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Traveling with a Pet in Europe

By Patricia Clark

I don’t know if there is a language problem among dogs; however ShadyLady, the American Sheltie, has never failed to voice her comments to dogs in Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, France, Luxemburg, Austria, and Italy.

Throughout the European Union small pets accompanying their owners are welcome. Some hotels attach a non refundable surcharge to the statement; the amount is determined by the individual hotel managers. We found that the usual amount is 10 Euro.

Best Western Hotels, Holiday Inns, Golden Tulip, Radisson SAS all suggested contacting the individual hotel management for information regarding their pet policy. Driving through Switzerland, we were turned away one time but the hotel manager suggested another hotel in the area that did not have a problem with dogs. Staying in downtown Munich, Germany the only problem was locating a nearby park in the area for a potty stop. Pet Friendly Europe

In Limburg, Germany, my dog, who was quietly sitting under the table in a pastry shop, was served cookies by the waiter. Dogs are accepted on trains (intercity railway) and other public transportation (buses and streetcars) if you purchase a reduced price ticket for them. Taxi and limo drivers are often reluctant to accept dogs but since she is small, 23 pounds, I have never been rejected. Dogs are accepted on drive-on ferries and ferries between the islands without a ticket.

I have learned it is wise to have your pet’s health certificate and vaccination record at hand when entering another country. However, I have only been questioned about the records one time and that was when re-entering the United States on the second of our four trips. So far the authorities in Europe do not question but I, to be safe, never cross a border with out the papers.

Food

This was a very pleasant surprise. All major supermarket type brands of food are available. The availability would include special diets for seniors, puppy, and the active adult. The only problem I did have was an inability to locate what one might call the designer foods, which are normally available at outlets like Pet Smart in the States. Cans of mixed cat food and dog food are readily available, search a bit and you will be able to find everything you require.

Shady, my Sheltie, has never been to see the Queen, although I understand she is fond of dogs. Getting into the country is not a problem; it is the duration of the quarantine, reducing travel to prohibitive status through the country. England has eliminated some of their restrictions on animals entering the country; i.e., dogs from the Netherlands can come into the country without quarantine if proof can be provided that the animal has been in the Netherlands for the previous six months and if the animal will remain in one place after entering the UK.

Air Travel between the U.S. and Europe

As excess luggage, three different airlines, and the ticket price remain the same $100/$125. Here, I emphasize, plan ahead, do not procrastinate; inform the airline you will be traveling with a dog as excess luggage. If the pet and container will not fit under ones seat, it must be shipped in the luggage compartment. When checking luggage at the ticket counter be sure that the clerk is aware of your pet’s prior reservation.

You can purchase the travel kennel/crate from the airline if in advance they are aware you will require one. If you do not have a travel kennel, purchasing in advance at a local pet store is not cheaper and might not be acceptable. The flight is long. Be sure that you plan the flight so ample time is available to rest stop, water and walk your pet before the final over ocean flight.

The airline personnel can be very accommodating if they are aware you cannot or will not fly if the animal is not on the same flight. They will also check to be sure that your animal is loaded on your flight.

During the flight food is not as important as is water. You can beg and or buy ice in small quantities to pack into the pet dish located in the kennel/crate. Ice will tend to melt rather slowly giving your pet a limited but available supply of water.

Locked out

My experience traveling with a dog would not be complete if I failed to tell about the frightening and later amusing lesson learned. My dog has trained me into believing that if awakened in the middle of the night, by her, the trip is necessary. Our room was on the fourth floor of a family hotel in Switzerland, three a.m., Shady indicated we should take a walk and the trip was urgent. Up – quickly into my clothes and my husband agreed to come along.

Down in the elevator, then walked into a completely dark lobby, no night light, no exit light. No lights and it is an urgent trip. Blindly we found the entrance/exit with automatic doors but they are locked. With both of us feeling the walls on either side of the doors we found the release for the door. I ran out the door with Shady and across the parking lot to locate grass, my husband wisely lingered inside the dark lobby. When I returned to the door, it would not operate and I was alone in the parking lot.

Interesting the things that will go though ones mind at such a time: no coat, no purse with identification, no light, no car keys, just the dog and I outside a hotel in Switzerland on a very dark night. The end went well as my partner, who was sitting inside, saw me hitting the door and once more found the switch to let us in and back to the room. The important lesson learned, when in Europe or a smaller hotel anywhere, always check to see if the lobby of the hotel is open all night or how one might exit and enter again within a short period of time.

Find pet-friendly places to stay across the U.S. and Canada at www.petswelcome.com.

 

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