/ Travel & Leisure

Update: Tales of travelling with my dogs

Pug in box

I come from a family with two major loves: animals and France. Half of my younger years of leisure were spent with numerous creatures. The other half was spent leaving them all behind on countless trips to our house over in western France…

On our returns to Blighty I remember the joy of our various stinking, hoarse and ecstatic dogs when we would go to pick them up from the kennels.

Some of them seemed to love their own mini holiday, some definitely less so. One was banned from all the kennels within a 50-mile radius. One made it into the local paper by running away and ending up in the supermarket. And one used to spend the first few days back at home repeatedly running laps around the garden, and would refuse to come in until all memories of our happy travels without him had faded.

Pet passports and microchips

When pet passports first appeared in the early 2000s, I was pretty excited. Never mind having to now share the back of the car with panting pooches as well as two squabbling sisters.

Sometimes the processes involved were a bit cumbersome. Once, for instance, the five of us had to share a hotel room in Caen with a Rottweiler, terrier and Labrador, because we hadn’t taken them to the vets for their tapeworm treatment in the right 24-to 120-hour window.

But none of that mattered, because now we could take our happy menagerie with us!

It’s even easier now (just a rabies jab at least 21 days before travel, and no more blood tests required for EU dogs). In fact, the last time I travelled with my Scottish terrier Hugo he didn’t even have to get out of the car to get checked. They just handed us the microchip scanner to use ourselves.

Hugo

My dog Hugo

Which is good, because Hugo is quite the drama king. He hates the vets, he’s not that keen on canine or human strangers, and he really detests kennels. But put him in a car and onto the Channel Tunnel or ferry and he’s a different dog. Incredibly calm. And I guess that’s because he’s with me. When I can’t take him away with me on my travels, he goes to stay with my mum or I get a dogsitter friend to come and keep him company.

Stressed dogs

And from our poll a couple of weeks ago, I know that Hugo isn’t the only dog who hates being left behind. Of those voters who own a dog, 60% said that their dog suffered stress when they’ve left them behind to go on holiday. What about yours?

When you’re booking your latest trip abroad do you paws for thought for your beloved pet? Do you take them with you? And if not, what do you do with them?

[UPDATE 6 APRIL] From today all dogs in the UK are legally required to be microchipped. Compulsory microchipping has been introduced to help reduce the number of stray and missing dogs. Each microchip is linked to a central database containing the registered owner’s details. However, the old-fashioned collar and tag may not be entirely redundant yet. While compulsory microchipping has come into force, compulsory scanning of the microchip has not. Should your pooch go astray, it may be a while before it’s microchip is scanned. So an old-fashioned collar and tag may be a bit quicker at reuniting you both.

Comments
Guest
ele says:
4 April 2016

i would love a vacation but can’t due to the cost of transporting them to the u.k. i have two small dogs and it would cost about 1,000gbp to get them back to scotland and of course they would not be permitted to do the trip in the one day, they have to nightstop in lgw or lhr and that of course costs more. nevermind the stress for them,. nightstopping is a chore for them. then we have to do the same on the way back. an expensive affair. kennels in europe are not like the u.k. and my two would find it hard to adjust to the open air lodgings. when i last checked, i couldn’t get them directly into scotland.
well, that is a rum deal.
in europe they can more or less free access and would cost a fraction of the cost to transport. why does the u.k. have to make things so difficult?

Guest

Ele, I know it sometimes seems unnecessary to put all these ‘obstacles’ in the way but I think the Government is, quite rightly, desperate to keen the dreadful disease Rabies from our shores. In order to do that the restrictions must be applied and I think that, all things considered, it is the correct course to take.
It will inevitably mean that animal owners will be subject to both waiting and expense but if that keeps disease out of the UK then it is all for the best.

Guest

Hello, I’m sure you’re all up-to-date on this, but just in case you’re not aware, all dogs over 8 weeks old are now legally required to be microchipped.

Each microchip is linked to a central database containing the registered owner’s details. However, the old-fashioned collar and tag may not be entirely redundant yet. While compulsory microchipping has come into force, compulsory scanning of the microchip has not. Should your pooch go astray, it may be a while before it’s microchip is scanned. So an old-fashioned collar and tag may be a bit quicker at reuniting you both.

What do you think about microchipping? Would you like to see compulsory scanning of the microchip? Or do you think that a collar and tag is sufficient enough to reunite lost dogs with their owners?

Guest

If your dog is stolen and gets sold on, then at some stage gets taken to a vet, it won’t be routinely scanned. Why is micro chipping now compulsory and scanning not? It seems a logical move to me.

Guest
Lottie says:
6 April 2016

Why not just move to France, lock, stock & dogs?

Guest

We here in NI as usual being the guinea pigs have had compulsory chipping for some time
No it is not compulsory to scan the animal but it seems that it is the first thing that is tried in order to identify stray or lost dogs. . . Vet’s, ,dogs trusts etc all have readers
Makes sense once near all dogs have been chipped. .
I say near all because like everything there will always be ones who object. . .
If you want to object, ,fine. . Loose your pooch and try locating the owners because they are quickly seen as scoungers who dont licence their animal and dont care enough about them to ensure their return as should be
Is it a good idea coming from where it is now the accepted norm, , , Yes and it has reunited many a pet and owner
Of course it limits the possibility of having an unlicensed dog or those who let their dogs roam and could be connected to sheep worrying which could both be a reasons to object. .

Guest

I’m surprised to read that you still have to licence dogs in Northern Ireland. They were abandoned years ago in England & Wales &, I’m assuming, in Scotland.
I remember my dog having to be licenced in the 1940’s and subsequent dogs too. I believe the licence fee right up to currency decimalisation was always 7s 6d.
Perhaps it’s the cost of dog licencing in N Ireland which results in so many dogs from that region being transported to English dog rescue organisations. For that I’m grateful as my best friend is a Border Collie found in County Armagh 9 years ago and estimated to be a year old by a vet in Lurgan before being transported to a Hertfordshire dog rehoming charity.

Guest
C Millar says:
23 April 2016

Our old large dog has come with us from Scotland to Germany for years. However in the last few years it has become more difficult. We used to travel Hull-Rotterdam with the dog in the car for the duration – he was extremely stressed in their cages. Then the rules changed and he has to go into the kennel cage – he would have a heart attack! Even if we sign a disclaimer, we are not allowed to keep him in the car. Newcastle AMsterdam is too long a journey in the car for him. Therefore we have to drive to Harwich in order that he can stay in the car for the crossing.
As he weighs 25kg, sedating him and lifting him into the kennel cage is not an option.
We are usually in Germany for around eight weeks, hence the reason for taking him 🙂

Guest
McLoughlin says:
27 April 2016

The magazine article suggests pets should be allowed on Eurostar, planes etc, but the writer seems happily oblivious to the fact that not everyone likes animals, some people have dog phobias and many more have allergies. Why should they all be made uncomfortable or even ill, just because others want to treat their pets like children?