Have pet passports opened up new horizons for holidaying with your cat or dog? Or do you leave them behind? Given the stress my family’s dog suffered from when we left it at home, I don’t think I could any more.
I grew up in America, travelling everywhere with my dog and cat. When we went on holiday, they went on holiday. They loved it and would get excited as soon as they saw us bring out the suitcases.
But sometimes, if we were going on long-haul trips, we’d have to leave them behind. We would come back to find that the cat was annoyed with us – she wouldn’t acknowledge our presence for days – and the dog was in a frantic state. He’d leap for joy at the sight of us, but then be so anxious over the following days that if we left the house, he’d paw at the front door for hours.
Worse, he would barely touch his food while we were gone, so he’d lose weight. He did this whether we had a dogsitter look after him or put him in kennels. And we tried everything – leaving his favourite treats, having fresh chicken and beef prepared for him. No joy. He just couldn’t bear to be away from us.
It got so bad that we decided it wasn’t fair to leave him any more, so we just stopped taking long-haul trips. But that was fine. He could easily go with us in the car, on the train or in the cabin of the plane on short-haul hops around North America.
Travelling with dogs in Europe
When I moved to the UK in the 1990s, however, I was shocked at just how impossible it was to take your dog with you – even on short journeys to Europe. The destinations were often far closer – just a few hours to France, Ireland and Spain – than the epic trips we used to take with our animal entourage. Yet getting pets over the Channel required a six-month quarantine period.
When the pet passport scheme was introduced in 2000, I was thrilled. Free movement at last for pets and their people.
Of course, plenty of people still choose to leave their pets at home, and some dogs and cats prefer to be left behind rather than face a long journey. But I’m sure my family’s dog isn’t the only one who suffered from stress and anxiety when we went away.
Does your pet get stressed?
I’d like to hear from you for a future article in Which? Travel magazine. We’re trying to find out how many people’s pets suffer from stress when they leave them behind to go on holiday. So if you have a dog, cat or another pet, please take a second to vote in the poll and share your experiences in the comments below.
Does your dog suffer stress when you leave them behind to go on holiday?
I don't have a dog (59%, 626 Votes)
Yes (25%, 258 Votes)
No (12%, 122 Votes)
Don't know (4%, 47 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,053