I love to travel, and I love bringing my dog, Chloe The Mini Frenchie, with me.
Experiencing new cities together, and knowing that she's safe, makes for a much more enjoyable adventure.
Prior to this past summer, Chloe and I traveled around the US and Canada together frequently. This summer, however, we took things one step further, flying to Europe and learning a lot about traveling internationally with a dog along the way.
By following these tips and tricks you too can travel stress-free internationally with your furry best friend:
When planning your trip, make sure to check the rules for the specific countries you want to visit.
Rules and vaccine requirements for entering a country with a dog vary by country. For example, Iceland and the UK have more stringent rules and requirements than France and Italy. The UK also charges a hefty 330 Pound fee to bring your dog into the country.
Pro tip: If your flight has a connection, you have to comply with the rules of the stopover country as well as those of your final destination.
Pet restrictions, such as dog weight limits, also vary by airline. Don't assume the rules will be the same for your next flight as they were for your last.
Rules also vary depending on the country in which the airline is based. For example, when we planned our trip to London, we originally planned to fly Virgin Atlantic, but because Virgin Atlantic is a UK-based carrier we switched to Delta, a US-based carrier, in order to have Chloe fly in the cabin with us. With few exceptions, UK-based carriers do not allow dogs to fly in the cabin.
Pro tip: If the flight you book is serviced by a different airline, the rules for the other airline will apply, so be sure to check.
Some "dog friendly" hotels are friendlier than others. Some offer dog walking services and special room service menus, while others charge nightly pet fees and may not allow you to leave the dog in the room alone.
Check how the hotel you're planning on staying at defines "dog friendly" before booking so you know what to expect.
Also, check with the hotel for any dog weight limits. Not all dog friendly hotels welcome all dogs.
Dogs travel best when they feel comfortable and safe.
A good way to prepare your dog for traveling is to acquaint them with the carrier they'll be using on the trip well in advance of the actual trip. Leave it out, let them hang out in it, and if feasible, take a short day trip or just walk around the city with them in the carrier.
Having them feel comfortable in the carrier when traveling will make a world of difference. I also throw one of Chloe's favorite toys in her travel bag to help her feel at home.
Keep some of your dog's food in your carry-on in case there are delays in getting your checked luggage. Similarly, pack a little extra food in case you have any unexpected delays returning home.
Plan for weather. Europe in the summer can be hot, so we packed a cooling vest for Chloe that both reflects the heat and keeps her body cool. Frenchies, in particular, are sensitive to temperature so we also packed a sweater for her to wear on the plane in case it got too cold.
By doing your pre-trip homework, and following the above tips and tricks, you'll have a wonderful international vacation with your furry best friend!