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While the current spread of COVID-19 doesn’t allow for much international travel, there’s nothing stopping you from thinking about the next trip you’ll take with your pup — even if it is WAY in the future. Here, we outline how to take your pup on an international trip, as well as some ideal dog-friendly destination suggestions.
So you’ve done hours of research, created your bucket lists, planned itineraries, backup itineraries — the whole shebang! But the company you keep on an international trip can make or break it — and there’s no better company than your furry friends.
Most pet owners leave for their trips equal parts excited for the vacation and heartbroken at leaving their four-legged best friends behind. And while people chalk it up to being too stressful, or not finding pet-friendly holidays, if you actually do your homework, you’ll find that traveling with your dog can actually be the stuff of paw-fection.
Phase 1: Pre-Travel Prep
Before you embark on your journey, you’ll need to do some groundwork to ensure that your trip is a success:
Do your homework
Before you make your bookings, research to see if your destination is a rabies-free or rabies-controlled country. Considering current events, you’ll also want to make sure that the port of entry at your chosen destination is fully functional, and back to business-as-usual.
These factors could determine how long you spend at customs and what preparations you need to make — for instance, traveling from a rabies-controlled to a rabies-free country could prove to have some complications because of pet travel regulations, and might require you to get your dog vaccinated against a host of diseases.
Schedule a visit to the vet
Each country has its own rules for pets, but most require your dog to be microchipped and vaccinated for rabies. Vaccination requirements differ depending on the destination — for instance, some countries require that your dog has had a DHPPi. A visit to the vet is critical to make sure your dog is ready to travel and is also a great opportunity for you to break out your list of pet-related questions and clear up any concerns you may have about your upcoming trip. Even though many countries require your pet to have certain vaccinations just shortly before they travel, there’s no harm in consulting with your vet in advance — if least to be adequately prepared when travel restrictions around the world are lifted.
Get your paperwork together
When it comes to holiday paperwork, pets don’t have it easy either. Traveling to foreign countries means securing the right permits, certificates, and passports for your pet to make sure your trip is smooth sailing. Here is where you really get down to planning documentation to the last letter and ensure you’ve got all the boxes ticked. For example, if you’re planning to visit the Philippines, this article by PhilippinesVisa lays out all the requirements for taking your pet into the country.
Prep your pup
New environments and new people can be overwhelming for your pet. It’s extremely important to ready them for their journey and make sure they feel as comfortable and safe as possible. This means training them to be around strangers, developing a specific feeding schedule, getting them used to loud sounds and breaking in travel carriers beforehand so they’re comfy on the trip.
Phase 2: Going On Tour
Now that you’ve got the hard stuff covered, it’s time for the fun part: deciding where to go!
A road trip
The open road, the wind in your hair and your dog’s ears flapping in the breeze — that’s the life!
Dogs love cars, and a road trip is a no-fuss way for both of you to get out of town. Be prepped and ready for your road trip with tips from this article by Meyer Van Severen, SC, like keeping your pet leashed, getting regular oil changes, having an emergency kit on board and practicing safe driving. We’ve also written a previous article on must-try hacks for road-tripping with your dog, which is sure to be useful.
A Parisian escape
Paris really is the city of (puppy) love! Stroll through picturesque parks, explore the city by metro or stop at a quaint bakery for a meal, all with your furry friend. What’s more — you don’t have to compromise on accommodation with some of Paris’ best hotels being dog-friendly, as this helpful guide by Forbes reports.
A canine-friendly Canadian vacation
A country that isn’t just friendly, but pet-friendly, Canada has plenty of vacation spots your pup will love. Take a hike in Quebec along the scenic trails of Parc Doncaster or have a beach day at Baie De Beauport. Head to Vancouver, where you and your dog can take in nature at it’s finest as you walk a 460-foot long suspension bridge at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
Bond with your pup in Barcelona
The seaside, the architecture and endless beauty make sunny Barcelona the perfect place to bond with your pet. From playing fetch in Antoni Gaudi’s famous Park Güell to traveling back in time in the old streets of the Gothic Quarter, Barcelona has plenty to offer, while keeping your pup in mind too. Magical locations like the National Palace and the fountain at Montjuïc means that this vacation will be one you’ll never forget.
These are just a handful of options of international journeys you and your dog can embark upon together. With current restrictions and country lockdowns in effect, you may not instantly be able to go on holiday — but you can definitely plan for the future. Considering the amount of research required to take your dog on a trip, now is a great time to start preparing — and with the right preparation, the world can be at your fingertips. So the next time you think you can’t travel internationally because you’ll miss your pup – think again! Adventure is out there, and with your furry best friend by your side, it’s bound to be unforgettable.
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the pacific northwest. You can follow her on twitter @Jori Hamilton and see more of her work at writerjorihamilton.contently.com.