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Wednesday April 10, 2013

It’s a dog’s life:travelling abroad with man’s best friend

A British expat was recently recounting an adventurous and tiring three day escapade driving from the UK via France to Barcelona from where he took the ferry to Palma, Majorca. And all for the sake of his two pooches –Great Danes as it happened- that he simply couldn’t face traumatising with a stint in the hold of a plane.

He’s not alone. An increasing number of expats are regularly travelling to and from the UK with their canines while scores of British holidaymakers are taking their dogs on holiday, a fact born out in a survey by, an online retailer of animal products. It showed that nearly one in two of the 1000 pet owners polled, intended to take their pets away with them this summer whether in the UK or abroad.

Meanwhile, Clive Jackson, founder of Fly Victor, has attracted countless customers with his ‘Furs Class’ private jet service which allows dogs to travel with their owners on the plane. The jets used are all DEFRA approved and as long as pets are micro-chipped and have a current pet passport, their air passage promises to be smooth and problem free. Some commercial flights charge as much as £750.00 to take an animal in the hold from London to Majorca while for the same cost admittedly it’s the starting price a pampered pet can travel in luxury on a Fly Victor jet without stress or discomfort and with a speedy 15 minute check-in time. Other operators such as Pet Air UK offer an advisory service for those wishing to take their pets overseas and are registered DEFRA pet transporters.

Since the pet passport scheme was introduced it has become relatively easy to take dogs and cats to European destinations although they must be micro-chipped and have passports that are up to date with vaccinations against rabies.

As part of its drive to make travelling with dogs hassle free, MedicAnimal has created a free online ‘Guide to Good Petiquette for the travelling Dog’ which apparently offers dos and don’ts for holidaying hounds when staying in hotels, B&Bs, and rental properties. It has created five instructive categories which include Sit, Fetch, Heel, Eat and Down.

I’d like to suggest to sightseeing dogs my own criteria for those five golden rules starting with Sit: never sit on a stranger’s lap regardless of whether he’s wafting a wurst or chorizo sausage under the nose, Fetch: don’t fetch your owner’s towel. If he or she has forgotten it, pretend to doze by the pool. It’s not your problem. Heel: Try to refrain from nipping the heels of foreign women on the street. Eat: Avoid garlicky sausage but otherwise gorge yourself silly on the scraps left from the hotel breakfast buffet without making a dogs dinner of it. Down: Lie down as much as possible especially in the heat, following the Spanish siesta concept at all times.

And finally for hot dogs who aspire to being ultra cool, there’s an SPF 15 ‘Doggy Sunmist’ sunscreen and advice on how and what to pack in the doggy bag for the voyage. Come the holiday season with a doting and indulgent owner to hand it’s likely that every lucky dog will have its day.

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