Time to Travel

Summer holidays are coming! It’s time to dust off the suitcases, dig out the passports, book an emergency appointment at the waxing salon (TMI?) and get ready for The Big Summer Trip (henceforth referred to as the TBST). No work, no worries, and – fingers crossed – no sunburn.

Taking the Dog?

Increasingly, us dog-owners are choosing to take our pets on TBST with us. It does have an amazing appeal – feeding our buddies bits of cured sausage as we idle stylishly through the French market, taking the dog on a long run over the Tuscan hills at sunrise, teaching them a foreign language (if, like at NHHQ, the dog has a habit of ignoring you in English, perhaps there is a chance that he’ll be more obedient in Spanish!? “SIENTATE!”) sharing all the holiday joy with the beloved furry member of the family (not us, the dog – remember, we had the waxing appointment). But there are a number of practical factors which should be considered before committing to take the dog abroad with you on holiday. Yes, that’s right. We are going to get Very Sensible on you; just for a moment.

Top Tips for Dog Travel

First and foremost, does your pet like to travel? Are they comfortable going long distances? You really need to think carefully whether it is in their best interests to holiday abroad with you, or whether they would be happier and healthier staying at home, either with a trusted friend or in a kennels.

If they are good travellers and you do decide to holiday with the hound, there are some key factors to bear in mind. This advice is mainly concentrated on travel for dogs to continental Europe, other rules apply for most other countries. To make sure you are covered, and for more information, do go to the government website: https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad, and we also recommend a trip to the vet before leaving our shores to let them know your plans and seek relevant advice.

You need to comply with the EU Pet Travel Scheme rules to take your pet to Europe. Let’s not worry about Brexit just yet – let’s just focus on this summer right here in front of us! (Here at NHHQ Brexit is a taboo subject as our dog voted Remain and our cat voted Leave and there are still tensions.)

Under the scheme, your dog will need:

An EU pet passport
A microchip
A rabies vaccination
A tapeworm treatment

You must wait 21 days from the date of the rabies vaccination before travelling, and ensure that your dog is microchipped first or the jab won’t count. When the vet gives the dog the rabies jab, make sure the pet’s microchip number is recorded on the vaccination record.

Before coming home to the UK, your dog must have a tapeworm treatment. This should happen between one to five days (24 – 120hrs) prior to your scheduled arrival time back in Blighty.

You will also need to travel using an “authorised carrier” on an “approved route”. Check with your chosen carrier – most mainstream ferry companies are authorised. For air travel check with online listings (sadly, the two largest budget airlines do not currently allow dogs, unless guide dogs).

Ferries for furries

On ferries, do remember that your dog may have to stay in the car, or – for longer crossings – in a designated container area. So remember to bring water and food bowls for the car and plenty of your dog’s favourite food for comfort.

Train Travel for Fido

When travelling by train, check the rail company’s pet policy before you book. It is always a good idea to let any on-board staff know that you are travelling with an animal.

There are some widely accepted recommendations for ensuring your pet stays as well as possible on holiday and whilst travelling, which are endorsed by the RSPCA. You can read these here: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/holiday. The site also contains a hugely useful “Transporting your pet” factsheet. General rule of thumb is to be sensible and be thoughtful towards your pet and always treat them like one of your family: bear in mind the heat, never leave your dog in a car on a hot day, always leave the windows open etc.

It may well be a good idea to take a supply of your dog’s favourite foods with you to avoid a dog with an upset tum on holidays. Keeping a regular routine whilst away will help your dog settle into his hols, and make sure he is still getting all he needs nutritionally on your break. Why not take a look at Nature’s Harvest Grain Free Elite range which comes in 3 flavours Chicken, Salmon & Lamb all served with sweet potatoes. Find out more here..

We will leave you now and return to our wonderful daydreams of sauntering along the French Riviera with our canine companion, elegantly perusing the yachts whilst the French stop and marvel at the loveliness of both our outfit and our well-groomed, well-behaved pooch. Ahhh. Dreaming about holidays is the BEST part of holidays. Reality may not live up to expectation, but so much of the fun is in the build-up. Checklist: passport, suncream, sandals, wax appointment……