Interior Designer, Juliet Reynosa never travels without her pooch Lola, even when she goes abroad. Here she shares her tips on how to make holidays with dogs enjoyable for you and your dog…
Why do you like your dog Lola to travel with you?
A lot of our travelling with Lola is to go visit family in Germany or in the US. Lola is a member of our family and without her it just feels like something is missing. We enjoy the extra walks it requires exploring the towns or cities and means we always end up in a cafe or park we never would have explored without her.
How often does she travel with you?
Lola will go on 3-4 trips a year with us outside of the UK.
Where do you like to take her?
Everywhere we have taken Lola so far has been very dog friendly. She has walked the canals in Amsterdam, visited family in Germany, ‘skied’ the Alps in Austria, and lived the high-life in Paris and LA.
What airlines allow you to take your dog in the cabin with you and what is the criteria?
Lufthansa is the only airline that I have found that still allows small breed dogs in-cabin into the United States, so bear this in mind when you’re taking holidays with dogs. If you are flying within the EU, there are more options available such as KLM, Lufthansa, and Air France. You can check all airline policies on website, pettravel.com, a great resource when travelling with your pet.
While flying out of the UK with your pet in-cabin is accepted, travelling back into the UK with your pet in-cabin is not. As a small breed dog owner, I have never felt comfortable travelling with Lola in the cargo hold so always opted for travel with Lola by car, train or ferry when entering the UK. When we travel to LA, we have discovered the most efficient way to return to London without having to place Lola in the cargo hold is flying via Paris and catching a train to Calais where my husband will meet us in a car and drive us back across the channel either by train or by ferry. If you do fly with your small breed dog, here are the steps to take to ensure a place on board.
1. You must make a reservation well in advance as only one or two pets per flight are allowed. The reservation must be done over the telephone. It cannot be done online. Fees must be paid upon check-in and range quite a bit from airline to airline.
2. Your pet carrier must fit under the seat. Requirements consist of a waterproof bottom, adequate ventilation, and secure zippers that your pet cannot open. Your pet must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. Be sure you measure your pet carefully from tip of nose to base of tail and from top of ears to the ground to pick an appropriate carrier. Most airlines have weight restrictions for your pet of 6-8kg including the weight of the carrier that must be checked before travel.
3. Some airlines require a health certificate from your vet showing your pet is fit for travel on the airline.
When returning to the UK from another EU listed country your pet will need:
1. A microchip. This must be done first or the rabies vaccination will not count.
2. A rabies vaccination 21 days prior to travel out of the UK documented in your pet passport.
3. A pet passport documenting all requirements.
4. Tapeworm treatment to be given between 1 and 5 days (24-120 hours) before your scheduled arrival into the UK recorded into your pet passport by a vet.
Find out more about the Pet Travel Scheme at www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad
Are your fellow travel passengers accepting of your travel companion?
I have found that most people don’t mind at all when Lola travels with me. They actually appreciate a lick or a cuddle!
Do you bring your own food?
It all depends on the length of our stay. If it is longer than a week, I will take a small amount of Lola’s food with me to help integrate her on a new diet if I am not able to find her brand of food abroad. If we are only gone for a long weekend, I will travel with her own food.
What has been your best experience?
It would have to be a trip with Lola to LA on American Airlines. The staff were so sweet and kindly upgraded us to business so we would both benefit from more room. There were lots of cuddles and pictures taken with the air staff and other passengers. It was such a great experience for us both! Sadly, American Airlines has changed their policy and no longer allow pets in-cabin on international flights to and from the EU.
What essential luggage do you need? What are your travel essentials?
A pet carrier is the most essential as this becomes your pet’s home and sense of security over the length of your trip. It is vital you let your dog become accustomed to it way before travelling so they see it as a place of comfort and safety. I always kit Lola’s carrier out with a cuddly blanket she is used to sleeping with, a favourite toy and most importantly, her favourite treat toy, the everlasting treat ball and extra treat re-fills that will keep her busy and occupied for most of our travel. A portable water bowl, her lead with waste bags and additional yummy snacks are always handy to have on hand.
Does Lola enjoy going on a plane with you?
Holidays with dogs are fabulous, and I started travelling with Lola very early. As soon as she was able to explore the outdoors, I had her on buses, taxis, the underground, boats and cars. Anything and everything to get her used to the sounds, movements and smells of travelling on all types of transportation. Lots of treats were involved and still are to keep her idea of travelling an enjoyable and good experience. I believe this has helped her with airplane travel. She is uneasy with take-off and landings (who isn’t !) but she is calm for the remainder of the flight. I believe a lot of her well-being during flight has to do with me staying calm and relaxed. If I’m calm, she is calm! When I fly with Lola to LA, I normally try to book a flight with a layover so she can have a run around and a break from the 10 hour flight. It’s good for the both of us!