Taking your dog on holiday with you

Taking your dog on holiday with you

Dogs love to be at your side wherever you go. This also applies to holidays, for which a dog owner should be well prepared.

Parents with school-age children are well aware that it is best to start preparations for a holiday as early as nine months before the intended departure date. Only then can you be sure that you will have a wide range of options to choose from. It is not quite so bad when you go on holiday with your dog, but here too, it is advisable to plan everything well in advance. This is true if you want to take your dog with you on holiday, but also if you want your pet to stay at home. Because although dogs prefer to be with us all the time, it is sometimes better if they do not accompany us on long journeys.

Where do you want to go with your dog?

What do you have in mind? Maybe a dog-friendly hiking holiday, self-catering accommodation abroad, or perhaps a camping site on the coast? One of these choices is bound to make your dog happy. On a dog beach your four-legged friend can run around to its heart’s content and cool off in the water. Dog-friendly hotels will provide you and your pet with everything you need for a relaxing holiday – for example a dog-walking service or a pool specially for dogs. Therefore, find out well in advance whether your chosen holiday destination provides dog-friendly facilities. 

Things may well be a little different on a city break or a seaside holiday. If your dog loves the countryside, it will probably not have much fun on a city tour. Or is your pet scared of water? If so, a boat trip is certainly not the best idea.

Think carefully about what kind of holiday will not only be fun for you, but also for your dog. Even dogs that dislike water will enjoy being by the sea if you take them for long walks on the beach in the morning and evening, and if they can relax in the shade during the day. And as long as your dog is used to the hustle and bustle of urban life, then there is nothing to stop you taking your pet on a city break.

Taking your dog on a holiday abroad

As soon as you have decided where you are going, you should check the entry requirements and regulations of that particular country. During the high season, for example, dogs are not allowed on many lakesides and beaches. There may also be a legal requirement to keep dogs on a lead or even muzzled, as is the case in some city centres in Austria. In Italy and Belgium as well, the local authorities may ask you to put a muzzle on your dog. To be on the safe side, you should therefore always carry one with you.

In many countries, however, the owners of breeds that are often used for fighting face a particularly hard time: there are strict bans on bringing them into Denmark and France, and many other countries have even tighter restrictions. You should find out what rules apply to the country you are visiting (including any countries of transit).

Urlaub mit Hund am Strand

Traveling with a dog: the right means of transport

to being driven around, your own car is definitely the best means of transport. Your dog will be familiar with travelling by car, and everything it needs, such as a transport box and a dog seat belt, will (hopefully) be at hand. If you are planning to go on holiday with your dog in the summer months, it is best to travel during the morning and evening when it is cooler. It is important to not feed your dog for a few hours before leaving and to plan regular breaks. And never leave your pet alone in the car when the weather is warm or hot – unless you are able to leave several windows open by a hand’s width (which you will probably want to avoid due to the risk of a break-in). 

Travelling by train is possible and is usually a relatively relaxed experience, as the dog is able to move around more – at least if it is not kept in a transport box, which may sometimes be a requirement. Also bear in mind that you cannot pull over for a short while if your dog has a full bladder or is feeling sick. Despite this, travelling by train is a convenient alternative. Small dogs often travel for free, while large ones require a ticket (usually half price). 


Even when traveling by plane, a distinction is made between small and large dogs: Small dogs are allowed in the cabin, while larger dogs (from a weight of around 7-8 kg) have to be carried in the cargo hold, which causes additional stress for the animal. Only healthy dogs without any respiratory problems should be subjected to this. In addition, before the journey you should ensure that they are able to remain in a transport box for several hours without experiencing difficulties. It is much better for small dogs, but please be aware that not every airline allows them on board and that in many cases only a limited number of dogs are allowed on the flight. If you book too late, you risk not being able to take your dog with you.

A visit to the vet should also be planned well in advance.

Plan a visit to your vet well ahead of every trip. Because as well as the obligatory rabies vaccination, other vaccinations may be required or recommended, depending on the country you are travelling to. To avoid diseases such as babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and hepatozoonosis, the use of spot-on products or tick collars is advisable. Depending on your destination, it may also be advisable for your dog to sleep under a mosquito net at night to protect it from being bitten. It is generally important that you avoid contact with local dogs when abroad, and do not let your four-legged friend drink from warm, stagnant water.

What do I need for a holiday with my dog?

Many dog owners make a checklist of everything their dog will need during the holiday. To ensure that you do not forget anything, here is a list of the most important items for your dog. 

  1. Comb
  2. Brush
  3. Blanket
  4. Basket
  5. Toys
  6. Passport / identity card
  7. Any tickets
  8. Address of insurance company
  9. Drinking bottle
  10. Bowls
  11. Collar
  12. Lead
  13. Dog waste bags
  14. Address label and a muzzle if required
  15. Remedy for travel sickness
  16. Thermometer
  17. Spot-on if necessary
  18. Diarrhoea remedy
  19. Disinfectant
  20. Wound ointment
  21. Ear and eye drops
  22. Eyewash
  23. Flea comb
  24. Tick removal tweezers

Dog food for the journey

As regards food, it will be difficult if you raw feed your dog, because it will not be easy to maintain the cold chain for frozen meat. Everything is much easier with wet food, for example GranCarno. Here, only carefully selected types of meat are used. Because the meat is processed fresh and with care, all the essential nutrients are retained for longer and in a more readily accessible form. An alternative is GranCarno dry food, which ensures a hassle-free diet for your four-legged friend thanks to its “Gentle Nutrition Formula”.

If your dog stays at home

Perhaps you are planning a holiday in a hot country, you have an elderly dog at home, or you want to spare your pet the stress of a long journey. There are many reasons why it is sometimes better for your dog to remain at home. But remember: even then, you should plan a visit to the vet a few weeks before you leave, because whether it’s relatives, neighbours or boarding kennels – everyone wants to be left with a dog that is healthy.

Kennels often have a number of strict conditions. Not only specific vaccinations, but also pet owner liability insurance, among other things, is usually required. Also bear in mind that a boarding kennel might not be the right choice for a timid dog. In any case, you should try it out first. Pay a visit to gain a first impression and, if in doubt, look for an alternative.  

For a short holiday, for example, you may want to consider having someone you know come over to feed and walk your dog every day. Some dog owners even make a deal with a friend who also has a dog, where they agree: “If you look after my dog, I will look after yours when you are on holiday.” Another option is to ask the breeder if they would take your dog while you are away. Or ask your vet or local dog clubs whether they have addresses of dog sitters. If you make the effort, you will be sure to find a suitable place for your dog, so that you can go on holiday with complete peace of mind.

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