If you don’t know by now, I’m kind of obsessed with my dog. Boudreaux, or Boo as he is more affectionately known, is our 10 year old Italian Greyhound/Chihuahua mix. I picked him up from the pound when I was in college and he’s been by my side ever since! When it comes to travel, we choose our vacation spots based on if they welcome the whole family.
Thankfully most of Europe has been particularly dog friendly-including France! He’s a smaller pup so I do think we’ve probably gotten away with more than someone could who owned a Labrador. That being said, we have honed our traveling system down to an art and now we feel comfortable bringing him pretty much anywhere.
I also want to add that we truly enjoy bringing him on our vacations. It doesn’t feel the same without him-as he is just as much a member of our family. It’s more stressful for me to leave him behind (and be constantly worried and thinking about him) than it is to bring him along. Plus Ryan and I both will happily admit that part of what we love so much is watching Boo explore a place. And it is because we’ve brought him along that we usually end up finding something new or noteworthy that we never would’ve discovered without his hunting down a particular scent.
So far Boo has explored:
Salzburg, and a 3 day hiking trip through Austria’s Lakes District
Cologne, St. Wendel, Oberammergau-Germany
Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken, Grindelwald-Switzerland
Paris, Provence, Colmar, Nancy, Reims, Metz, Normandy- France
Amsterdam, Keukenhof-The Netherlands
AND MORE. In fact, I’m certain I’m missing quite a bit. But the point is to say that we’ve easily brought him along (via train or car) to each of those places with no issue! So I’m here to encourage you, if you want to bring your furry family member along for the ride, you definitely can do so with some simple planning!
This post isn’t going to go into the logistics of how to get your dog to Europe-cause that was a handful and I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near an authority to give proper advice on that! Always contact airline representatives directly and write down the names of whomever you talk to. Also request if they can email you the information or send you their policies.
So for the sake of argument, this post is all about how to travel around Europe with your dog–after the plane ride. You got here and now you’re ready to hop on a train and explore.
I feel like it should go without saying, but obviously do not book a hotel or AirBNB that isn’t pet friendly. Most reservation sites have parameters you can set and we always click the pet-friendly button first to narrow down where we can stay. We always look at a google street view of the potential hotel or airBNB and try to find a nearby park or green space on the map. Will Boo do his business on a regular sidewalk? Eventually, yes. But to make all of our lives easier we always search for a green area that’s located close to our stay.
We also bring puppy pads and set them up in the bathroom in case he has a nighttime emergency. So far, he hasn’t needed them, but we always pack them just in case!
If we are traveling via train or car, our packing may change slightly. Some trains require you to have your dog in a carrier while on the train so we always bring his airplane carrier. It gives Boo privacy and also keeps him safe. For our car we clip him into his seat-belt harness. It’s the law in several European countries to have your dog in a harness or kennel when in the car and we think it just makes sense. We wear seat-belts and so does he! Everyone stays safe! Plus it’s great not having to worry about your dog leaping out of the car when the door opens.
We pack a leash and harness (and also keep extras of both in our cars, just in case we forget!) so he can explore wherever we are headed.
Okay, I admit. We are those people. We always bring a sling to carry Boo around. He’s a small guy and has a tendency to dart when startled. In a crowd-this is just a recipe for disaster so we opt to pop him in the sling and carry him. He loves it, we love it; everyone wins! Plus in the summertime the ground can get super hot and we do not want his paws to burn, this is an easy way to allow us to still be hands free and keep him safe.
Dog clothing. Yep, it’s a thing. We have summer and winter clothes for Boo. There was a major heatwave through Europe this summer and we ventured to the South of France so Boo was having a hard time cooling himself off…especially because of his black fur. Ryan had a Buff neck gator that he cut into a T-shirt for Boo. We would pour water on it to cool him off in the summer heat. It worked perfectly and the neon yellow color helped keep him highly visible when he was on his leash.
During wintertime Boo has an assortment of sweaters and jackets. He is easily chilled (60 degrees and he starts shivering) so when we have snow in the forecast, we make sure we bundle him up accordingly. It’s also not uncommon for one of us to sacrifice our scarf to wrap around Boo while he is in his sling. If we want to stay out longer in the cold-everyone has to be dressed warmly.
Boo eats a raw diet. This may be shocking for some of you, but I have seen the incredible health benefits from it and he’s never been healthier in his whole life! He’s a senior dog and I’m doing everything possible when it comes to making sure he lives as long as possible. Now, with a raw diet that does make our traveling interesting. Depending on how far we are going, we will sometimes bring his normal food and store it in the in room mini-fridge. If our hotel doesn’t have a mini fridge we’ve found several brands that make freeze dried raw dog food and we will bring those along. We also search out local pet stores wherever we visit because we love to find new treats and toys for him!
We also bring along collapsible bowls for water breaks during our adventures. We’ve been pleasantly surprised that most restaurants will bring out a small dish of water for Boo, often without us even asking. I always recommend keeping a collapsible bowl in your purse or pocket so you’ve always got a way to give your pup fresh water.
Those are the basics of what we bring with us when we travel with Boo.