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Thom Brown with his dog, ready to travel the world

Responsible Travellers Should Consider Bringing their Pup

So you want to try solo travel, but don’t want to get lonely? I have the perfect solution for you! Why not travel with a dog?

Imagine being able to share the excitement of travel with your best friend, without putting up with the complaints and arguments that often come with human travel buddies.

Benefits of Travel with a Dog

  • You’re the boss: No more debates about what to do and where to go.
  • No more loneliness: Solo travel, for all its benefits, can lead to potentially dangerous levels of loneliness. When you travel with a dog, these feelings are greatly reduced. Read more of my tips for battling loneliness on the road!
  • Make more friends: Bringing your dog into pubs and hostels around the world is bound to get people talking. It’s the perfect ice breaker, allowing you to make more connections while travelling. Read more of my tips for making friends abroad!
  • Stability and structure: Travel can become unsustainable if you throw structure out the window. When you travel with a dog, you’ll need to feed it and exercise it as you would at home. This forces you to build structure into daily life, so you can keep on top of your mental health. A dog also gives stability to your life by being the one permanent and ever-present relationship, as humans come in and out of your life on a weekly basis.
  • Retaining responsibility: Thom Brown Travel suggests using your trips to build responsibility, rather than escape from it. The sheer freedom of the road can often lead travellers to abandon personal responsibility and therefore fail to achieve personal growth. Taking charge of the health and wellbeing of a dog, however, adds this sense of responsibility back into your life. Read more about how to travel better.
  • Achieving slow travel: When caring for the dog’s wellbeing, you’re going to have to take your time. This means taking fewer flights in favour of the bus and spending longer at your destination. In my opinion, this makes for better travel. Find out why slow travel is better.

But if you’re going to travel with a dog, you need to do it right. There are certain factors to consider to make sure you’re applying to local laws, while keeping your dog healthy, happy, and fulfilled.

Can You Travel with a Dog on a Plane?

Like any other piece of hand luggage, if your dog can fit under the seat in front of you, then they’re allowed with you in the cabin. If you’re planning to become a world traveller with a pet, then it’s worth bringing a dog small enough to sit with you on a flight.

Bigger dogs will have to be “checked in”, where you won’t be able to keep an eye on them and their safety. Flying as a piece of cargo can be loud and disorientating for a dog, although injuries, health problems, and deaths are incredibly rare. Nevertheless, it certainly isn’t pleasant for them. In almost all cases, your dog will prefer travelling by land.

Pet Passports

For entry to most countries, a pet passport is required. This will contain all the details about your pet with regards to travel. It was created to make the process of bringing pets abroad more speedy and easy to understand. By getting hold of one, your pet won’t have to quarantine after entering a new country.

The passport contains a microchip with information of your dog stored on it, including whether the pet has received a rabies vaccination. In the UK, a pet passport only costs £60 and is valid in the EU for four months. Every country has its own rules but let’s have a look at the requirements for entering the EU.

Travelling with a Dog to the EU

The EU has made travel with a dog a relatively easy and simple process. If you’re from an EU member state, then free movement of people includes free movement of dogs. However, there are still certain regulations to obey, whether you’re from an EU or non-EU country.

If you travel with a dog, you must:

  • Acquire a pet passport
  • Mark your pet with a tattoo or microchip
  • Vaccinate your dog against rabies
  • Carry out a rabies antibody test
  • For Ireland, Finland, or Malta, receive tapeworm treatment
  • Get a pet health certificate
  • Provide a written declaration about the nature of your trip

Yes, it’s a lot of paperwork. But that’s because dogs may carry diseases that affect humans. By obeying all the regulations, you’re helping to ensure that your pet is as healthy as possible so it’s worth doing anyway.

Travelling with a dog is a rewarding and exciting way to explore the world. However, it will require a different mindset. You’ll have to get on top of all paperwork and health concerns, use appropriate means of transport, and find pet-friendly hotels. If you do it correctly, though, then it can make for more responsible, meaningful, and fulfilling travel.

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