Top tips for travelling with your dog

Paul Wojnicki, author of France: A Woof Guide, takes his dog Falco with him wherever he goes and in this guest blog he gives us his top tips for travelling with your dog - from how to get there to finding a vet!

Getting to Europe

Man walking dog

I love the Eurotunnel because it allows you and your pet to stay together for the entire journey and is relatively inexpensive if you travel late in the evening. 

If you're travelling further west in France (Brittany, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley) there's no beating Brittany Ferries’ new Portsmouth to Le Havre route which now has dedicated dog friendly cabins. 

Then of course there's Brittany Ferries' legendary dog friendly Portsmouth to Bilbao route that is also ideal for many destinations in south west France.  

If you're going on a boating holiday you might as well start with a ferry ride eh?  

Getting around the continent 

Golden retriever

Belgium, Holland and Germany have toll free roads but France doesn't. I often leave the car in a secure car park at Marne la Vallee (a suburb of Paris) when travelling to the south of France and use the ultra-fast and ultra-cheap Ouigo service, which costs from €10 per adult, €5 per child and €30 per dog one way!

This means it's possible to travel from Paris to the Mediterranean for less than £100 return! I then rent a car at the destination. The cost of car hire and train fares is often less than driving south. 

Travel essentials 

Dogs next to boat

I'd never let Falco off lead abroad without a pet tracker, I'd hate to think I lost him anywhere let alone a foreign country. Make sure your has European maps on it, my Garmin has this as standard.

If you're travelling in the winter months some countries require winter tyres, while all countries have different rules about what you MUST have in your car. See the AA's website for details. If you're travelling in summer, you'll need air conditioning in the car, a haircut for the dog and a rucksack to carry water and the dog's bowl in. Inflatable water bowls are very convenient and readily available online. 

Finding a vet

 Dog and castle

If you travel overseas with a dog you're going to need to visit a vet in order to be allowed back again. Current regulations require owners to worm their dogs (with a registered vet) 1-5 days before returning to the UK. There are two ways you can find a vet, the first of which is to find your destination on Google maps, then use the “Search Nearby” option to find a vet in the area.

The second option of course is to download your free copy of France: A Woof Guide between the 27th April and the 1st May. If you’re travelling outside of France but still within Europe, check out my book Europe: A Woof Guide – which will be available to buy from June onwards!