How to travel with your dog

My dog, Pella, is happy when she is close to her humans. I try to take her with me where ever I go, she is with me at work, when we go on hikes, when I go horseback riding and she tags along when we go traveling (when it is possible). It isn’t as hard to travel with a dog as you may think. She traveled with us from Sweden all the way to Canada and Alaska this summer!

Pella on Gothenburg Airport, Sweden on her way to Canada

Rules and regulations when you travel with your dog

If you live in the EU, in Canada or in the US you can bring your dog to a lot of places. Pella is registered in Sweden and has a European pet passport where her id-number (chip number), owner, general health, deworming, and vaccination shots are stated. The most important shot that all countries require is the rabies vaccination. It has to be valid and signed by a registered veterinarian in the passport (note that you have to wait 21 days from when the dog had the shot before you travel). Every country has their own rules and you should always check with the consulate/embassy what rules apply in their country before booking the tickets. Some countries (like Norway) requires a deworming a certain number of days signed by a vet before entering the country. It is not a big thing, just go to your vet, ask for the deworming med and make sure they sign the papers before you leave.

Rules for bringing pets to Canada, USA, Sweden

There are a couple of things you should think about when you decide to travel with your dog by plane. Different airlines have different rules and you should always look around for tickets for your dog because the prices and rules differs a lot! In general a dog over 10 kg is not allowed to travel in the cabin with you. Dogs over 10kg has to travel in a special cargo room (pressurized and temporized) and all airlines I’ve looked into require a special crate that is approved to fly with. There are a numerous manufacturers but you should look for the IATA lable saying approved for plane transport. Most airlines have a policy on how to handle dogs and I my favourites so far is KLM, SAS, Lufthansa and WestJet.

What happens on the airport?

My main concern for this trip was the many hours on the plane. It is a 13 hour trip from Gothenburg to Edmonton. We hade a 1,5h stop over in Amsterdam where Pella was transferred from one plane to another without being let out of her crate. But the Pella is a very cool dog, she is used to all kinds of environments and situations. And she did fine 🙂

When you arrive at the airport you check yourself in and the personell will help you get all the paperwork for your dog ready, at this point your dog doesn’t have to stay in the crate. After attaching all paperwork on the create you are asked to go to special bagage drop off with your dog. Don’t forget to bring zip ties to secure the crate (and dont forget to have something to cut them open with when your arrive on your destination). You get a time when you are supposed to drop off your dog, and it is set to be as close as possible before you have to go through security yourself.  You are allowed to go for a walk and let him/her do their business outside. The personell on the airports I’ve been to has been super sweet and helpful so you can stay with your dog as long as possible before your flight. You hand in your dog and get yourself to the gate.

Once you reach the final destination you get your dog back by the special baggage. I’ve picked my checked baggage from the carousel first to be ready to go through customs as fast as possible when you get the dog. When the dog arrive you go to customs right away, don’t let him/her out before your are through (two reasons, 1. they may have soiled them selves in the crate during the trip and 2. they want to go pee/poo as fast as possible once they are let out). Have all your dog’s paperworks ready and choose “items to declare”. Hopefully the customs is fast and smooth (it has been when we have traveled) and you will be able to let your dog out in the new country 🙂

Pella and us on the Top of the World highway close to the border between Yukon, Canada and Alaska, USA.

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