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How to prepare for travelling around the world with your dog

author Lucy Byrne | Sport and travel

Dogs are an inseparable part of our lives. But how to do it when your dream is to travel around the world on a sailboat or any other adventure? Take your furry friend with you. What shouldn’t you forget when preparing for a long journey wherever it takes you?

Travelling to remote corners of the world has become a common thing. Many of us like to explore the unexplored and travel across the planet to climb mountains, go for a canoe trip, wander in wild forests, sail the seas and oceans and many other things. If you have taken your dog with you for your quests so far, it doesn’t have to be any different during this new adventurous trip. It is only necessary to properly prepare for it. The basis is to find out any needed information to make the journey safe for your pet. Then nothing prevents you from setting off.

Chester and Awa know a lot about such preparation. It is a couple who became famous for sailing on catamarans with their pets. Getting all permissions related to sailing with pets reportedly took them more time and involved more paperwork than all other things related to their ocean trip. This is why it is not worth it to underestimate bureaucratic requirements in this case and start to work on it in time – the preparations might even take several months. In previous articles, I have already mentioned different countries having different rules and that extra costs for various vaccinations, examinations and quarantines need to be considered. What to start with then?

At first, you should take care of issuing an international vaccination certificate and passport for your dog. Do not be mistaken. The phrase “pet passport” started to be used within the European Union where dog, cat and other pet owners can get a blue book at their vet. But the term is used for any needed documentation outside the EU.

I personally found useful writing an itinerary which is as detailed as possible. I usually get the map of the region we are heading to first and using sticky notes I write down anything we need for our dog in every country or what countries we should avoid (a red sticky note). At some places, entering with animals is strictly regulated and you might expose yourself to unnecessary complications by visiting them. It is good to also make a note with information concerning vet care, spread diseases (especially rabies) and save contacts for dog care departments to your phone. Your vet might help you with that or you can contact some international association which collects this kind of information.

My backpack always largely consists of a first-aid kit. It shouldn’t be any different when travelling with your dog. Also, medicine for your four-legged companion should be included. The same applies to special equipment if you need some. May it be outdoor clothes, vests, etc. You should have everything in two versions – one for yourself and one for your dog. Don’t count on the fact that the countries you aim to “conquer” will offer the same products as you can buy at home. Pet shops are significantly different around the world and it very often depends on what role pets have in the given country and how they are treated. And this is also closely related to the availability of quality pet food.

Last but not least, you need to be prepared for crisis scenarios. It might seem negative to think of accidents that might happen but the saying “better prepared than surprised” applies even more here. It can save your and your dog’s life. It is good to sit down and “go through” the whole journey and think of anything that might happen – starting from injuries, natural disasters... Also consider the reactions of your dog in sudden situations, to huge noise, crowded places, etc. It is also good to prepare yourselves for situations for which you can’t foresee your dog’s reaction. For example, when it first sees dolphins or elephants :).

This is definitely not an exhausting list, there are rather a couple of practical tips we found useful over the years of travelling around the world with our dog. What is your experience when travelling with a dog? Does any other practical tip what to prepare for comes to your head?