Documentation is KING when traveling with your pet, as each country requires proof upon entry. If you’re coming from the USA, head to your vet 7-10 days prior to your trip to have a full health exam (but be sure to schedule the appointment months ahead of time-I usually have a back up vet too). Your vet will have the proper paperwork once you let them know which country you’re going to.
After the exam, your vet will give you the paperwork that needs to be overnighted to the USDA for stamp approval. The USDA will send the paperwork back to you, stamped and ready to go. Just bring this with you on the plane and present it to the airline and any other personnel that may ask for it.
Heading to a country that requires quarantine for your pet is NOT advisable. We were required to quarantine Miesha for 10 days when we moved to Singapore for 2 years and I would not advise that anyone do that to their pet (if I could take it back I would). It’s best to steer clear of these countries with your pet or leave your pet at home. Some countries which require quarantine are: the UK, Ireland, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hawaii, Iceland, Fiji and Guam.
2. EUROPE-PET PASSPORT
If you’re planning to bounce around Europe with your pet, stop in to see a local vet to obtain an EU Pet Passport after you arrive in your first country. We got ours for Miesha in Amsterdam and she was not required to be there nor was an appointment required. We simply walked in, dropped off the paperwork we brought with us and in 20 minutes, the passport was done. The passport was super affordable as well, costing $7USD. Traveling around Europe with the EU Pet Passport makes everything easier.
Purchasing the right pet carrier is VITAL when traveling overseas. Be SURE to look up the airlines measurement requirements and purchase a LIGHT carrier, as you’ll be carrying it around a lot and weight limits are quite strict on airlines (so why have extra weight from a carrier). Ensure your pet has ample room to stand up and move around, as they’ll spend quite a bit of time in there. We purchased ours at PetSmart and couldn’t be happier. It’s called the Top Paw Basic Dog Carrier. It is super light weight, durable, and comes in three sizes (we have the Medium size for Miesha).
4. PLAN PLAN PLAN: PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES
You’ll need to plan ahead when traveling with your pet, as some airlines and buses do not permit dogs. For airlines, you’ll need to call ahead to ensure there is enough room on the flight for your pet, as airlines only permit a certain amount of pets in cabin. We highly recommend TAP Portugal for flying to Europe with a pet and United Airlines to Asia. In Europe, Vueling and Alitalia are great airlines as well. We’ve never had any trouble bringing Miesha on a train or subway, she is just required to be placed in her travel bag (large dogs need to be muzzled). Unfortunately, bus transport was the most difficult for Miesha to travel on (especially in Spain), as many companies do not permit dogs onboard (Flixbus being the biggest disappointment EVER). Be SURE to do your homework prior to buying tickets for anything.
5. JUST PACK THE ESSENTIALS
If you’ve traveled enough, you realize less is more. For Miesha, we just brought the basics: food, leash, poop bags, medications, one sweater, a few pee pads, nail clippers, and her favorite toy. We brought enough food for 7 days, which gave us ample time to find a store to purchase more food. You can find dog food in any grocery store and there are pet speciality stores in every major city, if your pet requires a special type of food. We simply use the bowls provided by our accommodation for food/water.
People always ask us what we do for Miesha when it comes to going to the bathroom on a plane, train or bus. Luckily, she’s a rock star and can literally hold her pee/poo for hours (she refuses to go anywhere except outside, we even tried on a 25 hours flight to Singapore with no luck). My best advice is to take your dog on a LONG walk prior to leaving for the airport/train/bus station and don’t feed your pet prior to traveling. Give your dog water, of course, but keep it at a basic level-enough to prevent dehydration and not too much so they have to go. On the transportation, give water only and bring a pee pad. I’ve laid pee pads down in airport bathrooms and even on plane bathroom floors (although Miesha refuses to go). You can practice with your dog prior to leaving for your trip. They make DryFur pads to place inside pet carriers to absorb any moisture if, by chance, your pet has an accident. As soon as we arrive at our destination, we dart immediately outside to let Miesha go prior to grabbing a taxi/train.
7. SIGHT SEEING
Although Europe is SUPER dog friendly and Miesha can go with us to just about every restaurant, cafe, etc., there are certain places in which she cannot enter (museums, grocery stores, gyms), so we’re occasionally forced to leave her at home for a few hours. I suggest planning ahead and hiring a dog sitter if you’re planning a full day trip ( I know amazing dog sitters in Amsterdam (Netherlands), Vienna (Austria) and Malaga (Spain) if you need one). Otherwise, break up the sights that you can’t do with your furry friend every day, so you won’t be gone too long. It’s hard enough leaving our dogs at home when we go away, but leaving them in a foreign place is even more traumatizing. Miesha has had terrible separation anxiety ever since being quarantined in Singapore, so turning on the TV or playing music really helps her when we leave.
Fortunately, dogs and cats are domesticated household pets all over the world, so finding a veterinarian anywhere is super easy. I like to scope out vets prior to landing in a new city, that way I know exactly where one is just in case of an emergency.
9. OTHER DOGS
I’ve found that both in the USA and abroad, it’s kind to introduce your dog to another dog passing on the street. Unfortunately, I probably look totally impolite because I NEVER allow other dogs to approach Miesha and sniff her/say hello. One, because she is super shy and usually just runs away and two, because you don’t know that person or their dog or the possible diseases it may carry. I also ALWAYS wash Miesha’s paws after taking her outside because the ground is just so dirty, you don’t know what you’re tracking inside.
10. HAVE FUN!!!
To me, there’s nothing better than traveling and, to travel with my fur baby makes it even better! Enjoy every moment!
Any other questions?! Feel free to comment below or send me an email! I’m always happy to help 🙂