After a year on the road travelling with our two collies we have a fair idea of what it is like. Some countries are dog lovers, others not so much. Travelling with dogs can be rewarding and challenging. Our two love it, its like a massive adventure, somewhere new to see and smell. They love to swim and have taken swims in many oceans and lakes. Climbed many mountains and been the centre of attention to many other tourists. We have said many times that if we charged for photos with our dogs we would be rich by now.
Things you definitely need when travelling with your dog in Europe
- Pet passport, required to leave and enter the UK with your dog. Rabies vaccination is needed for this. All available from your vet. Allow adequate time for this to be processed. Also check that all the information is correct after the vet has filled this out.
- Worming treatment on return to the UK. It must be administered by a vet up to 5 days before your return. We have found a fab english speaking vet in Burgues France. It’s close to an aire and for our dogs cost €28 for both of them. Using our own Drontal tablets, she administers the treatment and fills in the passport.
- Flea and tick treatment. We previously used advocate for our collies due to them possibly having sensitivity issues. But have since started using Advantix on advice from the vet. It’s also a lot cheaper and you can buy it OTC in pharmacies in France and in some supermarkets in Italy. It pays to shop around, some products can be €10 cheaper in some countries. All are usually cheaper than in the UK.
- Collars, Scalibor or Seresto collars. These stop mosquitos and sandflies that can be harmful to dogs. The cheapest we found these collars were in Spain at €15 each. They last between 5-8 months. We would take them off when the dogs swam as they are harmful to fish and marine life.
- tick removers – you can buy different size ones, but they are essential .We have found especially in France. One day we pulled at least twenty off Zoey after she went into the long grass.
- Dog muzzles. Our dogs hate these and will do anything to get them off. But on a lot of public transport and some admissions into sites/ruins. Dogs are required to use them.
Things we have that we swear by in a motor home
- Travel water bowls and collapsible food bowls. The travel water bowl is accessible at all times for our dogs. It doesn’t spill any water so is ideal when driving. The food bowls also used when we go out. Taking water we fill up the bowls and then just fold them back up when they are done.
- Dog towels, we have a few but also have ones that are like an oven mitt. Great for getting round a wet moving dog.
- Grooming products. When we started we had dog shampoo and brushes. But for long-term we now have nail cutters, toothpaste spray and cutting scissors for when we can’t get to the groomers.
- Dog first aid. We have Silver spray and Ultrasalve ( a natural antiseptic cream) for cuts and small wounds.
- Cooling products. In a motor home with no air conditioning. This summer was extremely hot. For about 4 months we were in 30-37 degrees daily. Trying to keep dogs cool can be a mission. We have cooling mats that we put in the freezer if we are out during the day. Great for under a towel once we get back. Cooling bandanas. We use these a lot. Soaking them in water and putting them around the necks of the dogs. You can nearly always find a water source to keep them wet. Water, we always take a minimum of 2 litres of water for the dogs. Stopping regularly to keep them hydrated. Shade, it can be hard to come by, but we have been known to cross a street just to get them off the hot footpaths. Timing your outings, in Prague we knew the temperature was going to hit 37 degrees at lunchtime. We planned a walk in to the centre at 6pm and then at 6am the next day we set of early. The bonus of this, less tourists and we were back at the motorhome by lunchtime. we have also put them in a fountain to cool them off as well.
- Cleaning of the motor home with dogs. Having collies, you can imagine the dog hair. We have a mobile Dyson (pet one) vacuum cleaner. Great for sucking up the sand, dirt and hair. I also have this fab brush we got when we were in Poland. It’s a soft bristled brush, but its excellent at getting pet hair off furnishings.
- Driving. Whilst driving dogs are usually required to be restrained. we have harnesses for both, but only usually put them on when we are heading for the check in back to the UK. Whilst driving George normally sleeps. It’s hard to believe but he curls up in his bed and usually sleeps for 90 % of the journey. If he’s not there hes cuddled up on the sofa next to Zoey. She doesn’t sleep and is a third co pilot, usually over my shoulder for the entire journey. We also have a collapsible barrier that sits between the front seats. It is a deterrent for the dogs to stop them coming in the front.
- Dog bags ( for number twos) A friend put me onto scented nappy bags, cheap at tesco about 75p for 150. Large enough for the business and at least they smell nice. Most countries have free dog bags in parks. We always grab at least two or three each time we see the stands. Pays to keep spares.
- Dog food. To be honest this has been the hardest thing. All countries sell different brands, so if you are used to a certain brand it may be hard to come by. We started using Lidls Gourmet range, moving to their sensitive Gourmet. It’s usually found in every country, but funny enough you can’t get sensitive where we are in Italy for most of the winter. For a dog who will eat anything George has the most sensitive stomach so finding him a good brand can be challenging. Dog treats are always great for on the public transport especially if your dog likes to try to get its muzzle off.
- Vets. George had an accident in Hungary, hurting his Dew Claw. We tried to treat it but in the end we were at the local vet. The receptionist spoke minimal english and had to translate for the vet. In the end they had to take it off. So surgery with anesthetic, antibiotic injection, antibiotic cream and all the bandages to change it for a week. It came to 26,000 foriant (€70). The vet was fantastic and the receptionist exceptional. printing off info and writing down instructions. The funny thing was they didn’t take cards only cash. I offered to leave my passport as I went to get cash out. But they refused and told me where the nearest atm was. A handful of foraint later, it looked like I robbed a bank. I paid for his treatment. George recovered well, so it was a great visit. Like I’ve said previously we use a great vet in Burgues France, she is helpful and we just email her to book a time. Usually a couple of days before we are set to catch the ferry
- Crossing the channel. We have done the Eurotunnel, the first time we went to France. Great as we weren’t sure how the dogs would be. You stay in your vehicle with your dogs. 30 minutes and you are there. The down side is it can be expensive. We are since used the ferry which is 2 hours from Dunkirk to Dover. Leaving the dogs in the vehicle, you have to go upstairs. You can check on your dogs and the staff are very helpful. We have used a ferry to Sicily and we could stay in the vehicle with the dogs, so they are calmer knowing that we are there.
We have not been to restricted travelling with dogs. We have found that we are more active due to them. sometimes walking up to 20km a day. A lot of countries allow dogs on public transport with muzzles and lead. But in some cases it depends on the size of the dog. Small, easy to pick up dogs are usually nearly always accepted. Some times you are required to pay for the dogs, but usually not. Dogs are usually not allowed into museums and churches. Usually one of us goes in whilst the other waits. But many castle grounds we have been able to take them in. In Italy its hit and miss. For example Pompeii, Italy we asked one guard and he said small/ medium was ok. Got to the ticket office, they said go ask the guard in his office. He wasnt there, so another lady just said, take them in. To be honest I don’t think they are allowed in but we were lucky. Venice we could take them on the bus and water taxi. Croatia, they were allowed into the Plitvice Lakes and on the public transport there. The national park was stunning and the dogs loved it. Zoey even taking a sneaky swim. We have hiked the French alps and the High Tatra mountains in Slovakia. Even taking them through the table top mountains in Poland. A maze of walkways through rocks. They have been in caves in bear country in Slovenia. Beaches are a favourite and Zoey would be there all day if we allowed her. In the water if its hot she will just sit there, cooling off. Today she was swimming out for sticks in the waves off the east coast of Sicily. The water clear. Even George has decided that he like water and will go out deeper and deeper now. Some countries such as Italy, dogs are welcome in malls and restaurants in some cases. In many countries Collies are not seen so our two either draw stares of amazement or people are so keen to come and say hello. The only thing Zoey doesn’t like is altitude as we have found, it freaks her out. We aren’t sure if it’s the air pressure in her ears or the turbo of our engine. Trying to get up the mountains. Oh and fly swats, she hates that more than flies. As they are our fur babies, we wouldnt want to do this without them.