With the close of our show season it's time for us to head to Spain for a few weeks of well deserved R&R, obviously the dogs will be coming with us, Cocoa back to her home country and Luca to his preferred adopted Espana, where they have the space to run, hunt and play to their hearts content. They work hard for a living too, so they deserve this well earned treat, probably far more than we do!
But we have to get there first, which is no mean feat as it's a 1423 mile drive and that's just one way! From the East coast of the UK, across the channel, through France, taking in the outskirts of Paris, straight down for a little bit, across the Pyrenees, crossing the border at Sans Sebastian into Spain, around Madrid (one of the highest European capitals) and then straight on, then straight on a bit more, arriving into Campo Camara, a very small Spanish village in the depths of the Andulcian countryside (southern Spain) probably about 35 hours later, all being well! Therefore planning and preparation is the key to that very long and tedious journey as no overnight cozy hotels for us, stopping only for the necessary wee and stretch of paw breaks as we are all very keen to arrive at our destination as quickly as possible.
For dogs, cats (and ferrets) to travel within the EU, (at the moment), they need a pet passport. This consists of micro chipping them and having a rabies vaccination. If this is the first rabies vaccination, you must wait 21 days after this before your pet will be allowed entry into the UK. They must also be at least 12 weeks old before the jab can be given and the micro chip must be given either before or at the same time as the jab. When you want to re-enter the UK you will also need to get them treated for tapeworm at a vets between 24 and 120 hours (5 days) before arriving back into the UK. The vets will need to confirm and sign for this in the passport. This will be checked religiously at your departure port or airport and if their passports are not correct or the dates are not valid, your departure will be refused, so it is worth checking and double checking your paperwork!
The dogs are seasoned travellers and already have their pet passports, they have been chipped and have had their rabies vaccination. However, this jab must still be within date. In the UK when the rabies jab is given it should be valid for three years, however the law in Spain is that all dogs should have the rabies vaccination once a year. I am not sure how they enforce this law because in the past we have travelled to Spain by ferry or by crossing the Spanish border by car from France and their passports have never been checked at that end. For us, they have only ever been checked by the UK border control, but their jabs are all correct and within the Spanish date so a trip to the UK vets is not required.
So that's just the start of our preparation for our mammoth journey, further blogs will follow as to what else we need to do before we even leave the house. But please don't be put off by the rules and regulations concerning pet travel, it is all fairly straight forward and your vet will explain everything in detail when you apply for the passport.
In rural France and Spain there is so much countryside to roam and to experience without having to worry about the same set of rules that you experience in the UK. These countries are much bigger and also less populated and therefore in various places it will feel like you and your dog are the only people on the earth. So go on, give it go, Cocoa and Luca always do a paws up for a foreign road trip!