Travelling With A Dog
Travelling with your dog is not difficult, and it's mostly rewarding. But there a few things you need to consider if you use public transport for your travels, as we do with Chelsea.
You can take to two dogs for free on trains in UK, but they must be kept on a lead or in a carrier and must not take up a passenger seat. If they do, then you’ll have to buy them a ticket! If you are planning to travel on the continent, dogs can be charged a few euros in some countries. For our travel to mainland Europe we have used a website called Loco2 to book train tickets. It's very user friendly, allows ticket purchases to be made in Euros, US dollars or GPB. Tickets are emailed to you to be printed.
We have discovered the situation with buses is a little less clear-cut than it is with trains, and you’ll need to check with the individual bus operator to see what their rules are around taking your dog with you. However, in general you should be fine as long as your dog is on a lead or in a carrier and doesn’t take up a passenger seat, although some bus companies may make a charge for a dog ticket.
Transport for London (TfL) allows dogs to travel on the Tube, but you must carry them on the escalator to prevent damage to their paws. Guide and assistance dogs are exempt from this requirement as long as they have been issued with a pass that shows they have been trained to use them. If you can’t carry your dog then you can search online for Tube stations that have stairs instead by opening the ‘Access options’ section of the search dialogue and ticking the ‘Use stairs, not escalators’ box. Guide and assistance dogs travel for free on all public transport, but you may be advised where to sit.
On the rare occasions we've had to use a taxi, we have found that taxi companies in UK are happy to take a dog, as long as they sit on the floor. We usually book a taxi in advance and ask if they are happy to take a dog. So far we've had no problem. Regardless of your country, we suggest you call the local taxi cab company to ensure they will take dogs. Many will.
Ferry crossing can also be a bit of a minefield for the dog owner who wants to take their pet with them. Aside from the pet passport requirements that you’ll need to abide by if you’re taking them abroad, you’ll normally be allowed to take your dog on-board, although there will normally be a charge.You should seek the advice of the appropriate ferry operator before travelling. We have booked an overnight crossing, with a cabin, from Harwich to Hook of Holland with Stena Line. Chelsea will have her own kennel that we will be able to visit at any time.
Packing for a trip with your dog requires a few necessary items – this is what we make sure we pack for Chelsea. She is very happy for us to carry it for her, including any toys she has decided will make the journey with her! We usually plan for travel food plus 2 full days of food, which gives us enough time to find the correct food for her once we arrive, and she doesn't do without. A brush UK here/US here is always in order and we travel with this brush; it is compact, light, and does the job. We believe in good oral hygiene and so Chelsea gets a tooth brushing every morning. We carry enough toothpaste UK here/US here for a few months, just like ourselves and this toothbrush UK here/US here. We eat snacks, she eats snacks, especially on long journeys, so we always carry a bag of treat for her, varietal depending on where we are and what we can get our hands on. Her collapsible water bowl and food with hook for day pack. We like these bowls UK here/US here for travel. So does Chelsea.
There are requirements for every country and you would do wise to research before traveling. They have no problem turning you away for failing to know their rules and regulations. In general though, you can count on needing the following:
- a passport for the country(ies) you will be entering (yes, for the dog, not you- you'll need your own)
- shot records, especially rabies vaccinations (countries like Great Britain, Norway, Ireland, Australia, and others are rabies free, and they like to keep it that way)
- a microchip and recorded microchip number that is acceptable is that country
- a muzzle for transport where required
The bottom line on travel with a dog is this: it's so rewarding and we can't imagine ever taking on an adventure, large or small, without Chelsea by our sides. However, a little fore planning is essential, required when going internationally to ensure you and your pet arrive safely and in good spirits!