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There are an amazing number of people that travel internationally with their dogs and even their cats every year. Since more and more resorts, hotels and even airlines are very pet-friendly; traveling with your dog is no longer as difficult as it was even a few years ago. Planning in advance is the key and you do need to be aware of rules, regulations and other issues that can potentially cause issues during international travel. Europe, as well as the United Kingdom, has historically been much more pet-friendly than North American travel spots. This means that you have a much greater variety of dog beaches, parks, hotels and even luxury types of accommodation to suit your travel needs and desires.
Typically in most European countries, including the United Kingdom, as long as pets have current vaccinations, have been microchipped, are blood tested free from rabies, have been treated for tapeworms and ticks and have all required travel and ownership documents there is no quarantine requirements. Britain and many European countries actually work within a program known as PETS or Pet Travel Scheme which recognizes specific documents to by-pass the standard six month quarantine requirements. In general you must be bringing in a dog or cat from an approved listed country and the animal must be vaccinated and healthy upon arrival to the destination country. As with any type of immigration or customs routine, animals are subject to inspection and can be quarantined if they do not meet the standards for travel in the country. The quarantine period varies from country to country but can be up to six months in some areas. Check ahead of time with the immigration department in the country you are traveling to in order to prevent any possible issues. Once your dog or cat has been quarantined they will not be released, even to return to your home country.
Planning a vacation in Europe or the UK can be a lot of fun. Since there are so many options it may be difficult to narrow it down, but below are several well-known and very popular pet holiday spots.
London, England - not surprisingly for most people, London, England offers visitors and their dogs many different vacation options. Since dogs have long been a part of both the royal family as well as a true part of the culture, they have a fair amount of freedom within the city parks, hotels and even holiday spots. Outdoor restaurants and pubs are often very dog friendly, provided the pet is well behaved and doesn't cause any problems within the establishment. It is always recommended that owners confirm with the staff that dogs are allowed on the premises before simply making an assumption.
Dog parks can be found throughout London and are typically well marked as to what areas are dog friendly and which are reserved for humans only. Public transportation is restricted to guide and service dogs only, which is fairly typical of transportation systems throughout Europe and the UK. Smaller dogs in totes and carriers are usually not an issue on public transportation systems.
Rome, Italy - a very romantic and classical holiday spot, Rome also offers a wide range of parks and attractions in the city and surrounding areas that are very dog friendly. It is estimated that there are close to 2000 pet friendly hotels and accommodations located throughout the city, giving dog owners a wide range of options.
Rome has many historic venues, most which are not open to owners and their pets. The parks, rivers and lakes around Rome are typically very dog friendly, however owners need to confirm which areas are open to dogs. One of the many parks in Rome that open to dogs is the famous Villa Doria Pamphilj. As one of the largest parks in the city is perfect for walking, jogging and playing with your canine travel companion. There are gardens, a bridge and numerous statues that all add to the beautiful landscaping.
Paris, France - It is almost impossible to think of Paris without thinking about Poodles and their aristocratic lifestyle portrayed in movies and literature. Paris is an extremely dog friendly city and well behaved dogs are welcome in any different types of parks, businesses and restaurants. Even some bakeries and cafes are very dog friendly, providing bowls of fresh water and even treats and food for your dog upon request from a menu. The vast majority of restaurants are very open to dogs being in the dining areas, provided they are well behaved.
Dog parks abound in Paris and most open areas are all dog accessible. It is very important to clean up after your dog while in Paris as there are huge fines for not doing so immediately. In addition any area posted to restrict dogs means just that, fines are very steep for taking your dog in the incorrect area. Typically, even in parks, dogs are not allowed on the grass, just on the sidewalks. In addition although the parks are very dog friendly, dogs need to be on a leash at all times, no matter how well behaved they may be. There are several off leash parks in Paris including the Jardin du Carrousel that has both on and off-leash areas available.
Berlin, Germany - Berlin is both a historical center as well as a cultural area. Overall the city is very dog friendly and is literally dotted with dog parks and attractions that are very open to having dogs. Hotels in Berlin that cater to dogs and their owners range from one to five star accommodations. Some hotels offer doggy day care services for those travelers who want to do some sightseeing on their own. Other features may include doggy spas, private dog walkers and even private groomers and massage therapists that will come right to your room to pamper your pet.
One of the major attractions in Berlin is Tiergarten Park, a historical hunting reserve right in the heart of the government district. The park, which is home to a zoo and castle, has specific areas designated as dog friendly. The over 14 miles of walkways allows dog lovers to really get in some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors in the middle of the city. Another popular park for dog walkers is Grunewald Park. This is located in the southern section of the city and hosts lakes, walkways through the forest and even a museum. Dogs are very welcome in the park and along the banks of the River Havel that forms the southern border of the park.
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