Cons? What cons could there possibly be for traveling with your dog? You’re traveling with your best friend!
Okay so picture it. There you are with your four-legged best friend and you’ve got your passport and your dog’s pet passport in your hand. You’re ready to take on the world! And believe me, it’s a wonderful world out there filled with tons of new scents, sights and of course food!
Even better, the world is slowly catching on to the idea that dogs are family and now in some cities, we can all go inside places such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, and even supermarkets. We could even join our humans on trains, planes, busses and ferries.
But before your pup can leave any paw prints in a new country you should know that there are few drawbacks to travelling with your doggy. But of course, there are many more pros!
It wasn’t all smooth sailing while we journeyed around the world.
Let’s start with the most challenging part and that is the means of travelling. While there are many airlines out there that would permit bringing a smaller dog onboard, like a chihuahua, a pug or pomeranian, not many of them allow us, ahem, bigger dogs to go in the cabin.
The larger dogs, usually 20 lbs. or more, typically go in the cargo hold. There are a few airlines that don’t have weight limits, instead they have size limits which means that your pet should be able to fit in a pet carrier that goes under a seat, no matter the weight.
I don’t know about you but I can’t picture a Great Dane curling himself up to go under an airplane seat.
This means that unless your medium or big dog is a support animal who needs to accompany you up in the cabin, then the cargo is the likely way to go if you want to travel to another destination by air.
Fortunately, the cargo hold in many airlines such as British Airways, Virgin and Air France are climate-controlled.
Most airlines also have seasonal restrictions which means they won’t fly if it’s too hot or too cold out there. Other airlines also have breed restrictions for snub-nosed pets.
But fret not, there’s many pet transportation companies that could help with the journey including all the paperwork necessary to enter another country. Speaking of paperwork…
Even if you choose not to take a plane into another country and you want to go by ferry, car or other means, you might still have to bring paperwork the size of a rolled-up newspaper to enter that country.
Each country has its own importation and exportation requirements when it comes to us dogs (or cats, mice, donkeys, etc.).
I find that Europe is quite simple to travel around as a dog and there’s 28 member states in the European Union that you can visit with your paws and mark your territory! That includes the four countries in the United Kingdom…for now anyway!
All you’ve got to do is get your handy pet passport from a vet in an EU country and that includes all your dog’s vaccines, microchip information, and other stuff that’s needed when wandering into another country within the EU.
The pet passport can act as an all in one document whenever you enter the EU from another country that’s outside of the EU. Pretty handy I would say. That’s why I never leave home without it!
Now once you get the means of travel and paperwork out of the way then you could stroll around a new city or get lost in the wilderness of a new country with your pooch. Don’t forget to bring your camera. And lots of treats!
The Dreaded No Dogs allowed sign
Oof. There’s no sign I like less than that awful ‘no dogs allowed’ sign. You know which one I speak of. The one with the big red circle and the diagonal line in the middle. If only I could make an even bigger sign that says ‘no “no dogs allowed signs” allowed’. That would show them.
Alas, me and my human have run into many of these signs while travelling around to different cities. This could be a bit of a headache if you’re hungry or thirsty and you’re out and about with your dog and want to enter a restaurant.
Sometimes lady luck will smile upon us and there will be an outdoor seating area where we can join you and sometimes the waiter even brings a bowl of water for us.
We found that many places in Europe do allow dogs to go inside cafes and restaurants. These are countries such as France, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and some cities in the UK. But in case you find yourself in less dog-friendly countries then you’ll have to eat outside most of the time.
So how about those other places that you go to while travelling? Well, I can safely say that most cathedrals that I’ve come across throughout Europe are a no go. That’s a shame because us dogs would probably find it very peaceful in there.
Most museums are also a no go and even a few parks, especially those with historical significance, will carry these terrible ‘no dogs allowed’ signs.
As for supermarkets, I’ve only been to a handful around Belgium and a Greek island where I was allowed inside. For other stores such as clothing shops, well it’s quite simple, unless there’s a sign saying no dogs, we assume it’s safe to go inside and we even give a courtesy heads up to an employee about bringing me in. I suggest doing the same.
Busses, trains and trams also have their own pet policies.
So if you’re travelling with your hound, just be aware that there will be lots of times when you will come face-to-face with these signs.
But think of it this way, if that place doesn’t let your dog in, then why go there? Go to another place, or make a better adventure out of it.
Not everyone likes dogs
The beauty of traveling is that you come across people from all over the world with different cultures and customs. When you travel with your dog, you will come across some people who will absolutely love your dog and want to say hello (see Pros below), but other times you’ll come across people who may not be too keen on your pup running around off lead.
If you take public transport while traveling in a new country, you’ll also get plenty of stares from people while you’re with your dog. Some of them curious, others might glare at you. The truth is not everyone looks at dogs as family. Rather they may look at them as unsanitary animals, or if they’re from another country they might look at them in fear.
In many countries, there are plenty of stray dogs around and some may even be feral which can lead to a fear for dogs.
Me and my human just go about our business and our travels and pay no mind to others unless they say hi. Of course, we’re also respectful in terms of space for other people.
Somebody’s got to carry all that dog luggage right? We need to eat and drink. And if you’re a fashionable pooch or a snow-lover, then maybe you have to pack an extra coat or two. This of course means a bit more weight in your suitcase.
Traveling with a dog isn’t easy. But it’s worth it!
It’s a whole new experience for your dog
Imagine all the new smells your dog will get to experience when you take them to an open market in France or a forest in England (mostly manure). Your dog will want to pull you to where all the best smells are. Of course, the new scents are not the only experience. It will be mentally stimulating for your dog to be around all these different sights, sounds and tastes. And of course, so many cool places to mark their territory.
If your dog is a people lover, then travelling to new cities will be right up their alley. There’ll also be new friends that they’ll be able to make (more on that later).
Creating memories with your best friend
Think about all the great memories you can look forward to making when you bring your dog with you on a new adventure. It’s a beautiful shared experience and we think life is meant to be shared with those you love.
One day, you’ll be able to look back and see that you gave your best friend a wonderful and adventurous life.
We recommend taking that camera and capturing some amazing photos with your best friend that you’ll always be able to look back to. Your dog will thank you for taking them along on the journey and believe me when I say that they always love spending time with you!
Your dog will likely meet so many people as well as other animal friends which will only be a great thing for the dog’s socialization skills.
Going to big cities like Rome or Barcelona, it’s inevitable that you’ll see tons of people and some might want to pet your dog. This is a great way to showcase how friendly your dog is and if they love people, then this will be a truly great experience for them.
Traveling around cities or even in the outdoors, you’ll likely come across other pets and other animals which means your dog will get to meet more friends to play with.
By the time you’re done exploring London or Paris with your pooch, they’ll be a bona fide social butterfly and the talk of the city.
Speaking of which…
An icebreaker to meet people
If you’re backpacking with your canine in a strange new country where you may not know anyone then consider yourself to be in possession of the world’s greatest icebreaker.
People will come up to you just to say hi to your dog and if they see you with your backpack or suitcase then they’ll be even more curious about you and your travels with your buddy. They’ll talk to you and before you know it you’ll have new friends.
During our travels, we’ve met quite a few people who’ve stopped and said hi to us purely because they also have a bull terrier and can’t resist saying hi to a handsome son of a gun like myself. I’m getting carried away here, but you know what I mean. After that we all become friends and hang out at another point. Chances are there’s even people out there who would want to say hi to your dog and before you know it, a stranger becomes friends and your travels become enriched.
We have friends around the world who my human would’ve never met if it wasn’t for me.
There’s a saying out there that strangers are just friends who you haven’t met yet and we believe having a dog is definitely a key to unlocking an entirely different world of friendships out there.
Safety and comfort
Ok so I said strangers are just friends who you haven’t met yet. But sometimes, if you’re a tourist in a strange country where you may not know the language, then having a dog by your side is to your advantage when faced against certain kinds of strangers.
It’s a fact that many locals try to take advantage of tourists. Either by selling them things they don’t need, ripping them off, pickpocketing, or worse yet, mugging or other violence. But when you have Fido at your side, well then, that could scare off some people. Unless you have a chihuahua or pomeranian, which in case, good luck! I’m joking, they’re also very useful because you’ll likely look like a local rather than a tourist.
As an aside, there’s nothing more annoying than having people come to you and try to sell you things that you don’t want while all you’re trying to do is take photos of the Colosseum in Rome. It’s because you’re a tourist and chances are, you look like one. But if you have a dog, then forget it. Most people will think you live there and won’t try to take advantage of you.
A whole different itinerary
Having a dog by your side will take you to places that you would’ve never gone to if you went without one. You’ll want to take the scenic route or the long way so your dog can get more exercise or stimulation.
This different itinerary could mean a long walk over an iconic bridge or through different streets filled with unique attractions.
You’ll also venture to pet friendly cafes and bars, which in my experience, always offer up extremely friendly staff. These places will also take pride in being pet friendly so their service will likely be top notch!
As for you outdoorsy types, you’ll get a kick out of taking your four-legged friend out into the wilderness and playing fetch or chase or run alongside them. Imagine your pet doing a rollover trick with a view of the Alps. All because you wanted to take them out for some exercise!
I’ve gone on wonderful bike rides in the city and countryside before because I wasn’t allowed on busses and as an outcome, we got to see more things!
You may want to move there
Finding out how dog-friendly a city is could make you want to move there. Once you bring your best friend to cities such as Prague, Strasbourg or Brighton, you’ll want to move there so you can spend more time with your pet.
The best thing in the world for them is that they’ll get to hang out with your more, whether that’s sitting beside you while you have a beer at the pub, or shopping for a new suitcase.
And they wont get lonely at home/left behind
This is the greatest pro to bringing your dog when you travel. It’s all about them and their happiness! You won’t leave them behind in a pet hotel or a kennel while you’re busy exploring the ruins of Pompeii. Instead, they’re right beside you leaving paw prints all over the world.
Now go and get that pet passport and get traveling!
Danny and Rocky!