Your dog is part of the family, so why leave him at home when you go on holiday? Travelling with dogs can require a little planning, but it doesn’t have to be expensive or stressful. However, there is a lot to remember when it comes to vaccinations, pet passports and ferry tickets, so it really does pay to be organised.
1. Get your dog microchipped
If your dog isn’t already microchipped, you’ll need to make an appointment with your vet for this. Expect to be charged anywhere from £10 to £40. You’ll only have to do this once, and it’s a good thing to have done regardless of whether you plan on going abroad. Getting your dog microchipped makes it easier for him to be returned to you if he ever gets lost.
2. Make sure you’re up-to-date with relevant vaccinations
Again, you’ll need to discuss this with the vet. They’ll be able to advise you as to which vaccinations are necessary. This shouldn’t cost more than £40, but it really depends on what your dog is already vaccinated against. Vaccinations last a while, so you may be able to skip this step next time you take your dog on holiday.
3. Get your vet to fill in the pet passport
This will cost about £60. The whole process might start to look like it’s getting expensive now, but it shouldn’t cost more than £250 in total — but this is more-or-less a one-off cost, and is still cheaper than putting your dog in kennels, or getting a petsitter every time you go abroad.
4. Have your dog treated for tapeworm
You need to take your dog back to the vet 24-120 hours before you plan to travel. They’ll treat him for tapeworm, and write this up in the pet passport. It’s vital that you get the timing right, so you’ll probably want to book your journey before completing this step!
5. Buy a ticket
Ferries usually charge anything up to £20 for pets brought onboard. For shorter ferry journeys, you can only bring your pet if you’re travelling in your vehicle. Your dog has to remain in your car for the duration of the crossing.
Of course, you’ll need to find out how long the journey is, and decide how to keep your dog calm and happy during this period. Make sure he’s been fed before you leave, give him some water and blankets, and leave him with a favourite toy or a treat. If the journey is six hours, and you know your dog can’t go that long without using the toilet, you may want to consider driving into Europe instead. You can normally shave a few hours off the journey by doing this — you’ll still need a valid pet passport, though!
Usually, ferries covering greater distances have kennels, and will charge extra for you to keep your dog there. Most on-board kennels have visiting hours, so you can check on your dog throughout the journey — and this should keep the both of you less anxious!