When my girlfriend wanted to go traveling with her dog, I wasn’t sure how that would work. This guide is the culmination of months of research on traveling with dogs. It covers both the good and the bad.
This guide is meant for people who are looking to travel with their dog on a big trip. A lot of my research was on the topic of overseas travel as that’s what my girlfriend and I have planned.
If you, a friend, or a loved one is strongly considering long term or long distance travel with a dog, then you absolutely should read this article to understand the risks, challenges, and rewards.
- Should You Actually Travel With Your Dog?
- What To Prepare Before Travel
- Getting Around With Your Dog
- What Will Your Dog Eat?
- How To Find Pet Friendly Lodging
- Where To Leave Your Dog For Day Trips
- What To Do If You Lose Your Dog
- What To Do If Your Dog Gets Sick Or Hurt
- Will Your Dog Need To Be Sedated or Quarantined?
- Where Your Dog Can And Can’t Go
Should You Actually Travel With Your Dog?
Before we get real deep in this guide we need to have a hard talk. You need to really think about what type of travelling you are doing and if it is best both for you and for Fido?
Travel Is Harsh
Why do you want to travel with your dog? If you don’t have a really powerful reason to travel with your dog, this guide is not going to be an easy pill to swallow.
Travel can be very unforgiving to pets. The travel industry is designed to accommodate humans not animals. Not only is there loads of red tape you need to traverse, the actual travel can be down right dangerous for dogs.
Granted travel is easier on some dogs than others.
Small dogs receive more forgiveness to dog rules than large dogs. We’ll cover that more later. I would still recommend you consider why you want to bring your dog.
What’s Your Why?
Because you love him is not enough of a reason. Sometimes love means doing what’s best for your dog even if that means putting many miles between you.
Want to explore all the dog parks across Europe? Have a desire to explore nature hikes every day around the world with your furry friend? These are better whys.
When you travel with a dog, your entire experience will have to revolve around them. All your travel plans will have to exist between doggy bathroom breaks, naps, and searches for dog approved locations.
If you’re going to do it, every part of your travel should be about experiencing the world with your dog. Your dog is not an accessory. It is the main show. Do not plan on dragging your dog just anywhere. You will only be able to explore dog centric places. This means many, if not most, tourist attractions, hotels, and eateries are off limits.
If you are going for a short trip, I recommend leaving your dog with a qualified caretaker. If you are going to be traveling for a long period of time, I would only bring your dog if you want your travel to be entirely based around your pet.
What To Prepare Before Travel
The most critical part of travel with dogs is preparedness. Surprises will always result in hefty fines, separation from your pet, and sometimes both. If you have all the right papers, all the right gear, you can keep the surprises to a minimum.
Many travelling dog owners have explained to me, there will always be surprises, but preparedness is the difference between a few frustrating days, and the ruining of your trip.
Your Preparation Timeline
The AVMA, American Veterinary Medical Association has a great article on the timeline for what you need to do and when before travelling.
Documents you may need
There are several documents you may need to have with you when entering another country with your dog. Almost all of these documents will come from your veterinarian. If you don’t have a good relationship with one, now is the time to establish that relationship.
1. A rabies vaccination certificate.
Almost all countries require this certificate to prove your dog has been vaccinated. This certificate must be up to date. If your vaccine expired while travelling, you’ll need to get your dog another injection and updated certificate before leaving the country.
2. A successful Titer Test certificate
Some dogs are immune to the rabies vaccine. A Titer test proves your dog carries a healthy level of the vaccine in its blood. Not every country will require this, but some will. It must be done no less than 30 days after vaccination and will need to be refreshed if your pet’s rabies vaccinations ever expire.
3. Ticks & Tapeworm certificate
There are a lot of countries that require a Ticks & Tapeworm inspection within a few days of travel. Some places will trust your pet is OK if it appears in good health on arrival. If you do not have the certificate showing your dog has been cleared and they suspect something is an issue, they may quarantine your dog. Even if you have your papers for these tests, if your dog does not appear to be healthy, they may quarantine your dog for suspicion of something else like foot and mouth disease.
4. Screwworm certificate.
If you are coming from or have traveled through a country with screwworm, you’ll need to have your dog tested for screwworm within a few days of international travel. This is especially important for coming back into the USA.
5. USDA Inspection / CVI certificate
A few days before travel you’ll need a USDA pet inspection or certificate of veterinary inspection. Most countries require this. It needs to be done by a licensed practitioner or at a designated facility. If country hopping, you’ll likely need to get a CVI before each country. Shorter country hops may not be an issue, but longer stays between countries will.
6. Acclimation certificate
Most airlines will not allow your dog to travel during the cold weather season unless they have an acclimation certificate proving they are able to withstand temperatures below 45 degrees for a long duration. This certificate must be signed by a veterinarian no longer than 10 days before travel. These certificates used to also work for hot weather months, but are no longer accepted.
Does my dog need a passport?
For the most part, no.
Your dog does not need a passport. The only official passport for a dog is the EU pet passport. While it is not required for travel between European Union countries, it allows for smoother travel within the EU. The EU passport includes all the necessary proof your dog is not a risk and will greatly reduce the chances of a quarantine. Your local veterinarian can help you with the necessary documentation to get the EU passport.
Does my dog need a visa?
As long as your dog has the other necessary entry documents you will not need a pet specific visa. Your dog will travel under the visa you obtain for travel and will be subjected to that same visa.
What about each country’s specific rules?
For more details on requirements from a specific country, I advise you to check out this article from Bring Fido for more specific details. It is also a good idea to contact the embassy for countries you are going to before making commitments.
Should I get travel insurance for my Dog?
I do not recommend travel insurance for your dog.
There are a few travel insurance companies that offer pet insurance as an add on, but after reading reviews across the internet it seems to be a waste of money. Many insurance providers require you to jump through many hoops to limit your ability to get a claim in time if at all.
There is not much data on the costs of dog travel incidents and so insurance companies charge large premiums to cover an unknown risk. To find out more do a quick Google search for “Travelex or Allianz pet travel insurance”.
Are there any good apps for pet travel?
There are a few apps I recommend any pet owners travelling with their furry friend use.
Bring Fido is probably the largest resource around for finding pet friendly locations for daily activities as well as accommodations. The majority of the content on this site appears to be user generated. There is a mobile app version.
Agoda is my favorite international booking site. They have a search filter for pet friendly places. While it’s still a good idea to verify with the hotel you’re visiting before booking, this is a great place to start. There will be many more locations than what’s on Bring Fido, but the ones on Bring Fido will be pet owner validated.
Pet sitters international is just as it sounds. If you need some time on your trip away from your pet, you can use pet sitters international for some help. Ultimately if you want to travel without your dog it is a good idea to leave your dog with a friend or professional back home, but you can use PSI while abroad.
Doggy Travel Gear
This section covers all the key gear you need or I would highly recommend based on my research.
Crates and Carriers
The most important thing before purchasing a carrier is to check the airline requirements for the airline you are traveling with. Each airline has slightly different rules for large crates. Carriers are subject to the standard carry on rules.
Here are links to some of the most popular airlines:
Delta (Only ships Dogs. Can’t check a Dog on your trip.)
For a large dog, it’s important you get yourself a molded plastic crate. Your dog will be packed in with everyone else’s luggage. In case you run into heavy turbulence you’re going to want that crate protecting him. If he gets thrown around, he’ll more likely be injured in a wire crate than a solid molded one. Here’s an example of a molded crate I’d recommend.
Can you rent a crate?
Airlines do not rent crates. You may be able to rent one from a local vet, but I wouldn’t count on it. You’re going to have to invest in your own molded crate.
For smaller dogs a soft carrier is fine if bringing your dog on board. (Note: many airlines do not allow carry on pets on international routes) There are endless versions out there. The key is finding a model that fits your airline’s carry on dimensions. If you are going by car or bus this isn’t so much of a concern. Here’s a great option.
There are a few other things to keep in mind. First off, don’t expect to buy a crate a few days before travel and think your dog will be fine. Your dog might need crate training even if he has used other crates. If you show up for your flight and your dog is in distress you will not be allowed to fly. Here is a great video to get started training your pet.
One more thing on crates **Vert Important**
This crate you’re going to need is going to have to go with you everywhere. If you think you’re going to travel the world with just a backpack and your dog, think again. These crates are like bringing another suitcase or three with you everywhere you go.
I would argue all dogs should be micro chipped at the very least. Very often this is required for international travel.
If you are thinking of using your dog GPS tracker abroad, think again. Most of these devices only work in western countries and only with an active sim card for the region. Even on domestic trips in rural areas, these cell tower dog trackers are next to useless. No cell signal = No tracking.
There are a few alternative options…
A Radio collar like what’s used for hunting dogs will allow you to track your dog for a few miles depending on the terrain. These are great if you get separated while out exploring, but in the event your dog runs away or gets completely lost, this tool won’t help.
My best recommendation is the Garmin inReach Mini. This tool was designed for offshore boating and trekkers, but it’s small enough to attach to a dog collar. The device has a bread crumb tracker feature that will allow you to locate your dog as long as it is outside. This device works on the Global Iridium Satellite network so you can be sure it works everywhere. (Note: a few countries do not allow these devices. I have friends who had their device quarantined in India.)
The Garmin inReach Mini does require a subscription. The price is around $35 a month, but I strongly recommend it. Actually this device is a must have even if not travelling with a dog.
Life on the road can be tough for a dog. While every bit of the journey is stimulating for you, your dog won’t always feel the same way. To keep your dog occupied and well behaved on long hauls you should have:
- A treat dispenser to keep your dog occupied. (Don’t overfeed your dog before travel though)
- Chew toys
- An old shirt (while separated, familiar smells can keep your pal calm)
Other goodies to have with you
Travel can be unpredictable, but your dog’s health shouldn’t be. There are a few must have items to keep your dog healthy and active.
I recommend having a reusable treat pouch you can keep in your bag or on a belt. There are a lot of distractions on the road, and a treat is a little extra incentive to get you out of sticky situations. Even the best listening dogs can forget their training in a new environment.
You’ll also want to pick up a collapsible food and water bowls. Water is especially important to keep on hand. As you know it’s your dog will dehydrate fast in hot environments. But another big risk is questionable water. If you keep your dog well hydrated, he’s less likely to go after questionable water sources.
Make sure if your dog is on any sort of medications, you have enough to cover your travels with some reserves. Travelers with pets are more susceptible to unplanned delays. If travelling for a long time, have a plan for where you can resupply during your trip.
Even in a foreign 3rd world country you should still pick up after your dog. Have a roll of potty bags on hand.
Lastly, a spare leash or something that can double as a spare leash is a must. If you lose your leash, it gets damaged or lost, you’re going to need something. This isn’t like at home where a PetsMart is 5 minutes away.
Before your trip, you’re going to want to make sure your pet is well trained for life on the road. There are a few key areas your dog must be well trained in before even considering travel.
- Crate training
- Going potty on cue
- Coming when called
- Giving you their attention on command
Here is a great article from the American Kennel Club on training your dog for travel.
Getting Around With Your Dog
Moving around with your dog can feel like a chess match. Some methods are going to be easier than others. A lot easier. Flying is definitely a challenge, but other methods like driving aren’t bad. Let’s go over your options.
This is a big question. Even if you are already convinced you’re going to travel with your dog, please read through this section. Plane travel with a dog is not to be taken lightly.
When it comes to flying, there are two scenarios in dog travel.
#1 Traveling with a small dog.
Dog and their carrier, has a total weight less than 20 lbs.
#2 Traveling with a large dog.
Anything in the 20+ lb category including carrier
Why 20 lbs?
Many Airlines use the 20 lb rule to determine if a dog is cargo or if it may be kept as a carry on.
Flying with Small Dogs
Unlike large dogs, small dogs may be allowed to fly in the cabin with you. Not every airline allows dogs on board. Even if an airline allows a pet to fly, it may only be allowed on certain routes. For exact details on which routes allow for carry on dogs, check the links above in the Crate and Carrier section.
Ultimately a small dog is manageable. As long as your dog stays in it’s carrier for the entire duration of the flight, he will largely be treated as your personal item to store under the seat in front of you.
Really the only rules to keep in mind is your dog needs to be well behaved, and you need to make sure the legs of your flight are short enough that your dog doesn’t have to relieve himself on the plane.
Your only option for large dogs is flying them in cargo.
I STRONGLY advise against flying dogs as cargo.
First of all, any thought of flying with your dog in the cabin is out. There were some exceptions for service dogs before, but those days are over. You are going to have to ship your dog in cargo.
Let’s talk about the risks.
A US Department of Transportation Report identified over 630 major pet incidents on domestic flights alone between 2005-2018. The majority of those were deaths. The only incidents reported are severe incidents. There are plenty more minor incidents not accounted for.
Cargo flight is dangerous! Because of the liability, many airlines have strict rules on pet transportation.
Certain breeds are too risky to transport. Many airlines will only allow pet travel during certain seasons where there is less risk your pet will freeze to death or be cooked in high temperatures.
Something to think about
Do you plan on taking a long trip hopping around from place to place? If you cargo transport your dog, you’ll need a large hard crate for transportation. This means you’ll need to carry around that giant crate everywhere you go. Backpacking through Europe is a real drag when you’re literally dragging Fido’s crate from place to place.
And yet, people still crate their dog and fly them around the world.
Yes it does happen. I don’t personally agree with it, but it happens. Face it, you’ll feel terrible if you drag your large dog on a flight and they die or are permanently injured. Is it really worth it?
Still convinced you’re going to fly your dog?
Flying with a large dog guidelines
If you decide to bring your dog as Cargo there are some rules / guidelines to follow.
#1 Every flight must be less than 11 hours and 30 minutes. No exceptions.
The maximum allotted time a pet can be in the air without a break is 12 hours. 11 hours and 30 minutes gives airlines 30 minutes to get you and your dog through customs.
Honestly I recommend keeping your max flight time down to 8 hours. Delays happen and you can easily blow out the 12 hour window if that happens.
#2 You must give yourself extra time for layovers to find a place to let your dog relieve itself.
No quick layovers for dog owners. You’ll need time to give your dog a break from the last flight so he can eat, relieve himself, and rehydrate.
#3 Book Early
Just because an airline accepts dogs on a certain route does not guarantee your dog will be able to go.
Airlines only accept 1-4 dogs per flight.
You’ll also want to give yourself ample time to prepare for the airline’s rules. Since each airline is different, you’ll want to know who your flying with as early as possible.
#4 Save up some extra money for your trip
Traveling with a pet will almost always result in additional fees. Airlines charge between $100 and $200 dollars extra each way when flying with a dog.
#5 Keep a small bag of food with your dog when checking him
Travel delays happen, and if you have a small bag of food with your crate, the cargo team can make sure your pet is fed.
#6 Know where Fido is going and where you’ll pick to pick him up
Did you know not all cargo is the same? Depending on the size of your dog and the airline, your dog could be treated as checked baggage, or as regular cargo. Cargo gets dropped off and picked up at an entirely different section of the airport.
#7 Have all your paperwork on hand. Have duplicates in your pack
As the Navy Seals say, two is one and one is none. Always have backups of things like paperwork because these items are not easy to replace once you’re underway.
Make sure you know exactly what paperwork is needed for your airline, your exiting country and your destination country. Leave your contact info attached to your crate or carrier in case you need to be contacted by flight personnel at any time.
#8 Don’t surprise the Airline, and hopefully they won’t surprise you
In general you are required to let your airline know you will be travelling with a pet ahead of time. Make sure you are well prepared and they are comfortable with your plans as well.
Typically public transportation like trains, buses, and taxi’s do not allow large dogs on board. Small dogs (under 20 lbs combined weight) in carriers being the exception. Be prepared to pay a fee for your small dog. Here is an extensive guide for US public transit services to understand which services your dog may be allowed to travel on.
It is true people sneak their dogs on buses and subways all the time. Some operators don’t mind, but when you find one that does, you could be faced with hefty fines.
The one exception to public transportation with dogs seems to be ferries. Ferries are often more lenient, but it’s important to check with each ferry.
For travel, I would plan to rely only on private transportation. It’s true you may be able to bribe some drivers to let your dog on board when abroad. I would not count on it. These sorts of situations are unpredictable at best and are an opportune time for scammers to extort you.
Cars, Vans, & RV’s
Road travel is by far the most popular way to travel with Fido.
As far as driving laws go, you are supposed to restrain your dog while driving so they will not be a distraction. Restraints can be pretty much anything you can think of. A crate, carrier, doggy barrier, or seat belt (the leash attachable kind). If you’re travelling in your own car, the world is your oyster, but what about rentals?
Do car, and RV rental companies allow dogs?
Yes they do!
I have looked around extensively and couldn’t find any major rental company preventing dogs from their vehicles. I did uncover some important tips though.
#1 Some major rental companies like Enterprise rental require your pet to be crated while in the vehicle.
Double check with your preferred vehicle rental company for their policy. They won’t provide you with a crate, so you’ll have to have one ready ahead of time.
#2 All companies require you to return its vehicles with zero evidence of your pet.
That means, no dog prints, scratches, loose fur, etc. These companies will not look the other way if you return the vehicle with these things. You’ll be subjected to a substantial cleaning fee.
To get around these costs, it’s better to clean the vehicle yourself. While you may not want to keep your dog in a crate the whole time, it may be wise to minimize the amount of cleaning you’ll need to do at the end.
#3 In regards to pet size, I couldn’t find anyone with a breed, weight or height rule.
Sounds like if Fido fits in the car he’s good to go. The one reminder I did see however, is if you plan on taking your vehicle / RV to a park or campground, you need to be aware of any size / breed rules they have. Something to keep in mind.
Another popular means of getting around with your dog is by boat. Boats and dogs seem to be like PB&J. That said, I definitely have some guidelines from my research on the subject.
Beware of Import Rules When Arriving at Islands
If you plan on island hopping with your pet, know first off island’s are often a lot stricter with pets than major countries. Documentation on vaccinations must be flawless. Many island nations will require quarantine regardless. So you may want to reconsider visiting these places. There are some places that even prohibit dogs no matter what.
If you aren’t going to dock your boat, and you don’t bring your dog ashore, you can get away with keeping your dog with you without all the paperwork.
Not Every Marina is Dog Friendly
Every marina has different policies. You’ll need to check with each marina you plan to harbor at is pet friendly. Many are, but don’t assume.
Not all dogs are great boat dogs.
Not all dogs make great boat dogs. A boat is a confined space that’s always in motion. Boat incidents come in every shape and size and will require you to work quickly. A large dog in this case can be an issue. Sometimes you don’t have the luxury for your dog to get out of the way on a boat and you’ll need to physically move them quickly.
That could make a large dog an issue. Also, keep in mind shedding dogs in a confined space will be a lot of work. When you’re on a boat you won’t always be able to find a good place to groom and shed your dog. If you don’t mind pet hair great, but remember maintaining a clean space will be a lot more work.
Making your pet more comfortable
A boat is not a naturally friendly pet home, but with a few small adjustments it can be made a lot more comfortable.
Getting your dog on and off the boat can be challenging. A small ramp is an option, or using a dog harness to lift your dog in and out is another. Yet another reason why smaller dogs often make better boat dogs.
Boat decks can be both hot and slippery. Consider a few non slip rugs in the cockpit, or cover the deck in SeaDek to make it paw friendly.
Even if your dog is an excellent swimmer, it’s generally a good idea to keep your dog in a life jacket while underway. We all know dogs sometimes do crazy things and if your pet ends up overboard you’ll want to make sure he stays afloat until you can reach him.
For even more security, you may want to consider equipping your dog with a few man overboard essentials…
The ACT OLAS TAG.
This system will sound an alert if a pet or person falls into the water with the transponder. Another item I would recommend is a water activated light strobe. If your dog falls over at night or in rough seas, you’ll need the light strobe to locate him.
Last is a tether system. Some people say lifeline netting is enough to keep your dog on the right side of the boat, but I would argue having a tether anchored in the cockpit of the boat and to the life jacket of your dog is a much wiser bet. The tether should be long enough to give your dog some freedom, but short enough he can’t fall overboard in any direction.
Eating and pooping
All I will say about eating is to always have extra pet food on board. Boat passages, especially on a sailboat can take longer than expected. Provision extra food for unexpected delays.
Everyone wants to know about potty training a dog on board. I have read many stories about people easily training their dog, and very few people really having an issue with it.
People try to start with the astro-turf square but abandon it. I’m not saying don’t try it, but most people find letting your dog relieve himself on the boat deck and then scooping it up / washing it off is a lot easier.
Do dogs get seasick? Not all dogs, but many do. Some dogs get seasick for a few hours and then are fine after that, others need a little more empathy.
Can you give a dog seasick medication?
Yes, but beware.
Not all seasick medication is dog friendly. From my research Dramamine, and Cerenia are your two most friendly options. One is an over the counter option, and the other is prescription only. While Dramamine is human and pet friendly, Cerenia is for dogs only.
A few good articles for learning more about life aboard for dogs can be found here…
What Will Your Dog Eat?
Finding pet food in major cities all around the world is a google search away, but in less developed towns you’re going to struggle. Don’t count on finding your preferred brand.
While several major brands source their product from the same overseas manufacturers and ship international, many brands do not. Each country has their own brands and considering the pet industry is a lot smaller in some countries, expect a lot less options.
The good news is while less developed nations won’t have your pet’s preferred brand if any option at all, the food here is often cheaper.
What you paid back home for bowl of kibble is often more than enough to get your pet a freshly cooked meal of chicken and rice.
Fido will be eating like a prince.
How To Find Pet Friendly Lodging
While mainstream lodging has a fair number of options for pet friendly stays, I was curious about alternative stays. What about hostels, couch surfing, AirBnBs, etc. Are there opportunities to bring your pet with you when you stay outside of hotels? Here’s what I found.
The unicorn of pet-friendly stays.
I’ve heard they exist but couldn’t find any. Most hostel search sites don’t state what places are pet friendly. I searched dozens of listings on the 1-2 that did. I couldn’t find 1 place that identified as pet friendly.
Honestly, hostels are for budget travel and as you can see from other sections of this post, pet travel is anything but budget friendly. Dogs can add thousands of dollars in added expenses to long trips. If you’re serious about travelling with your dog, hostels probably aren’t on your itinerary. Hopefully this lays the question to rest.
Couch surfing places put you largely at the mercy of the home owner. This is not bad news. This means if the home owner is a dog person you may be in luck. The most important rule about bringing your dog on couch surfing is no surprises. Make it very apparent you would like to bring your dog with you.
Of course the home owner may refuse your request and at any time during the stay has the options to do so. Be sure to establish ground rules well before your arrival, and then reconfirm those rules when you arrive.
If you see dogs in their photos
If the host has a dog, don’t assume they are going to be cool with your dog. Ask the host if their dog is friendly with other dogs. Specifically mention your dog’s breed as this sometimes matters. If they are open to another dog in the house, talk to the host about the best way to introduce them to each other.
You really don’t want to intrude in a way that makes your host or their dog uncomfortable. Find out if there is anything you should be aware of that might irritate the host dog.
Bring your own gear with you. Don’t expect to rely on the host’s supplies for their dog. You should be self reliant and have all your bases covered for your own dog.
During your stay
Make sure to stay vigilant. Keep an eye on your dog. In a new space your pet might have unpredictable behavior. Even a well trained dog can stray in a new environment. It should go without saying, your host is not a pet sitter. Unless they offer, don’t assume you can leave your dog in the host’s home while you go explore.
Most of what applies to couch surfing applies to AirBnB rentals. Especially if the listing is for a private or shared room. The rules are essentially the same. For entire place listings there are a few additions.
Obviously the number one thing to do is to highlight the “Pets Allowed” filter when going through the listings. You need to do this regardless of the listing type. Once you have found a stay that allows pets, be sure to get in touch with the host for additional rules.
Ask about any additional fees. Just because you’re staying in an AirBnB and not a hotel does not exempt you from additional fees. Hosts have every right to charge a fee. Get clarification on any extra costs before you book.
Check what their rules are for leaving unaccompanied pets in the stay.
Shared AirBnB’s could result in drama with other guest. In general I would avoid shared stays with a dog. You’re dog might be people friendly, but not all people are dog friendly. On that note, don’t assume a place is “pet friendly” they might accommodate dogs, but that doesn’t mean the place is outfitted to be welcoming to dogs.
Bring your own supplies and be prepared to “dog proof” the place when you arrive.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
Some hosts can be very accommodating, especially if it’s a new listing and they need positive reviews. There is not harm in asking for help with things like finding pet food before your arrival. Don’t assume special asks are complementary, but a small bag of dog food on arrival could save you a lot of headache.
Make sure to recognize when a host goes above and beyond.
You Get Reviewed
Not only do they get a review but you do as well. Clean up after your pet inside and out. Even though most places include a cleaning fee, we all know pets can leave a bigger mess than anticipated. Bring lint rollers for shedding pets. Check the backyard for poop before you leave. Do a once over for any damages.
Your future AirBnB cred depends on a good experience. Too many bad reviews and you could get banned from the service.
Many (Not All) hotels are pet friendly to some degree. But beware, just because a hotel identifies as pet friendly, they may limit the number of pets in each location. Always always call ahead.
Some hotels charge a non-refundable pet fee. A common budget-friendly hotel fee is $20 per day. Some hotels like La Quinta and Motel 6 do not charge a fee. As the quality of a hotel goes up so too does their pet fees. Not every hotel charges, but this is generally the trend.
Don’t wait until check-in to let the hotel know you have a dog. Confirm the pet policy before you reserve your room. Even the most pet friendly hotels will have some stipulations laid out in their pet policy. During check in a Pet Policy Agreement will need to be reviewed and signed. Here are some common pet policies.
- No more than 1-2 pets per room.
- Doggy damages to the room will incur additional fees.
- Pets must be on-leash or in-carrier when outside of the room.
- No dogs in the breakfast areas or by the pool.
- Housekeeping must be scheduled for when your pet is not present.
- The hotel management has discretion to deem a dog disruptive. If this happens while you’re away, they have the right to call animal control for removal.
Leaving Your Dog Behind
Don’t ditch your pet right away
Be sure the hotel’s pet policy allows you to leave pets unattended. Note any limitations on the length of time pets may be alone.
Before you leave, create a comfortable space for your pet. If they have a crate, lay a blanket over the crate. Leave a light on, and let the television run. Keep the curtains shut. Make sure the “Do Not Disturb” card is placed outside the door. You want the space to feel safe, but also minimize distractions from outside the room.
Keep your time away from the room short or at least check in regularly. Hotels can be noisy and unpredictable. With lots of guests roaming the halls or making noises in their rooms, there are lots of distractions that can excite your dog.
Where To Leave Your Dog For Day Trips
If you want to take some day trips or even multi day trips without Fido, you have options.
Pet sitting can be commonly found in many modern countries, however be aware the costs can really stack up. Making a pet sitter a regular part of your travels could really burn a hole in your pocket. Sitters often charge $20-$60+ a day depending on the country you’re in.
Major pet sitting services to explore:
- Rover (US & Europe)
- Wag (US Only)
- PetBacker (Global)
- Trusted House Sitters (Global)
- Pet Sitters International (Global)
Some Pet friendly hotels offer Pet sitting, but we find this to be the exception rather than the rule. More often than not, your pet is allowed in the room when you are, but if you leave the room, your expected to take your pet with you.
Most pet sitting operations will expect your dog to be well behaved, and up to date medically. Since you should already have your pet’s medical records in place for travelling this should not be a challenge, but make sure to have up to date copies with you for your pet sitters.
What To Do If You Lose Your Dog
Losing a pet while travelling can be pretty devastating even if it’s only for a moment. First, there is prevention. Prevention is about what you can do to avoid losing your pet. Second, there is reaction. Reaction is all the steps you can take to recover your dog.
There are a number of tools for prevention as mentioned before in Doggy Travel Gear.
You should have on your dog is a collar with your contact info on it. While travelling abroad, your contact info may change.
If you get a local sim card, your phone # will be different. In that case, you’ll want to use an id with an insertable id. These work like luggage tags. You can use a pen to write in your contact info. Include your email address.
Other items to keep on you might include:
- A traditional whistle to get your dogs attention
- A small pouch of special treats in a hard container.
- The hard container allows you to shake it to get your dog’s attention.
- A picture of your dog folded up in your wallet.
Panic may start to set in if your dog is missing. Try to remain calm.
It is important to begin your search as soon as you realize your dog is missing. As time goes on in your effort to recover your dog, you’ll have to adjust your strategy. The longer your dog is lost, the more help you’ll need.
Hour 0 – 2
As soon as you lose your dog, you should immediately try to entice your dog’s return. Call his or her name, whistling, shaking a treat bag, anything to grab your dog’s attention. Don’t give up with this strategy.
I had a dog on a large farm. Calling his name and rattling a box was enough to call him back from over a mile away.
If you have tracking on your dog, you should use this to recover your dog as soon as you’ve lost sight of them.
As time goes on, you’ll be inclined to panic more and more. It’s important to stay calm, because as time goes on, you’ll need to enlist additional help. People are more open to help when they are approached by a calm individual.
If you have not been able to recover your dog after a couple hours, you should begin enlisting others for help.
This is the time to start asking passers by if they have seen your dog. If you have that picture handy, use it. In some places stray dogs are rampant, and you need to help them distinguish your dogs from other dogs in the area. Language barriers can be an issue with international travelers. The picture will help bridge any language barriers.
If it gets on to several hours and you have still not recovered your dog, it’s time to scale up your search.
The first thing to do would be to make flyers with your dog’s picture and your contact info. Place up posters around the last known area of your missing dog, and pass out additional flyers to any local animal shelters, local vets, local adoption clinics, and the local police.
During this time you should have your phone on you and charged at all times in case a call comes in.
Another great tool you can use is Facebook. Search for any local community Facebook groups and share a missing dog post on there.
It is rare for recovery to go this long, but it does happen. There is still a reasonable chance your dog will be reunited with you even after a few days so don’t lose hope.
It is important to regularly check in with any place you’ve reached out to. While recovery of your dog is at the top of your list, it may not be theirs. Don’t pester them, but check in once a day or so for any updates.
Beyond a week, your chances of recovery become a lot less. For one, the focus of your enlisted resources will start to move on to other issues.
You may also be nearing the end of your travels. If you can not remain in the area, make sure you gather and organize the contact info of everyone you’ve reached out to.
For international travelers, reach out to the local embassy or consulate and let them know the situation. Keep in contact with local animal groups and check local adoption websites in case your missing dog makes it on one of them.
While it is rare for dogs to be recovered this long out, it is not unheard of.
What To Do If Your Dog Gets Sick Or Hurt
We all hope it never happens, but knowing what to do when it does could be the difference between a minor mishap and a major event. Accidents happen when traveling. It happens to people and it happens to dogs.
Are there vets overseas?
Yes there are vets overseas, but they’re usually only inside the major cities for less developed countries.
Even in Islamic dominant countries where owning a dog is either illegal or frowned upon, you can still find pet hospitals. They’re rare but they do exist. In western nations, vets are more common throughout the country.
Can your home vet help?
It’s always good to keep in contact with your home vet if you have someone. You are likely to run into language barriers. Your home vet can help you figure out a baseline of where to start from. This doesn’t solve language barriers but it can cut out a lot of steps.
Are foreign vets expensive?
At lesser known places treatment can be very affordable. Services like rabies shots and blood work can be as little as $10-20 usd, but these places won’t necessarily look like the western hospitals you’re used to.
Even in less developed countries you can find clean modern vet hospitals, but be prepared to pay western prices for what you receive.
Should I get an insurance policy for my pet?
While travel insurance is not something I can recommend, your pet’s health insurance policy from home may cover you abroad so long as the vets you’re visiting are licensed.
That’s where things get tricky.
Outside of the most prominent pet hospitals, you might not be able to find a licensed vet. The good news is the treatment is often cheaper at these locations so the need to lean on insurance is less.
Should/ can I end my trip early?
If your dog is sick and needs to return home, remember there are multiple travel standards for how your pet must look and behave when arriving to an airport.
You might need to plan extra time for your pet to recover before choosing to fly home. Air travel is stressful as well, so think hard about putting them through air travel if they’re already in pain.
What should I do if my pet dies while traveling?
In the most unfortunate of circumstances, you may need to deal with a dying or dead pet abroad.
If you feel your pet needs to be put down for age or health reasons, remember some countries view death differently. In buddhist countries, for example, life is sacred and many veterinary doctors do not euthanize.
“Public health officials are required to make sure an animal didn’t die of a disease that can spread to people. They may have to do an animal autopsy or conduct other tests, at your cost, to figure out the cause of death. The animal’s remains often cannot be returned to you after this testing.”
Will Your Dog need To Be Sedated Or Quarantined?
The good news is your dog will not be sedated while travelling. I have read through a lot of reports and have not found a single case of a dog being sedated upon arrival or leaving a country.
Some owners choose to sedate their dog before travel but it’s highly recommended to avoid this. Pets may respond differently to sedatives in a pressurized cabin. They also may be unable to care for themselves in the even of a rough trip.
Quarantine is another story. While quarantine is not a regular event for most countries, there are several countries that mandate it, and others require it in certain scenarios.
Why may my dog be quarantined?
Your dog will be quarantined in certain rabies free countries regardless, and in several other rabies controlled countries, your dog may be quarantined for one of two reasons. The first is not having the proper medical paperwork and the other is if your dog shows signs of poor health.
Many countries require at a minimum a rabies Titer test to show your pet has been vaccinated and does not carry rabies. You may also need a minimum number of days after the test before entering a country. It’s usually between 30 and 180 days minimum.
This is in addition to the check up which must be done within a few days before travel. If you arrive without documentation of this test, or you arrive sooner than the minimum time, your dog will likely be quarantined.
Even with proper documentation, your dog may be quarantined in certain countries if they appear to be in poor health. This is to avoid other health risks like foot and mouth disease.
When will my dog be quarantined?
Your dog will be quarantined immediately upon arrival to several countries regardless of their origin country. This is often before you even get to see them upon arrival. Your first chance to see your pet may be after a medical evaluation is done, or it may not be until the end of the quarantine.
In these cases, it is critical your pet travels with any medication he or she may need along with detailed instructions for administration.
What rights do you have?
You do not have any right to refuse quarantine. Doing so could result in fines / jail time for pet owners. Visitation rights vary by country for quarantined pets.
Will your dog be alright?
Yes, while many quarantine facilities are spartan, they do provide a safe healthy environment for animals.
If visitation is allowed it is still a good idea to check on your pet, but it’s safe to assume your dog will leave quarantine in as good of health as when he arrived.
Is quarantine free?
No. You’ll be subjected to a fee for your pet’s quarantine duration.
What to do if it happens
Preparation is better than reaction. It’s a good idea to do your research and identify where quarantine facilities are located, costs for quarantine, and visitation laws associated with quarantine.
If your pet is subjected to a quarantine, make sure you have the following details before leaving customs.
- Where your dog will be sent / where you will need to take your dog
- Where to pick your dog up after quarantine?
- Contact info for the quarantine authority group
- Acknowledgement of reception of medication by the quarantine authority
- Visitation rules and hours for visitation
Where Your Dog Can And Can’t Go
While some countries have very strict policies about crossing into their country with a dog, most countries are generally pet friendly. Most countries are accustomed to pet ownership however there are of course exceptions.
Japan, Greece, India, and others
You’ll often hear Japan, Greece, and India topping the list for poor treatment of dogs. While this is true, they are usually referring to stray dogs. If you are dead set on going to these places with a dog it is important to not let your dog wander off and be mistaken as a stray. Pets on the other hand are accepted.
In Islamic centric countries dogs in public is often forbidden.
This is a result of changing interpretations of Muslim rules. In Islamic culture, dogs can be a source of bad hygiene, and can make women and children feel unsafe.
Keeping dogs out of public spaces is done to protect the people in public spaces and make them feel safe. Muslims do not condone any violence towards dogs, they recognize the utility of dogs as well, but in in public populated spaces, there are strict regulations.
This guide is meant to provide a general overview of travelling with your dog domestically, and internationally. If you are determined to take your dog abroad, you should do some more research on the specific regions you expect to visit. Pet laws are similar for many countries, but each country has their own unique laws as well.