One of the things I adore about working from home is that I can pretty much do whatever I want, whenever I want it. Three hours lunch break? Sure, why not? I can always work late. Random mid-week, mid-day shopping spree with a friend? Of course! Spur of the moment travel plans? You bet! Well, the travel part changed when I got Ares. You can’t just pack up and leave tomorrow when you have a dog, at least not if he’s coming with you. More so if you plan to dog travel abroad. To better illustrate why, let me tell you how it went when getting Ares ready for his first trip abroad!
Before that trip, I’d been away for short periods, visiting friends and family. On most occasions, I either took Ares with me or left him with my mom and arranged for friends to walk him. Ares is a huge, 38 kilos dog, my mom has serious back issues, she can’t walk him.
What was different about this trip? My mom was going to come with me. My friend Alexandra had come home from the UK and she was visiting her parents. She decided we should take our moms and go on a girl’s vacation. I said yes, as we initially planned on going somewhere local. Just to give you an idea, this happened on a Wednesday afternoon and she wanted us to leave on Friday, early in the morning.
We kept brainstorming locations, but we weren’t happy and finally agreed on a hotel in the Golden Sands resort, in Bulgaria. So all I had to do in one day? Get Ares a passport (easy, you get it at the vet), get him checked up (you need an OK on his health from the vet before you leave), and find a dog friendly hotel.
I planned on going to the vet the next day, and focused on finding a hotel. I found a great one price-wise, it looked clean and comfy, and accepted dogs. At least it did so on its Booking.com page! That turned out to be inaccurate, but that’s a story for another time 😀
The next day brought more drama! Apparently, I had to get a number on that passport from a specific office that would take days to do it. At least that was the case for my home city, Ploiesti. We decided to leave Ares at a doggy hotel, but we hadn’t had time to visit them and by the time we were supposed to load him in the car and take him there, my mom was in tears and I wasn’t faring much better.
It was a long shot, but I called the breeder I’d gotten Ares from. He told me the whole waiting for a few days was bullshit. In Bucharest, he got it done on the spot. Well, hell, now my home city sucked! But how did that help me? Turns out, I could get it done in Bucharest. We’d just have to leave for Bulgaria later. Crisis averted, trip was a go, we could delight and celebrate.
We did, but I swore to never take Ares on a spur of the moment trip unless it was a local one.
This is what you have to do to get your dog travel ready:
- Make sure you can bring him into the country you are visiting. Some require dogs to be quarantined, do your research!
- Make sure you find a dog-friendly hotel. If you’ve booked through a booking service, check the hotel website too, sometimes there are discrepancies.
- Make sure he has the right papers. If not, get them. How hard or easy that is depends on the country you’re in and your dog. Mine had a microchip so I didn’t have to get one just for the passport.
- Take your dog to the vet. There are rules about when the dog gets treatments and vaccines before a trip. Because fleas and other nasty things are an issue
- Get your dog travel ready – decide on transportation and what is needed for it. Traveling by car and by plane are very different in terms of what you need.
- Pack bowls, food, treats, and a couple of toys.
- Finally, if this your first trip, hope for the best and don’t worry much!
It might not be as easy as deciding I want to travel somewhere and be gone the next minute anymore. But it sure is fun to travel with Ares! Once people get over how big he is, he usually manages to line up quite a few human servants to spoil him.
What’s your experience traveling with dogs or other pets? Do you think it dog travel takes a bit more planning?