How to travel to mainland Europe with your dog
Getting your dog out of the UK is simple, as UK officials are not interested in the health status of your dog as you leave the country. But in order to bring your dog back in to the UK from mainland Europe it must be microchipped, have a European pet passport, and must have been vaccinated against rabies. In order to return to the UK with your dog, he or she must also have been treated for tapeworms no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you enter the UK. Your dog can be refused entry or put into quarantine if you don’t comply. The rules are different for short trips, where you will need to ensure tapeworm treatment in the UK before you travel. Best to read up on the gov.uk website for the details as you will need to specify how treatment should be recorded to an overseas vet.
People who visit the UK from Europe with their dog must follow the same guidelines. If and when the status of the UK in Europe changes, it seems likely that a UK-issued pet passport will no longer be valid. By way of a disclaimer, we suggest that you always check for the latest requirements and talk to your vet, as these rules must be followed precisely.
Planes, trains, automobiles
We’re talking small dogs here, dachshund sized dogs. Little dogs - usually those under 9kg - can be taken as hand luggage on some flights, in a pet carrier under the seat in front of you. We’ve seen a mini dachshund airside at an Italian airport who was clearly going to be travelling this way. If your dachshund is small enough and calm enough then it’s the easiest way to travel long distances fast. But the consensus seems to be that you should assess your dog’s overall health and behaviour, and consider whether this stressful experience may cause them behavioural problems further down the line. Do you really need to take them on a flight?
The car and ferry combo is another, slower option. Foot passengers on short ferry crossings can’t take dogs, only motorists, and the Eurostar is a no-no for dogs as well. Be aware that ferry cabins that accomodate dogs and kennel spaces (for example, on Brittany Ferries) get booked up very early. On shorter ferry crossings such as Dover-Calais, you must leave your dog alone in the car for the one hour crossing. We’ve ended up using the Euroshuttle, where you stay in the car in the carriage - with your dog - for the short tunnel journey. No need to worry about leaving them alone in the dark. The Euroshuttle terminal has a dog park for a last pee and run around. A shout-out here for the wonderful Folkstone Taxi Co., who picked us up in London at dawn and took us and Sunny via Euroshuttle to a Hertz office in Calais.
Taking your dachshund on a train is certainly possible in mainland Europe. Check out the wonderful resource that is The Man in Seat 61 for all train related travel information and his pet-travel pages. He also recommends Folkstone Taxi Co. for travelling between the UK and mainland Europe. In some countries you may need to have a muzzle for your dog when traveling together on a train. You can read our earlier blog post on muzzles for more information.
[Post-Brexit please double check all information in this post carefully for validity]