Covid restrictions and travel limitations or logistical issues due to Covid during 2020 meant that many of us who spend the year counting down the days to our next foreign holiday were not able to get away outside of the UK at all this year.
Many of us have decided to look to 2021 instead and are already planning ahead with great anticipation for where to go and what to see next year as a result; and depending on what type of holiday you enjoy and where you go, you might be thinking about the possibility of taking your dog abroad with you as well.
This is a big decision; especially if it is the first time you’ve take your dog on a holiday outside of the UK at all. Coupled with 2021 being the first year we’ll be travelling abroad as non-EU member residents too, there is a lot to think about here.
With this in mind, this article will outline ten things you need to think about before you decide to book a holiday abroad with your dog in 2021. Read on to learn more.
Obviously if you were heading somewhere where the weather is known for being tropical, you wouldn’t take your dog; and a lot of mainland Europe during summer will be too hot for most.
Some countries might seem like a reasonably safe bet, as well as easy to get to, like France; however, from the middle of France downwards can be baking hot in the warmer months of the year, and many dogs (including those with very thick coats like the German shepherd and flat-faced breeds like the French bulldog – even though they originally hail from France) may be better off left in the UK.
The pet passport scheme and what is required for dogs going to and from the UK and the EU will change in 2021 after the transition period ends, and even now at this late stage, we can’t be sure how that will look for different countries.
Are you sure that the time you’re booking your holiday for will give you enough time to identify and be sure you can meet the new requirements to transit your dog legally across borders?
The rules for different countries might require rabies vaccinations, blood tests, other injections and more, and the rules for bringing your dog back to the UK can be quite onerous too. Have you looked into this, and can you meet the requirements to get your dog across the channel in the first place and vitally, to bring them back into the UK too?
Depending on where you go, there might be contagious canine diseases at your destination that we don’t face in the UK. Rabies is the most obvious one, which is vaccinated against before your dog goes; but there may be other contagious diseases prevalent in other canine populations, which your dog won’t have any immunity to.
Another thing to think about carefully is if there are likely to be street dogs or wild dogs at your destination, which there are in many parts of mainland Europe, often in large numbers.
This can cause big problems for a wide range of reasons, so learn if you’re likely to face issues before you go, not when you get there.
Veterinary care is offered in every country of the world, although it can be vastly different to the UK, and harder to access.
Find out what veterinary provision looks like at your destination, find out if there is a vet close by, and ensure you take your dog’s UK veterinary records, translated if necessary; and find out if the clinic you would go to has someone who speaks English if you are not fluent in the local lingo or cannot get help from someone who is.
Before you go abroad with your dog, you need to find out if the place you plan to stay is ok with accommodating your dog; even if you’ll be taking your own caravan, not all parks allow dogs; and if the wider area or resort is dog-friendly too.
Check local rules carefully, like rules for dogs on beaches or in parks, before you plan on your dog joining you.
Going anywhere outside of the mainland UK (even to Ireland!) means a fair trip; can you make it fun for your dog, and will they enjoy the journey, or cope with it fairly well? Whether you’re flying, getting the train to mainland Europe, or driving and taking ferries, think how the journey will work for your dog.
What do you want to do when you’re on holiday, and can your dog join in? Can you get help caring for them if you need to leave them alone, or are they going to cramp your style and limit your options? Find out first, once again!
Finally, the abstract idea of taking your dog on holiday is nice, but the reality can be quite different. Do you think your dog would go with you if they had the choice? Will both of you really have a good time? It is important to be realistic about this and weigh up the pros and cons and make a sensible decision for both your dog and the rest of the family too.