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Taking your pets to Europe on holiday

People are often surprised to discover that neither of our dogs are British. Macy our larger dog was born in Canada and traveled to the UK via two years in Cyprus where we picked up Bella our Beagle. All EU countries and a large number from outside Europe are part of the pet passport scheme which means animals can now travel relatively freely between most parts of the world. Free of quarantine, but not free of cost, as when you ship them halfway across the globe it does come at a price!

Traveling within Europe though is cheaper and as both our pets were already microchipped and vaccinated we decided to take them to France last year on holiday, along with two other family Border Terriers.

dog on holiday in france

If you are thinking of taking your animals away with you trying to find the right information online can be tricky. Microchipping will become compulsory for all dog owners in England, Scotland and Wales from 6th April this year, removing one thing from the travel check list, but there are still a few other things you need to be aware of if you want your pet to join you on holiday.

  • There are no restrictions on dogs leaving the UK, they only apply when you re-enter from Europe, so although you will need to make sure you have their vaccinations up to date no one will actually check your paperwork as you leave.
  • Your pet must have been vaccinated against rabies and you must wait 21 days from the date of the vaccination before travelling
  • If you are traveling on a short ferry service or on Eurostar your pets will have to stay in the car for the journey, however if you are traveling on a longer crossing (such as  services from Portsmouth) you can book a pet-friendly cabin. When we did our trip we went from Dover To Calais and specifically chose Eurostar so that our dogs didn’t have to left in the car without us as they would if we had traveled on a hovercraft or P&O ferry.
  • Some pet insurance policies will cover the costs you incur if you lose your pet’s travel documentation and any resulting quarantine fees
  • Pets returning to the UK need to be treated for tapeworm between 24 hours and 5 days before travelling. When you get the vets to complete their paperwork ensure they include the time as well as the date that the procedure took place as documentation that isn’t time stamped won’t be accepted

treating for tapeworm while on holiday in france

  • Doing the pet passport bit at the port in France before the crossing can be time consuming. Assume that if you are traveling during peak periods and/or school holidays you will need to allow extra time to queue at the pet passport office. When we traveled in May there was literally a queue of people and animals out of the door and into the car park!
  • Unsurprisingly vets who are close to ports charge more for worming than ones elsewhere, so do your research and find one near to where you are staying
  • If you arrive at the port with incomplete or out of date paperwork you will need to start again which will involve a minimum delay of 24 hours and that’s assuming you can change your crossing!

If in doubt check the official UK government website for more information. This post has been made possible thanks to Petplan but all thoughts and experiences are our own.

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How to make a Canadian dog happy…

Whilst it’s a very springlike 17c at sea level in Cyprus, there was another fresh dump of snow in the Troodos last night, and one of our friends who works in the mountains did something he often does at this time of year, which is fill his truck with snow to bring down for the local kids!

A big mass of snow takes a surprising length of time to melt even at 17c (as we know well!) and whilst it stays frozen, the kids get to build snowmen and have snowball fights. Good cheap fun…

We met him as we were finishing our dog walk and instantly knew there was one member of our family who would be particularly excited to see the contents of his truck….

Truck full of snow 1DSC_0018

I think she’s going to love winters in Scotland….

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The dog with a special gift…

This is Oscar. He’s a rescue pointer cross who is staying with us this week while his owners are away.  He looks pretty innocent doesn’t he? But we found out today that Oscar has a dark secret. He can open doors…

This is Bella, she can’t open doors, but she likes to steal things and take them into the garden… 

….Alone they are harmless, together they are carnage.

Now before I start this story, I should say that there is a curse that stalks this blog. If I write a post about anything I particularly love, by the end of the week something awful will have happened to it. See here and here for the quilt story as evidence.

So anyway, we left for work this morning and as we normally do we shut the dogs in the kitchen with access to the outside. Any mischief they can get up to there is confined to painting works of art on the tiled floor with their muddy feet.

It was a quiet, non-eventful day at work. Then shortly after 2pm, I had a call from my neighbour Laura, who started the conversation with that slightly unnerving phrase “Don’t panic, but…”

It transpired that shortly before she called, she had looked out of her kitchen window and seen Oscar & Bella making off down the street. As she told me this I was desperately racking my brain trying to think of a way in which the dogs might have climbed a 6 foot wall or unlocked a padlocked steel gate, but there was it turns out a simpler explanation…

At some point today Oscar had impressed his new buddies by opening every single door in the downstairs of the house, allowing the three of them free access to the sitting room, sewing room and eventually front hallway.

From there he opened the front door and the two dogs (note Macy stayed in the house!) trotted off down the street.

They were eventually captured by Laura who returned them to the house which was, to quote her “covered in pieces of fabric and your camera is out in the garden”.

You can only begin to imagine what went on in my mind at this point… The beautifully stacked piles of fabric I had for my current quilting project, or (God forbid!) my stash of Amy Butler Full Moon, which is so lovely I can only look at it.

I drove home imaging all sorts of chaos. Jim fortunately beat me to the house and cleared a lot of it up and as with many things it could have been a lot worse…. It turns out the fabric that was all over the house was the contents of the rather tempting brown paper bag I keep on the table. The bag contains all the tiny scraps of fabric I have left over, which to be honest most people would bin.

The camera fared a little worse. Bella loves taking things into the garden for her little stash (apparently this is a rescue dog thing!?) and she particularly likes taking anything of mine. So our little beagle heaved a rather large SLR camera, with an even larger flash attached to it into the garden and plonked it down rather heavily on the patio…. which is why that wonderful lens I was raving about yesterday is no more…

(Oscar’s “just been told off” face)

I confess, I have cried a little at the sheer waste of its destruction, but I have also been productive and ordered another immediately, it wasn’t particularly expensive (in camera equipment terms!) and there is an outside chance the house insurance may cough up…. So onwards and upwards…

PS – Oscar has learned nothing from his experience and has already opened the front door again this afternoon. It is now locked!

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