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Pet passport

How to have a happy holiday with your dog

Just as we can become less adventurous as we age, older dogs may be more reluctant to leave familiar surroundings than they used to be. Click on the map below to read some inspiring stories and tips from fellow owners that could help reignite that spirit of adventure.

Travelling with your pet? Refer to your policy documents for information about how your pet is covered abroad.

Did you know?

  • Several European Union countries introduced the Pet Travel Scheme in 2001 – it’s been expanding ever since.
  • One in five people are now taking their dogs on holiday with them.
  • Nearly 80% of dog owners say they would travel with their dog within the UK if the accommodation were dog-friendly.
  • A third of people admit to talking to their dog on the phone or leaving them voicemail messages if they haven’t taken their dog away with them on holiday!
  • 16% of dog owners are willing to spend at least £200 more to take their dog along on holiday.
  • A quarter of Brits have opted to stay at home rather than go on holiday because they were so worried about leaving pets behind.

Read our travel checklist to make sure you have everything you need to keep your canine companion happy and healthy on holiday.

Sasha travelled to Spain

Sasha and Yvonne and John Rupp

Dog Sasha
Age 11
Breed Weimaraner
Owners Yvonne and John Rupp
Travelled To Spain

‘Sasha’s been our companion for a long time, and we thought long and hard about the practicalities of taking her with us when we retired to Alicante in Spain. But it was so simple in the end, and she found the transition straightforward. We had to ensure her pet passport was in order and book all the necessary vaccinations, and we had Sasha microchipped too. But we were pleased to discover that, as long as there’s no quarantine, you can keep your dog with you all the time you’re travelling – which means you can make sure they’re happy.

‘One of the big changes was the heat. We’re very conscious about not going out too much during the hottest part of the day and have several water bowls at home for Sasha, as well as making sure she can always be in the shade. We even have to think about how hot the pavement might be for her feet, which was rarely a problem in the UK! Like us, though, she loves this country and the outdoor life.’

Read our travel checklist to make sure you have everything you need to keep your canine companion happy and healthy on holiday. Petplan covers pets travelling for a limited time in EU member states and territories that are included in the Pet Travel Scheme, however policy holders must be UK residents. Check your policy documents for more information about taking your pet abroad.

Bobby travelled in and around Essex

Bobby and Maureen and Tony Baxter

Dog Bobby
Age 10
Breed Norfolk Terrier crossed with Border Terrier
Owners Maureen and Tony Baxter
Travelled In and around Essex, including the beach at Thorpe Bay

‘We’re proud owners of a TVR Tuscan sports car, and go on an outing with other TVR owners every month. The only difference with us is that we take our terrier Bobby along with us! We’ve made a special platform between the two front seats so that he can sit safely and comfortably between us. As the car is a convertible, it’s especially important that he can’t jump out unexpectedly when we come to a stop; we did our research before taking Bobby in the car and took advice from experts before buying a harness which keeps him strapped in securely.

‘Like any terrier, he’s excitable, so we always give him plenty of positive attention to make sure he stays calm and undistracted during the journey – especially when the roof’s down. Before we embarked on any adventures we made sure Bobby became accustomed to the car and the safety measures by letting him sit in it while it was stationary. Now, as a seasoned traveller, he’s very comfortable there with the wind in his fur and all the sights and smells of an outing around him.

‘Before we leave for a trip out in the car, Bobby sits at the back door as if to say, “Are we going now?!” He’s a regular fixture at the TVR meetings we go to, and he relishes all the fuss the other owners make of him. He’s particularly happy in the summer months when we’re all outside and having a barbecue where he might be given a treat to eat.’

Read our travel checklist to make sure you have everything you need to keep your canine companion happy and healthy on holiday. For advice on pet travel sickness and other car-related travel concerns, click here.

Dood travelled to Germany

Dood and Emily Scott Bolton

Dog Dood
Age 14
Breed Lurcher
Owners Emily and Hugo Scott Bolton
Travelled To Germany

‘We’ve been going on holiday to Germany frequently for the past eight years. I’m fortunate because as Dood has got older, I have been able to leave her at home with my parents whenever I’ve felt that she wasn’t up to the length of the journey. But when she does come with us, we usually take several days to do the drive to the Italian border where we stay, and I make sure that we stop frequently for Dood to relieve herself and stretch her legs. We give her a proper foam bed to rest on in the back of the car to protect her joints, and the detachable sunshades you can stick on the car windows are great for regulating the car’s temperature. Little things like that really matter to an older dog.

‘She’s a great passenger though, and as long as we have some of her familiar home comforts like her normal food to eat and a rug to lie on, she’s very content and enjoys the journeys. The best thing is that Dood is so welcome at the places we visit because we’ve been there together so many times over the years.’

Read our travel checklist to make sure you have everything you need to keep your canine companion happy and healthy on holiday. For advice on pet travel sickness and other car-related travel concerns, click here.

Archie travelled to the Peak District

Archie and Steve and Ginny Radley

Dog Archie
Age 12
Breed Black Labrador
Owners Steve and Ginny Radley
Travelled To The Peak District

‘Archie already spends all of the working day with Steve, so I think he’d wonder what on earth was going on if we went on holiday without him. We have to remember sometimes that he’s not as agile as he used to be, so just as our children have got better at going on longer hikes with us, Archie has slowed down a bit and we need to take that into account. We stop frequently, stay on the main walking paths so he can amble along with us without worrying about navigating obstacles, and never set out on a route that might be too long for him.

‘It’s funny how places he visited as a younger dog can bring out his youthful side. There are some walks we do in the Peak District where he’ll swim in the river just as he would have done several years ago. I make more fuss about properly drying him off with a towel and getting him warm again these days though, as he suffers from arthritis and the cold can worsen the symptoms.’

Read our travel checklist to make sure you have everything you need to keep your canine companion happy and healthy on holiday.

Radish travelled to London

Radish and Jo and Tom Ridge

Dog Radish
Age 11
Breed Chocolate Labrador
Owners Jo and Tom Ridge
Travelled To London

‘Radish is every inch the country dog. We’re lucky enough to have a large garden that he can run around in, and he has plenty of time off the lead when we take him for walks. It came as a surprise for him, then, when we took him to London. We were going to an event and we left him with a friend in the city rather than leaving him at home for the day. We all got the train together on the way up, and he seemed to take the whole thing in his stride!

‘Not everyone knows that you can take your dog on the train, but it’s a great way to travel as you can give your dog all the attention he needs. It’s also a comfortable way for dogs to travel because they have room to stretch their legs if necessary (although you do need to keep them on a lead unless they’re in a basket or carrier). You do need to bear in mind, though, that there are no toilet facilities on board for doggies – you'll know how long your pup can go without a break so plan your journey carefully just as you would for a longer trip in the car.

‘Once we got to London, Radish seemed pretty comfortable with all the new sights, sounds and smells. Perhaps if he’d been younger he might have found it all a bit overexciting, but we knew his personality well enough to predict that he’d stay calm and take it all in. We’ve familiarised Radish with traffic and urban noises in our local town since he was a puppy so it wasn’t all a complete shock and once we got to the capital we gave him plenty of reassurance and didn’t rush. In the end, all of us had a great day out, and everyone, including Radish, fell asleep on the train on the way home.’

Read our travel checklist to make sure you have everything you need to keep your canine companion happy and healthy on holiday.

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