Summer Holidaying in Mainland Europe via Eurotunnel
I remember when the Pet Passport scheme was introduced in 2001. As a landmark event, it opened the horizons of mainland Europe as travelling destinations for you and your dog, without the draconian ‘quarantine’.
With the subsequent launch of the Eurotunnel, travelling across the Channel became even better! Recent figures back up my sentiment with 71% of all pets returning into the UK opting to travel on Eurotunnel.
Eurotunnel is the only mode of channel crossing that means you and your dog stay together in the car. I’ve never liked the thought of leaving your dog in the ‘hold’ area of a ferry. Apart from being noisy and dark, your dog is left in an alien kennel environment whilst you are on the upper decks, and forbidden to go and check on your dog.
Unless your dog will fit in a carrier under the seat on board a plane, dogs must travel as cargo. Many airlines will not accept flat faced or elderly dogs that can have health complications in-flight.
Eurotunnel is a quick 35-minute journey that you can make totally stress free for your dog, that’s assuming your dog is trained and desensitised to car travel before you set off on a road-trip!
Since I took Molly (my beloved Mini-Bull) to Paris for the first time, the Pet Passport Scheme rules were relaxed in 2011 to fit with mainland Europe’s rules.
Under the old scheme, Molly had to wait six months after the mandatory rabies shot before we could think about travelling to Paris.
The reason was to offer the typical ‘quarantine’ period for any symptoms of rabies to manifest.
Molly also had to be ‘titred’ one month after her rabies jab to test her blood for the vital serological anti-bodies, which proved she had developed an immunity to rabies.
The relaxation of PETS travel scheme has meant for more flexible traveling. When I brought Prudence (Molly’s successor) into the UK from Germany where she was born, under the new PETS scheme, we only had to wait 21-days after her rabies shot to enter the UK.
Complying to the PETS rules means dogs must also be micro-chipped and swallow a worm pill at a vets no more than five days before returning, and no less than 24 hours.
I drove the 800-mile round trip to pick her up in my ageing Mini Cooper, taking Prudence on a road trip that took in four countries in one day!
The Mini was loaded to the brim with essentials namely a freezer bag packed with Natural instinct’s puppy variety, Beef jerky (for treats and some clicker training en route), and bottled filtered water.
Perfect planning and research in advance is essential when taking your dog abroad. Take ‘familiars’ like your dog’s bed or a favourite blanket with you. Make sure you create a ‘home from home’ scenario wherever your destination.
Take a favourite toy and make walkies as fun as it is at home. Keep to a routine and be mindful of the sudden changes in climate. If you’re off to a Mediterranean destination take plenty of cooling ‘gear’.
For me, the most effective is an Easidri cooling Coat, which Natural Instinct stock at their Camberley store or you can order by phoning them up on 01276 608500 - I won’t travel without one!
When wetted it makes for a portable air-con unit that just uses the simple process of evaporation to cool a dog’s body temperature right down.
Often the air con in your car won’t really cool the back seat as much as the front; so I use a special cool mat for both Mr Binks and Prudence to lie on, in addition to a wet T-shirt if its really hot.
Eurotunnel’s dedicated pet passport control makes for smooth re-entry at Calais, providing all your paperwork, and Vet’s signature’s and stamps are in order.
The dedicated doggy exercise area is well placed for that last pee in France.