the country you’re staying in.
- Socialisation – is your dog used to being in restaurants etc. The Europeans are very relaxed about pets going most places but can your dog cope with this? Ranger went everywhere with us, numerous restaurants and cafes but he is very used to this in England (mostly pubs here!). He found the Mont Blanc Tramway and a Cable car up another mountain slightly scarier! If they’re not, start working on this. Your dog will be more relaxed and so will you.
- General training – sort out problems well in advance – socialisation around other dogs, pulling on the lead, constant attention seeking might just spoil your holiday. Get advice to deal with these well in advance.
- Plan your locations carefully if you think it will be hot. Can you be close to lakes and rivers? Your dog won’t necessarily be used to higher temperatures. Cool coats, plenty of water obviously, collapsible travel bowls, an air conditioned car etc all make a huge difference.
- Plan where you are going to do your vet visit before returning to the UK. A worming tablet has to be administered by the vet and the pet passport signed.
- I loved having Ranger with me but remember it will at times be limiting. You can’t generally leave your dog and probably won’t want to.
- The Europeans do take their dogs just about everywhere, they have a relaxed approach. One restaurant we went to, brought us a bowl of water and homemade dog biscuits before giving us a menu! Supermarkets were the one noticeable place we couldn’t take Ranger.
- We managed the heat carefully but on very hot days, he came first and there were a couple of things I decided not to join in with due to the heat.
- Ranger definitely didn’t get as much general exercise but he had so much mental stimulation he was definitely very tired at the end of every day.
- He travels very well, we managed with a car harness for travelling and a collapsible crate for use at night in the tent. A stake for him to be tied to during the day was also very useful.
- Instead of using a vet near Calais (has to be 24 hours prior to travelling) we used a vet in Interlaken. I was worried they might not have as much knowledge but they were brilliant and from what I understand cheaper than Calais. It allowed us to plan it around our schedule rather than planning the trip around the vet visit.
Retrieving sticks to cool down
After you’re back
- Keep any eye on your dog for health problems that might be delayed in showing
- Take veterinary advice on any additional medication required
- Remember if your dog has been with you 24/7 then separation anxiety in the adjustment period can happen. Manage this carefully to ensure you don’t reinforce it.
- Start planning the next trip!!