How to travel Europe with a dog

by Carlie Porterfield
Stripes Europe

For canine lovers, Europe may be the most dog-friendly region of the world — but there are still things to keep in mind when taking Fido along with you on your travels.

One thing to consider when traveling with a dog is the kind of holiday you are after. While your pup will be great to have on an outdoorsy trip exploring national parks and long walks through city centres, bringing them along means you will most likely be turned away from museums, churches and art galleries.

Dogs are a good addition for days in old, historic cities. When you are walking through and viewing landmarks from the outside, there is no danger of being told your dog is not allowed. There is no shortage of self-guided walks throughout European towns online; print one out to bring along or email it to yourself, and follow along on your cell phone.

The best time to travel in Europe with a dog is when it is warm enough to spend plenty of time outside with your pup without fear of them overheating. Most European cities have cafes and restaurants with terraces or patios to enjoy meals outdoors. Dogs are generally allowed at most city parks (one notable exception are those in Paris),outdoor markets and squares. Several of the most dog-friendly European countries are Germany, France and Italy.

The trickiest part of traveling with a dog is getting it across borders. Just like people, dogs need paperwork and boxes to check before they are cleared for travel. Generally, that means having a pet passport, microchi and up-to-date vaccinations. The nice thing about Europe is that once your pup is cleared, the rules for traveling within continental European countries is generally the same — think of it as a Schengen area for dogs! The full set of rules can be found online. Keep in mind some countries have additional guidelines for entry, such as Ireland and the United Kingdom. Be sure to double check the rules of each country on your itinerary to avoid disappointment at the border.

Most small dogs are allowed on trains (one notable exception is the Eurostar) and in the cabin of many European air carriers. The easiest way to transport your pup to your destination or between stops may be by undertaking an old-fashioned road trip. It ensures you flexibility to change up your plans and allows for plenty of toilet breaks for your dog. If you do not own a car on European soil, many car rental companies have pet-friendly policies.

Accommodation can be tricky — some hotels would rather you leave your dog at home, but in many places, your pups are welcome. It is worth calling front desks to check before you book, and many travel sites have recommendations for pet-friendly accommodation.

Taking your dog on the road may require clearing additional obstacles, but the experience of traveling with a beloved pet is worth the extra effort.

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