- Health and safety arrangements when travelling with dogs
- Go to your vet a few months before travelling with your dog
- Dog insurance can be a life-saver
- Look for the nearest vet office to your holiday stay
- Have the basics covered
- Think of the current life stage and health condition of your dog
- Dog travel arrangements
- Accommodation tips when travelling with your dog
- Travelling abroad with your dog
- Leaving your dog at home
There’s no need for your dog to stay at home if you’re going on holiday – in fact, your dog can make a great travel companion. With so many dog friendly hotels and holiday homes, check out the basics of travelling with dogs right here.
Travelling with dogs is easiest if you prepare everything well in advance – accommodation, travel arrangements, and paperwork can all be organised months before you go, which means less stress and more fun for both of you.
Of course, you might not be planning on travelling abroad with your dog, but staying somewhere close to home, in which case things are even easier. Just keeping a few simple things in mind will really increase the ease of taking dogs on holiday. Get your pen ready and make sure you’ve thought about everything in the list below – and when you’ve done all that, the only thing left is to get excited about your trip.
Health and safety arrangements when travelling with dogs
The first thing to keep in mind when travelling with your dog to a new place is your pet’s health and safety. This task alone can make many dog owners reconsider their travelling plans, but it’s actually quite a simple process. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Go to your vet a few months before travelling with your dog
Especially true for holidays abroad, make sure you discuss your travel plans with the vet 7-8 months in advance to give you plenty of time to comply with any extra requirements.
Vaccinations will need to be up to date and there can also be specific vaccination requirements for the country you are visiting. Keep in mind that certificates might also need to be issued, depending on where you are travelling with your dog.
Dog insurance can be a life-saver
Look for policies that cover emergencies in the likelihood that your dog will need vet care on your trip abroad. Some policies might even contribute to the cost of cancelled holidays or kennel fees if it’s you needing a hospital stay. Check out our full guide for all things dog insurance.
Look for the nearest vet office to your holiday stay
A nearby vet can help with many health enquiries, both big and small. Make sure you jot down the address and contact details of the nearest veterinary practice before you’re travelling with your dog abroad.
Have the basics covered
No matter how you choose to travel, there are a few essential things to keep in mind. Your dog can lose a considerable amount of body water through panting, so take a bowl and lots of bottles of water with you to help them stay completely hydrated.
Remember to pack plenty of plastic bags for when your dog goes to the toilet. After all, even when travelling they have the same needs as usual.
Microchipping your dog is important – many pets go on an unexpected adventure every now and then, and if your dog were to get lost whilst on holiday you’d want the best chance of seeing them returned. This is even more important if you’re going abroad with your dog, as unfamiliar sights and sounds might prompt more excitable pets to get distracted and dash for something! Ask your vet for more details, or read about microchipping your dog in our handy article.
Think of the current life stage and health condition of your dog
All owners want to share their best times with the four-legged family members, but sometimes it’s a good idea for them to skip on the fun stuff, especially when travelling on a plane. If your dog is under 3 months old, a senior, pregnant or ill dog, they are likely to have difficulties coping with the journey. When in doubt, check with your vet for advice.
Dog travel arrangements
Whether you're travelling with your dog by car, plane, train or bus, there are a few things to keep in mind that will make the journey safer and more relaxing for both you and your pet.
Accommodation tips when travelling with your dog
Whether you’re holidaying with your dog at home or overseas, there are now many types of dog-friendly hotels and accommodation options to suit every taste and budget.
Your dog might also enjoy dog training holidays, which provide a place where you can enjoy canine activities and sports with other dog lovers under the guidance of a qualified trainer.
Make sure your accommodation is dog-friendly and, if you are staying at someone else's home, check ahead about toilet facilities for your dog.
Remember to think about the presence of other pets (either during travel or at your destination) which might affect your dog’s behaviour. Will your dog want to chase the B&B owner’s housecat, for example, or bark at the dogs they’re travelling with?
Travelling abroad with your dog
There's a lot of paperwork involved when taking your dogs abroad on a holiday. Pre-travel you'll need to organise export and import papers, transit health certificates, IATA shipper's certificate, permits and quarantine provisions & more!
There are strict rules around the transportation of animals by air. Check with each New Zealand serving Airlines as they will have a different set of guidelines and rules for pet travel, so be sure to do your homework before you book. Other transport providers along with animal welfare agencies and veterinary practitioners also have guidelines created to ensure your dog travels safely and comfortably.
Apart from Australia and Norfolk Island, when returning with your dog from certain countries you'll need to put in the legwork before you can take your pooch home.
The Ministry for Primary Industries states that cats and dogs can only return to New Zealand from "approved countries" and, depending on the country, the pre-import preparation time, or time spent in quarantine, can be over six months. However, if you start preparations in New Zealand before you and your pet head overseas, returning them to New Zealand can be much simpler and quicker.
Remember, however, that when you go on holiday with your dog some countries still have special conditions for your entry, or require particular documents. And when travelling abroad with your dog, some countries still require a period of quarantine on arrival.
For more information, head to the guidance document from MPI.
Leaving your dog at home
Of course, not all dogs are completely suited to travel: if they are elderly, ill, or have a history of anxiety during confinement or dog travel, you should consider leaving them at home with a reliable dog sitter or in kennels.
There are lots of care options to choose from whatever your budget, so you’re sure to find something that suits your dog. To help you choose what’s best for both of you, get started by reading about dog sitting and day care.
Whether your dog goes on holiday with you or stays at home, bear in mind what is best for them. As long as they’re happy, your holiday will be a great one!
If you’re thinking of travelling with your dog abroad you will need to consider pet passports, vaccinations and any rules of travel – take a look at our article about taking your dog on a plane if you are venturing further afield!