Travels with My Dog

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Travels with My Dog

In America it is quite common to see dogs on planes. However, over in Europe it is seldom seen. Why is this the case? Is it because of the airlines or the passengers as to why we do not see our four legged friends on a plane?

People always want to take their animals wherever they may go and when people vacation in their own country they often take their dog with them but not to another country on a plane. 

The issue that UK travellers have with taking their dogs on planes is the fact that they cannot. Most British airlines do not allow dogs to travel with them and some do not even allow them to travel in the cargo hold let alone the cabin. British Airways, Flybe and Virgin Atlantic will allow dogs to travel in the cargo hold as long as they have a valid passport, they are microchipped and have had all the relevant vaccinations to allow them to travel.

However, companies such as EasyJet, Jet2 and Ryanair, which are more budget, do not even allow dogs to travel in the cargo hold. But it is important to note that all guidance and assistance dogs are allowed to travel in the cabin with their owner. 

In Europe, there is some leeway as companies like KLM and Lufthansa allow small dogs or cats in the cabin, provided they weigh less than 8 kilograms (about 17 lbs.) So when travelling across Europe, you should consider these airlines if your pet fits the criteria. 

So are there alternatives to air travel?

There are many alternatives to air travel but these can obviously take longer if you are deciding to take a different route. Many people like to travel throughout Europe with their dog and it can be a harder task than just flying. However, there are a couple of ways you can travel with your dog around the continent.

The first way is by car. If you have a dog that you put in the car already you will more than likely have a car set up for your pet which will mean they can have a comfortable travel situation whilst you venture around. This includes having the correct equipment for your journey which may include a specified car seat or a carrier to put them in.

It is important not to feed your dog two hours before a journey as this can lead to them feeling nauseous. It is also important to make sure that you are not driving for too long especially in hot weather. Make sure that you take plenty of breaks and allow your dog to have an abundance of fresh air before returning to your car for the rest of the journey.

Another way to travel is by bus. In many countries you are allowed to take your pet on board but there can be certain restrictions, so check before travelling. However, in most cases they require you have your dog in a secure seat or carrier so that there are no issues with other passengers.

This is a similar case with travelling by train and you must check restrictions either set out by the companies or by the country you are travelling in. Like being on a bus, you will have to make sure your dog is fully secure. Many companies can allow dogs on board but there might be an extra charge. 

What to consider even before travelling?

Before you travel with your pooch, it is wise to think if this is the best thing for you and your beloved pet. When wondering if this is the right way or not you must consider how well your dog travels and are they in the right medical condition to travel for long journeys. 

If you are unsure then you must seek the advice of your vet as they will be able to tell you about the condition of your dog. However, if the vet gives the all clear you have a few more boxes to tick before setting off with your pet. 

When taking your dog things have to be planned in advanced such as vaccinations from the vet, microchipping your dog, having plenty of extra essentials such as bowls, toys and food, making sure there is a vet nearby where you are staying and also ensuring you have insurance for your dog.

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which is administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is also an important scheme to consider as it protects you and your dog when on holiday. Look on the website for more details about meeting the criteria but essentially you have to be planning your trip in advance covering many different scenarios.

With Brexit on the horizon there are more restrictions, in areas such as new UK bookmakers, and procedures you have consider and carry out. Alongside microchipping and vaccinations, you will have to wait 3 months after the successful blood test before travelling and no more than 10 days before travel, go back to your vet to get an animal health certificate. In the event of a no deal Brexit, pet passports will no longer be valid to travel in the EU and you will have to get yourself another passport.

There is then a lot to consider when travelling with your pet. However, do not let it put you off and leave your pooch at home but in fact be prepared for all events and make sure you have done all the checks you are supposed to before travelling with your four legged friend.