How can you travel in Europe with a dog? In this guest post, Finnish traveller Sauli V shares his experiences of traveling around Europe with a dog.

Meet Manu(ela), a 2-year-old Labrador retriever. She likes digging, beaches and peanut butter. Having visited 19 countries so far, she’s a pretty well seasoned traveller as well.

A black labrador dog on a stream. How to travel with a dog in Europe.

Manu in Galicia, Spain

Necessary Preparations for Traveling with a Dog

In order for Manu to start travelling, she needed a rabies shot, a microchip for identification, and a pet passport. This was done at the local vet and was easy to do. The microchip and the vaccination injected to the dog have stickers that are then glued to the pet passport as evidence.

After getting her passport, she was good to go within the EU plus a few other countries, such as Norway, which was her first destination. The rules and regulations concerning pet travel in Europe change from time to time. EU petizen Manu finds the up-to-date information here: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/carry/animal-plant/index_en.htm

If you click the link, you’ll see there are a few restrictions even within the EU. For example, Finland, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom require a treatment for tapeworm Echinococcus immediately before arriving in the country. So, don’t trust that just the passport is always enough!

Traveling around Europe with a Dog

As we travel with a van, Manu has never flown, and she has used public transportation only a few times. If she was to fly, she’d need to go in a crate in the haul as she weighs (waaay) over 8 kg. In public transport some countries require dogs to be muzzled in order to get in. This happened to us when taking funicular up to San Marino!

While driving our van Manu has her own space in the back. It’s important that she’s tied somehow, but also comfortable. She needs to be tied for two reasons in case of an accident:

  1. So she doesn’t fly on top of us
  2. She doesn’t run on to the road to cause further accidents

What we’ve found best is a harness with an extra piece attached to the seatbelt clip. This extra piece is easy to find in most pet shops.

When choosing accommodation, we check in advance if pets are allowed. Many search engines allow filtering pet friendly hotels. The same can be done in Airbnb. Generally camping sites seem to charge a few euros per pet, but hotels rarely charge anything. We try to find our places to stay with something green in the vicinity.

A dog on the green hills of Transylvania, Romania. Traveling around Europe with a dog.

Transylvania, Romania

Entering EU with a Dog

A few months back we made the mistake of crossing the border to Serbia, which meant we got out from EU.

On our way out of Serbia towards Romania (in EU), the Serbian border guards stopped us to tell us “dog zertifikat” is missing, and that we will need it on the Romanian border. We will go and see what happens, we told them, as they really didn’t have any reason to keep us on the Serbian side.

On the short drive towards the Romanian border control, we were begging Manu to keep it quiet in the back. When we came to the Romanian border, the first thing – Wooof! Oh man, we’re in trouble now Manu.

The Romanian border guards immediately started a conversation among each other. They took all our three passports and all but one border guards went in. “Labrador?” said the one who had stayed outside. “Yes” we replied. “Lovely dogs, we had one working here. My colleague recognized the bark right away! Welcome to Romania.”

Later we learned that to come back to the EU, Manu should’ve had a rabies antibody (titer) test, also known as Dog Zertifikat. Since then we’ve stayed inside the EU.

This guest post was written by Finnish long-term traveller Sauli V. You can follow his travels on Instagram (@sau_lee123).