Taking Your Dog Abroad – A Guide To Getting Away From It All
We’d love to keep your furry friends here with us every single day, but we know that sometimes you might want to take them on their own adventures without us tagging along (we might not like it, but we understand all the same!) It’s getting cold in ol’ Blighty, so perhaps you’re looking for some Winter sun for your old dogs creaky bones or want an extra special Christmas with just you and your pup. This guide on Taking Your Dog Abroad will give you some quick tips on what procedures you need to put in place, and some helpful advice on kick-starting your adventure as soon as all four paws touch foreign soil!
A Guide To Taking Your Dog Abroad
Photo by @anne.geier.fotografie
Taking your pet to sunnier climates on the ferry has never been easier thanks to the PETS scheme. From Bahrain to Bulgaria and France to Fiji, scores of countries both in and out of the European Union have opted into the plan and will welcome you and your four-legged friend with open arms. It’s not as if you’re spoilt for choice on destinations, but if you can’t find your ideal location then you might just have to hop onto a Jet-Ski and sneak in around the back!
So, you’ve decided that you’re taking your dog abroad and they’ve hinted heavily that they would like to go to Italy (good choice; we hear that there’s lots of ‘Puppacino’ Ice Cream there!) Your first port of call should be your friendly neighbourhood vet!
A visit to the vet is never pleasant for any animal, but if you’re taking your dog abroad, then you need to make sure that they are fully inoculated and have the proper medicines before and after travel. Your vet will know exactly what your dog will and won’t need depending on the country or countries that you are visiting, but here are a few things to consider to give you an idea.
Microchips help identify your dog if they get lost, which might happen if they get a little bit curious in a new place with exciting smells and noises. It’s not visible, but it can still be scanned and located by any vet to help you get reunited with your animal. A Microchip has to be fitted before your little pup gets any of his or her other vaccinations.
Now that you’ve had your dog microchipped you can think about other treatments. The Rabies Vaccination is an excellent place to start as foreign countries do have rabid animals in built-up areas. If you’re heading into the mountains and out on trails, then you might not encounter as many, but either way, make sure to keep your furry friends on a lead and close by if you’re around other animals.
Tapeworm isn’t uncommon in dogs, which means that it can be treated quickly and inexpensively – you can even pack the tablets before taking your dog abroad! It’s a simple procedure that has to be carried out no less than 24 hours before checking in for your return trip. Pop a note of when you gave your dog the treatment inside their pet passport so that you have a record of it too. Some countries may also require your pet to have a blood test, but check with your vet for more information.
Photo by @anne.geier.fotografie
Wait…A Pet Passport?
That’s right; even your four-legged friends need a passport to travel (you need to decide which of their paws they’re going to use for their signature before you travel…only joking of course!) If you’re taking your dog abroad then they need documentation just like we do, and you need to make sure that it’s all up to date and correct before travelling in or out of the UK. A pet passport lets officials know that your pet has been microchipped, and it also shows what vaccinations they have had and when they were administered. Think of it as a portable medical record as well as a passport – pretty important right!
Where Can I Get My Pet Passport?
Most Veterinary centre’s in the UK will have a Local Veterinary Inspector or an ‘LVI’, but if they don’t then they should be able to advise you of the nearest one that can help you out with the necessary steps for taking your dog abroad. You can also get in contact with your local animal health office who should be able to point you in the right direction. Your vet will be able to help with any blood tests and vaccinations that need to be logged in the passport, and they can also give you your pet’s microchip number (it’s not something that you keep pinned to the fridge, so it’s handy that the vet has a record of it stowed away somewhere!) Unfortunately, your pet can’t board a flight to San Francisco on its own now that it has a passport; you’ll still need to be there for the ride to make sure that they get from A to B safe and sound.
Can I Take My Dog On The Ferry?
Yes, you can, and there are so many companies that are part of the PETs Scheme that you shouldn’t have any difficulty in making a booking for you and your dog. The only thing left for you to do is to sniff out the best deal, which shouldn’t be too hard if you get your pooch onto the task.
Remember the article that we did on how to keep your dog cool this summer? Well, a lot of these points still apply when you’re visiting warm country abroad, and they’ll certainly help you if you’re considering travelling on a ferry. Here are a few points to consider if you’re taking your pet on a long journey
Monitor their heat levels.
If your dog is panting or drooling more than usual then they could be too hot. Don’t leave them inside a hot car for any point of the journey to/from the ferry or onward in your new destination. Cars can quickly become ovens in the heat, and your pets aren’t designed to withstand such conditions.
Make sure that they have been exercised and have had a good drink.
If you’re driving somewhere and taking your pooch along for the ride then have plenty of stops along the way for a walk and some water. You don’t have to tire them out to the point of exhaustion, but a nice little run around will do them good so that they don’t feel restless. If you’re taking the ferry then make sure that they’ve had a good run before they get on board as they won’t get much exercise once the boat sets sail.
Pack a muzzle.
Some companies request that your dog wears a muzzle while aboard for safety reasons. While you know that your dog is mild mannered on dry land, they might feel a little more agitated in surroundings that they’re not used to (I know we do whenever we’re on a boat!). Complying with this safety precaution also lets staff that work on board the ferry feel safer and more in control of your pets, meaning that they’ll get the right treatment and will be in good hands from port to port.
Use sedatives as a last resort.
Taking your dog abroad is a great idea and hopefully, they’ll enjoy the crossing as much as you do. Only use sedatives as a last resort if your pet really doesn’t like being away from you or if the motion of the boat is making it feel nauseous or uncomfortable in any way. Speak to your vet for more information and advice.
Photo by Simon Bartle