We want to bring our dog, Pepper, on our travels around Europe. Europe is meant to be about the most dog-friendly part of the world, but for Pepper, it’s not so easy.
Pepper is our 2-year-old pedigree Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She is very loving, always wanting to say hello and lick you; and is so gentle with her best friend, our daughter Olivia. I can’t decide who will enjoy the travelling more, with plenty of walking and exploring to do, and a pot of bubbles which they both love how could we go wrong.
Research – George always makes me research…
We thought travelling through Europe with a dog would be quite simple, but wanted to do some research to see what we needed; we started out with the usual questions:
- Will Pepper require a pet passport? What is a pet passport anyway?
- What vaccinations will she need?
- Did she need to be wormed?
- Can she travel on a ferry?
- Do dogs still need to be quarantined?
We first started looking at blogs on travelling in Europe with dogs, this then led us to the Pet Travel site which was really useful, although not all the information was up to date and in some cases a little vague.
Unfortunately, we found out a bit more than we bargained for when we tried to answer those simple questions.
The answer to most of the questions was yes. Yes, she would need a pet passport which we can get from our vets for around £140; yes, she would need a vaccination for rabies, 21 days before we leave and yes, some countries require her to be wormed before we enter. Update 2022, this information is now out of date, see our updated post brexit travel with dogs to the EU info here.
Thankfully due to the passport she would not need to be quarantined, which means we will not need to be parted from her which is great. Yes, most ferries allow dogs onboard, as long as they stay in the vehicle they are travelling in. This is fine for us and just means a stop off before we board for a nice walk and some play time; something that I am sure both Olivia and Pepper would benefit from before boarding a boat anyway. For more information on travelling in Europe with a dog please see our post on travelling between the UK and Europe with a dog.
Things were going well, until we surprisingly discovered that due to her breed some countries class Pepper as a dangerous dog! Meaning in some countries, she would need to be registered, muzzled, kept on a short lead, and in some cases is banned from entering the country entirely!
This came as a massive shock to us and was not something we ever considered an issue, we were devastated. Would this mean that all of our plans were ruined before we even started? We understand some people have issues with the larger or muscular breeds but would never have thought this would stop us from travelling. We believe there is no such thing as a dangerous dog, only bad owners. When we got Pepper, we did a lot of research into which breed to get, especially as we had a small child; and we picked a Staffordshire Bull Terrier as they are known as nanny dogs, and both the RSPCA and the Kennel Club both say they make great family pets.
Once we found out there might be an issue over her breed we spent hours researching each country we wanted to travel to. In some cases, this information was really hard to find, with lots of sites contradicting each other or holding out of date information; we even contacted several foreign embassies to get clarification! So to help us and others like us we have put together all the information we could find, and for all of that detailed information, please read our post on travelling with dangerous dogs in Europe.
What we found
Some of the countries we want to visit will let Pepper in with no issue, and others require Pepper to have 3rd party liability insurance. Now, we already have pet insurance for Pepper which has liability insurance, but unfortunately, only covers trips abroad for a maximum 60-day stay, so we need to look for alternative or additional insurance.
Also, some countries insist on Pepper being muzzled and on a short lead at all times, not something I particularly want to do, but a requirement of being in public in certain locations. I plan on getting one soon and then slowly getting Pepper used to it before we leave. What kind of muzzle should my dog wear? What should I watch out for with a muzzle? Will my dog be comfortable with a muzzle? All questions I still need to find out.
For us, this means we will have to rethink some of our plans and from time to time we will need to leave Pepper back in the UK with family while we travel; which is extremely sad but the only thing we can do if we want to go to these locations. This has all turned out to be a lot more stressful and complicated than we had considered. I am glad that we have done our research and know what we need to put in place to hopefully travel with Pepper. LLet’shope that we have done enough research and we have no legal issues on our travels.
What surprises me the most, is that the laws are not uniform across all the EU countries. I thought that was one of the great things about the system, that we had the same rules. Clearly, this is not the case. While the EU does have a rule about travelling with animals, there is still a lot of flexibility for each member state on how it is implemented and what additional restrictions are applied.
Who would have thought travelling with a dog would be so hard? Why is it so hard to get clear and correct information on the rules?