Europe for Pets
Maggie, an American dog, makes friends in Venice, Italy.
was a boy traveling in Southern Europe with my parents, our family's collie was welcomed
everywhere--from a deluxe hotel in Seville, where the local children cried
"Lassie!", to the casino gardens in Estoril, Portugal.
In decades of subsequent visits to Europe, I've had many other
occasions to witness the friendliness that most European countries display toward pets:
Dogs on trains (I once moved the tail of a German Shepherd from the
aisle of a Swiss express train to save it from being stepped on).
Dogs on cable cars (more specifically, a massive Alsatian ascending to
the Dachstein Glacier in Austria in the company of a German couple in matching checked
shirts and Lederhosen).
Dogs in restaurants (My wife and I witnessed a dog being served dinner
in a restaurant at the Bern, Switzerland train station, and a neighborhood eatery in
Lagos, Portugal had a dog that happily accepted tidbits from the customers).
Dogs in stores (among them, a brace of whippets in a ZŁrich department
store and an Old English Sheepdog that took up an aisle in a Salzburg stationery shop).
Dog-loving police and customs officials (most notably the French
policeman who blew kisses at our wire-haired fox terrier as we took our dogs ashore from a
Russian liner for a stroll in Le Havre).
Cats in Venice sleeping en masse on park benches, being fed by
neighborhood residents, and being protected by an Italian law that gives them the right to
spend their lives where they were born. (See my
of Venice and Venice's Oldest Cat?
articles for more on Venetian friendliness toward felines.)
Granted, not all European business establishments (or even hotels) welcome
pets. But in general, pets get more respect in Europe than they do in North America, and
you'll find more places where you can take your dog or cat than you would at home.
Should you go through the hassle of taking your pet abroad? If
you're going for only a few weeks, the answer is probably "no" unless you're
driving or your dog or cat is small enough to travel with you in an airliner's
cabin. However, if you're visiting Europe for an extended period, taking your
pet with you is an option worth considering.
Things to know:
Check pet policies when making hotel or apartment
reservations. Our hotel and vacation-rental partner,
clearly identifies properties as being pet-friendly (or not, as the case may
Transportation can be tricky unless you're traveling by car.
For information on European train travel with pets,
If you're flying, your choices may boil down to air cargo (expensive and
inconvenient) or--if your pet is small and the airline is
pet-friendly--bringing your pet into the cabin in a carrier. (Shipping your
pet as checked baggage is more difficult than it used to be, and it's now
forbidden altogether on some airlines.) Confirm your airline's pet policy
before booking your own tickets.
For more information, see the links below.
Related Web links:
European Pet Passport
If you're a European national, you can get the
European Pet Passport from your veterinarian. This will make it easier to
cross the EU's internal borders with your pet. Also see Wikipedia's
Pet Passport page.
European Commission: Movement of Pets from non-EU Countries
from the EC Web site's
Movement of Pets
section describes admission requirements for household animals (such as
microchipping, rabies vaccination, and a health certificate).
Pet Dog, Cat, or Ferret Abroad (for UK residents)
The British government
shares post-Brexit information on pet travel to the EU and other foreign
locations. If you're visiting from abroad, see
Bringing Your Pet Dog,
Cat, or Ferret to Great Britain.
The United States Department of Agriculture offers advice on
traveling abroad with a pet (and returning to the U.S. afterwards). Use the
interactive database tool for country-by-country information.
Transportation & Services
When your dog, cat, or elephant goes flyin', leave the paperwork and other details to
Our "Maggie in Venice" blog describes the adventures of an American dog, a
Bearded Collie, in Venice, Italy.
"Find out where you and your best friend are welcome."
The Sherpa Bag
A former TWA flight attendant developed this carry-on pet container for her
Llasa Apso. Her bag is now officially approved by a number of major airlines.