Today I have in my blog an interesting article from Maria Petrenko on how to travel with a dog. She will tell you what documents you need to collect to cross the border, how to find a hotel, where you can take your dog, how to transport it optimally. To lesrn more check Travis Blog.
Nine years ago, a funny puppy appeared in our family, and together with him, as it turned out, it was not a funny problem at all: what to do with vacation trips. We did not want to burden our relatives with dog cares, let alone leave the animal in the dog hotel. As a result, we decided to go on vacation by car and take the dog with us. That’s how another shaggy companion appeared in our team of two people and one car. Maria Petrenko reports.
So, meet the golden retriever Asya, 9 years old. Car travel experience in Europe – 8 years. During this time, the dog managed to visit more than 20 countries. The experience was decent, but there were plenty of mistakes. So that the next travelers with dogs do not step on the same rake, I want to share my observations, impressions, knowledge.
Features of traveling with a dog
Of course, the presence of a dog in a team of travelers imposes certain restrictions and creates some problems, but I can say with confidence that they are all surmountable and solvable, and the positive from the fact that there is a beloved dog nearby, which has long become a member of the family, is immeasurably greater.
It is like a warm and cozy part of your home, which, even on vacation, far from home, remains close to you.
When traveling with a dog in a car, you need to plan the time on the route so that about every 4 hours you will stop to “stretch your paws” and drink some water, thus the travel time will increase somewhat, but these short stops will be useful for human crew members as well.
Our dog rides in the back seat in a special hammock, which does not allow it to fall out between the front seats during sudden braking, and also prevents the expression of signs of tenderness to the driver of the car while driving. In addition, the hammock, made of waterproof fabric, protects the seat from dirt.
By ferry, train, plane with a dog
On ferries plying the Baltic Sea between the Scandinavian countries or between the Baltic States and Germany, it is necessary to redeem the whole cabin. Moreover, for passengers with dogs on each ship, several cabins are allocated. They differ from ordinary ones only in the absence of carpet on the floor.
There is an additional charge for the presence of a dog in the cabin (20-30 euros per flight). And if there are a sufficient number of dog cabins on large ferries that can accommodate several thousand passengers, such as the Viking Line ferries running on the Helsinki – Stockholm routes, it should be borne in mind that small ferries of the StenaLine company operate on the Latvia – Germany lines. accommodating 200-400 passengers and “dog cabins” for them only 1-2. Therefore, it is better to buy tickets in advance, especially during the season. On some ferries, dogs are not allowed at all, while on others the condition is to keep animals in special cages. Before buying tickets, be sure to inquire in detail about the conditions for transporting dogs.
On the ferry, most of the time the dog should be kept in the cabin. You can walk with her on the open deck, fastening on a leash.
On many ferries, on one of the decks, a dog’s toilet is set up – a small “sandbox” with a post in the middle for males.
On trains, the rules are about the same as on ferries: the entire compartment is bought, outside the compartment the dog must be on a leash. We did not consider the issue of using an airplane for the reason that the dog must be checked in in a cage in the luggage compartment. This is too much stress for both the animal and the owners.
As a rule, in European countries, dogs are treated with sympathy, they are allowed a lot, provided they behave correctly. Most often you can take a dog on a pleasure boat, sometimes paying extra for the animal. In Germany and Austria, dogs are allowed into the cabins of many cable cars. True, you need to pay for this (usually no more than 10 euros) and one more condition – there should be no more than one dog in the booth.
To travel in public transport, we also had a muzzle with us, just in case, though we never had to wear it. There were no problems.
In the city.
Whenever possible, we try to minimize the movement of the dog in crowded areas of cities. And not at all because she might not behave like that. It’s just that dogs quickly get tired of the fidgeting of people and walking, in their opinion, aimlessly through the streets of unfamiliar cities.
Of course, there are situations when you need to walk through the city with a dog, but in such cases you can almost always find the least crowded path or choose a time when there are fewer people on the streets.
In general, it will be much better for everyone to take a good walk the dog, and then leave it at the hotel and go to conquer a new city for you.
In addition, you will certainly not be able to visit a museum or exhibition with a dog. Well, then we do it in turn.
But it is quite possible to walk in the city park, and both people and the dog will enjoy it.
In many cities, you can sit on the open veranda of the restaurant with your dog.
As a rule, the waiter brings the dog a bowl of water along with the menu. And in some places, the waiters treated our Asya to delicious treats, having previously received our permission. It happens that the dog is allowed into the main hall of the restaurant, into the room.
Sometimes they saw that they went to shops with dogs, but I think that this is not very convenient for either the dog or its owner.
In the country
It’s another matter outside the cities, when plans are in place to explore natural attractions or parks. We always take Asya with us on such walks.
There are a lot of tourists with dogs in such places, Europeans travel with dogs in the order of things.
With dogs, they climb the mountains along hiking trails.
You can go to one of the tongues of the Jostedalsbreen or Briksdalsbreen glacier.
The dog will not interfere with fishing.
In almost all European countries, dog owners immediately clean up after their pets their waste products. Very often you can see special “dog” urns and bags above them. For example, in Germany and Austria, this is found everywhere.
But in the Czech Republic, this is not the case. And there are almost no such urns, and the owners do not always clean up after the pets. We usually do not count on the presence of “dog” bins and bags, so they are always at hand in the literal sense of the word. On the tape is a bone-shaped keychain with a roll of sachets inside. These are sold in Beethoven stores.
How to be on the beach with a dog?
Beach holidays with a dog are quite affordable. There are two possibilities. First, you move away from the human beach and sit in the wild.
Of course, the lack of beach infrastructure will be a minus, but a big plus is the lack of people. And the sea is the same everywhere.
The second option is to go to a special dog beach. It is equipped differently in different countries. For example, in Choratia, we met special signs in places where it is allowed to swim and sunbathe with dogs.
There is no additional equipment here, so visiting this beach is free.
Italian dog beaches are another matter. Everything here is like people and even better. There are urns, drinking bowls for dogs, separate chaise lounges for them. They are full-fledged vacationers on such a beach. But you will have to pay decently for such a joint vacation – from 20 euros per day.
How do I book a hotel stay with a dog?
For us, the most difficult moment in traveling with a dog, oddly enough, was the booking of accommodation. An exception is camping in Norway, where dogs are accepted everywhere and no restrictions are put forward.
It would seem that everything is simple. When choosing a hotel for put a tick in the choice of search terms “Pets are allowed” and that’s it. But it was not there. Recently, very rarely hotels write “Dog free”. Most often, it is indicated “This service may be paid.” I advise you to first clarify two points.
First, be sure to write a request to the hotel and receive a written confirmation that you will be accepted with a dog, otherwise extremely unpleasant moments are possible. Arriving at the hotel, you will find out that yes, it was possible with dogs, but recently they made repairs and now it is impossible. Or with dogs it is possible, but only very small ones, which do not shed, do not bark and generally do not make themselves felt.
The second point is the amount of additional payment. If in most countries it does not exceed 10 euros, then in Poland there can be and more often than not there are unpleasant discoveries when hoteliers announce to you upon arrival that the cost of living for a dog is almost the same as for a person.
Having learned from bitter experience, I have been doing this for several years. I am booking a hotel where it seems to be allowed to live with a dog. Then I write an email to the hotel, where I indicate the breed and weight of the dog and ask you to answer if I can live with it in the hotel and how much it costs. As a rule, hoteliers do not respond to letters. Then I call the Booking support service and ask them to send a similar request to the hotel and send me a written response. When I receive such an answer, and it comes rather quickly and is far from always satisfactory, then I either calmly go to this hotel, or refuse it and book another.
Another unpleasant moment. The owners of some hotels (fortunately, there are very few of them) believe that the dog is like a large additional suitcase, which is completely invisible and inaudible. And if she suddenly barks even during the day, then this is a terrible tragedy and a claim will be made to you. And this happens even with our silent Asya, who does not bark for no reason at all.
For example, when kids are running past the room. To avoid such situations, I immediately indicate in the “Special Requests” box when booking that we need a room at the very end of the corridor, where no one walks by. It is not a fact that you will be provided with this one, but then in which case the owners of the hotel will be to blame, not you.
Increasingly, we began to book accommodation on the AirBnB website for the simple reason that there you can immediately resolve all issues with the owner of the apartment you like and then there will be no surprises either for us or for the owner.
Crossing the border with a dog
If you have all the necessary documents for the dog and they are correctly executed, then there are usually no problems at the border. On the Russian side, no one is interested in the dog at all, they don’t ask for documents. In my opinion, the fastest and easiest way to cross the border with Finland and Estonia. Finns sometimes do not pay attention to the dog at all, sometimes they scan the chip or look at the European certificate, but all this is very fast and not burdensome.
Things are going a little slower on the Polish border. The veterinarian reads the entire European certificate very carefully and pays attention to who issued it (Rosselkhoznadzor – required). Then they may ask to take the dog out of the car, check the seat under it, scan the chip. On one occasion we were even asked to show that we had bags for collecting dog waste.
But the longest and most dreary passage of the Belarusian border. Belarusians believe that any dog, even a small mongrel, is of serious value and must be declared. Therefore, with dogs, you need to queue up in the red corridor and fill out a customs declaration. The queue is always slower there. There is absolutely always something wrongly written in the declaration, although we fill it in according to the previous already checked declaration. Then you need to go look for a veterinarian, who does not always sit in the booth, can go to lunch or for a technical break, or just no one knows where. When an employee is found, he looks through absolutely all the dog’s documents for a very long time and only after that they let the car with the dog pass. Of all the border crossings, the transition Belarus – Poland always takes the most time.
Preparing the dog for the trip
On the way, the dog, in addition to a passport with up-to-date vaccinations and marks about deworming and tick treatment, will need two certificates: Form 1 for Russian border guards and a Euro certificate for the second party.
Form F1 can be obtained only at the state veterinary clinic or veterinary station for the fight against animal diseases, and at the place of residence. True, this requirement is easily circumvented if you are not more comfortable with your own veterinary station. You just need to give the address of residence in the area of this station. The dog must be presented. As a rule, they do not pay attention to it, but once it is necessary, then we always quote. Moreover, our chip was scanned twice and once the presence of parasites on the wool was checked with some kind of blue lamp. The cost of the certificate, like everything else with us, is growing every year. The last time this summer it cost about 500 rubles.
I know that many who go abroad with a dog do not take the F1 form at all, saying that no one needs it. This is partly true. We on the Russian side never asked her. But once we are supposed to have it, we get it every time. The certificate is valid for only five days, so it is better to take it immediately before leaving.
The second certificate – Form F5A is needed on the other side of the border. If you are not traveling to the Schengen area, then it is enough.
For Schengen, as an attachment to the F5A form, a European Union veterinary certificate is also issued, usually in English, and if you ask, then also in the language of the country of entry. This certificate, as a rule, is always looked at. Finns are sometimes an exception. A few years ago, it was possible to travel with a Euro certificate obtained in private veterinary centers. Recently, this has not gone away. Only Euro certificates issued by Rosselkhoznadzor are accepted.