Abroad Edit: Don’t Leave Them at Home! Travelling to Europe With Pets


Beachcomber Coat Lighthouse

My Mum and Stepdad recently lost one of their two rescue Labradors. She’d reached a good age and it wasn’t unexpected but left a big hole in their lives as well as that of their much younger Lab. I told them to wait a while before thinking about whether they wanted a second pet – their younger dog Bella is not yet 2, a handful and they’re not getting any younger. My advice fell on deaf ears since they now have a 7-month old rescue Lab – double the wilful trouble but what’s important is that they’re very happy and see the dogs as great companions and helping them to stay active and healthy.

When my Stepdad came to stay recently he was filling us in on their upcoming holiday plans and said they’re thinking about pet passports so they can drive down into France and take the dogs with them for a foreign holiday. I have to admit, the thought of taking Maddie with us outside the UK has never even crossed our minds. We devote a week a year to taking her with us on a little UK break, having been to Cornwall in 2015 and 2016 and heading to the Cotswolds in September this year so she (and we) have a change of scenery.

She’s brilliant when we go away and really enjoys herself, but I must admit that there’s a purely selfish part of me that looks forward to foreign holidays precisely so that we don’t have to think about entertaining Boo and Maddie. Our dog walker always has Maddie when we go away and is like a surrogate family to her. We’ve also found the perfect cattery for Boo where they dote on his mischievous ways and he definitely rules the roost when he pays them a visit. So they both have a great time and we don’t have to think about early starts and long dog walks.

I’m disheartened by the potential administration involved with taking pets in and out of the UK. These days it feels hard enough for us to travel abroad let alone trying to plan for pets, and being the huge animal lover that I am, I just don’t know if taking them away is the best for their health. Driving is one thing but I’m always mesmerised at airports when I see people nonchalantly toting their teeny pups without a care in the world.

It would seem to be big business, or at least have the potential to be, as companies like Blisspets specialise in transportation of pets by air. Ensuring every element of safety and comfort for our pets is catered for, they even offer a little bit of luxury for animal travel – definitely preferable to travelling by Ryanair! Pete and I have talked before about what would happen if he got a job relocation, it’s more of a pipe dream than anything else but I’ve always said I would never want anything to stop us living abroad so it’s good to know Boo and Maddie could join us safely in case it ever happens.

Boo and Maddie

We’re fortunate to be in the position that both our pets are young and healthy so travelling shouldn’t be too problematic. It’s not for every breed though – the ever-trendy Pugs for example fall under the Brachycephalic label, along with Persian cats and other dogs which have that short muzzle appearance. Sadly some breeds have been established over time for aesthetic or status purposes which means a lot of them have breathing issues and wouldn’t be able to travel by air, something to consider if you want to take your beloved furry friends with you.

For now though I think I’ll continue to be entirely self-indulgent and a little selfish – Maddie can have her UK breaks with us for a change of scenery but I’m saving anything us for me and Pete. I reckon we’re such great fur baby parents we deserve a little rest.

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