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On holiday with the dog: What to pay attention to?

Are you planning a late holiday with the dog? Or a nice weekend away in the car with the dog? There are specific rules for traveling with your dog, so it is important that you know the correct regulations! Below is a brief overview of the most important rules.

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Mandatory documentation

Did you know that mandatory documentation is required when traveling with your pet? Whether by car or plane, you will need certain documents to prove that your pet is 'safe' to travel with.

First up: Identification . Since November 2017, it has been mandatory for dogs and cats to be chipped and have a European passport. If you have your dog chipped or vaccinated against rabies, you will receive a copy of the European Pet Passport from your veterinarian.

Also: Vaccination . To travel with your dog, it must be vaccinated against rabies. This can be done at the earliest when your pet is 12 weeks old. You may only cross the border with your dog 21 days after vaccination. Therefore, traveling with dogs or cats younger than 15 weeks is not allowed. However, some countries within and outside the EU are even stricter and impose additional requirements. For example, Australia requires additional legalization of these documents, parasite treatment or tapeworm treatment is mandatory for Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom, for example, and a longer waiting period after the rabies vaccination applies for the United States.

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Traveling by plane

Would you rather travel by plane, together with your four-legged friend? Be sure to take additional rules and importance into account. When traveling within Europe, you should take three options into account.

Traveling in the cabin

Several companies allow small dogs and cats in the cabin. Your pet may travel in an odor- and leak-proof travel bag that fits under the seat in front of you. Your pet must remain here for the entire journey and is not allowed to leave during the flight. The maximum permitted weight of your four-legged friend is 8 kilograms and there are also rules for the maximum dimensions of the travel bag, which you can request from the flight company.

Traveling in the hold

Dogs that do not fit in the travel bag or are too heavy may travel in the luggage hold where there is a special place for pets. Please note that you must provide special requirements for the crate . Request this from your flight company.

As cargo

Large four-legged friends travel as cargo; with some companies it is even the only way allowed. Traveling as cargo is the cheapest option, but by choosing this option you are not sure whether your four-legged friend will travel on the same plane.

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Traveling by train

When you travel through Europe by train, there are also specific rules, often different per country, that you must adhere to.

In Belgium

Traveling with your four-legged friend in Belgium is permitted, provided that your dog does not occupy a seat or table and does not pose a danger to fellow passengers and train staff. Small pets in a basket or cage (maximum dimensions of 30x55x30cm) and assistance dogs are free. Larger dogs must have a special ticket, the 'Pet ticket', which costs 3 euros per journey. Please note that your pet must always be on a leash during the ride. A muzzle is not required, but train staff may require you to put one on, so keep this in mind when traveling by train.

International travel

When crossing the border by train, be sure to take different rules and rates into account. So check carefully in advance which rules apply to which companies and countries. In general, cats are allowed to travel in a bag or cage and only guide dogs are allowed to travel.

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Special regulations per country

Pay close attention, different countries have different, special and stricter rules for traveling with your pet. So don't just get behind the wheel or on the train, check carefully which rules apply in which countries.

For example, in Germany and Italy it is prohibited to leave your dog loose in the car. Use special belts , a crate or put your dog behind a rack. Just like when flying, you also need extra papers or vaccinations for some countries outside the EU, for example for travel to the United Kingdom via the Eurotunnel.

Check well in advance what the requirements are, not only for the country of destination, but also for the countries you are passing through.

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