Small dogs are wonderfully portable and many small dog breeds have an adventurous and inquisitive personality. So, if your small dog often accompanies you out and about, he is unlikely to be fazed by longer trips – especially if you plan your journey carefully. Many hotels and self-catering properties welcome small dogs, and the Pet Travel Scheme has made travelling with a pet easier than ever. If you want to enjoy a holiday with your small dog, travel isn’t a barrier – just follow our tips to make things smoother.
Driving can be the simplest option as you can stop for regular comfort breaks, but some ferry operators, train companies and airlines are happy for you to travel with dogs. Always check before you book and ask if your small dog will be expected to travel in the hold. If you are driving, feed your small dog about two hours before you set off and keep the car cool and well-ventilated. Secure your small dog in a safe and comfortable way, using either a roomy travel crate or a dog harness – please don’t be tempted to carry him your small dog on your lap. And never leave your small dog alone in the car, even for a few minutes.
The Pet Travel Scheme allows you and your small dog to travel together to a long list of countries in the EU and beyond – you can check if the country you want to visit is listed here. Once you know your destination is on the list, ask your vet about obtaining your small dog’s Pet Passport, which may involve an up-to-date rabies vaccination and sometimes deworming just before the trip. Your vet may also suggest vaccinating your small dog against other less common diseases.
Make sure your small dog has been treated for fleas and worms before you set off, and carry a copy of his vaccination record. Research local vets in your destination in case of an emergency, and pack a first aid kit for pets. If he has medium-to-long hair, don’t be tempted to cut his coat shorter to prevent overheating – the hair actually helps to protect your small dog’s skin from the sun.
If you are journeying with your small dog, travel with plenty of comforting items for him. Pack your small dog’s bed or blanket and a selection of his favourite toys to lessen any anxiety he may feel about the change of environment. He may also benefit from a pheromone product in the run-up to your trip – this can help to relax him in a completely natural way.
Sudden dietary changes can cause discomfort and distress so keep your small dog’s tummy happy by taking a supply of his usual food with you. If you’re travelling to a hot location , pack a doggy sunscreen and invest in a cooling pad in case your small dog overheats. And always carry a bottle of fresh water and a bowl on day trips and journeys to discourage him from drinking dirty river water or salty sea water. Protect your pet against mosquitoes especially in Mediterranean or tropical weather.
Now you know how to travel with a small dog – but there are things to remember when you get to your destination, too. Avoid walking your small dog when the sun is high – particularly on hot sand or hard surfaces. Walking on grass is much more comfortable for your small dog’s little paws. Brush or comb your small dog thoroughly after playtime in the sand or the sea, and wash his coat with clean water and if necessary with a gentle doggy shampoo. Finally, check around his ears, neck, head and chest for ticks after every walk – if you find a tick, it’s time to call one of those local vets you researched before you left home!