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Guide for Traveling with a Service Dog in Europe

12 April, 2018
Sunrise in Europe

Traveling is exciting. Taking in the new sites, discovering interesting people, and making memories are all things that a wonderful vacation are supposed to be. These expectations shouldn’t change just because you need to travel with a Service Dog.

However, before you book your flight, there are some things you will need to keep in mind when traveling to Europe with a Service Dog. In this post, we will cover all those important areas to help get you prepared for your dream vacation.

Traveling to Europe – Rules About Service Dogs

When traveling abroad with your Service Dog, there are five main things you will have to get done before your canine will be allowed into the country;

  • 1. A microchip in your Service Dog
  • 2. Rabies vaccinations
  • 3. Blood Work
  • 4. EU health certificate
  • 5. Treated for ticks, fleas, and worms

The microchip must be ISO compatible as not all from the United States can be read in Europe. Ask your veterinarian if your Assistance Animal’s microchip is going to be “readable” at your destination point.

The second major concern is with your dog’s rabies vaccination. Most European places will need proof of your dog receiving two rabies titers as well as the original rabies certificate. This document also needs to have details of the vaccine used including the expiration date and the lot number.

Your Service Dog must have its blood tested (at an EU-approved laboratory) with a satisfactory result. This will have to be done six months in advance of your travel date.

Once this has been completed, you will have to apply for an EU pet passport or, in a non-EU listed country, a third country official veterinary certificate.

Note that when traveling from the US to Europe all animals (including those used for service) must have a USDA certification stamp which is completed by your veterinarian.

Finally, your Service Dog will need to be treated for ticks, fleas, and tapeworms.

Where is My Service Dog Allowed in Europe?

It is against the law for service providers to discriminate against those with disabilities, this also includes individuals with Service Dogs.

Under the new law, service providers must make “reasonable adjustments” to their premises making it accessible for those that have a disability. This law also covers giving the person extra help where needed (i.e., guiding to a table or finding the washroom).

In Europe, Service Dogs and their handlers are allowed access to all public places including restaurants, hotels, public transportation, banks, theaters, pubs, and libraries.

Many businesses in the UK have been accredited by Assistance Dog International or the International Guide Dog Federation. Both these non-profit organizations are dedicated to helping those with disabilities get the rights they deserve and help guide businesses in being Service Dog-friendly.

Caring for Your Service Dog When Traveling to Europe

Caring for your Service Dog when traveling abroad will take some planning. Check out these helpful tips so you and your Service Dog will be prepared.

Food & Supplements

Make sure your dog’s food is manufacturer sealed. This will avoid any conflict when boarding the aircraft. Your local pet retailer may have sample packages of your dog’s kibble that will be easier to transport.

If you are embarking on a more extended trip, you may consider ordering your dog’s food and having it delivered to your destination point. Many regions will also have pet retailers that you can purchase your dog’s kibble; however, you may want to call or email them to be sure your dog’s brand is carried and in stock.

If your canine needs medications, be sure to keep them in the original bottles with a note from your veterinarian explaining their purpose.

Climate Changes

When traveling abroad, you will want to consider the climate you are both coming from and entering into.

When traveling from a cold to a warm climate, acclimate your Service Dog by;

  • 1. Shaving or trimming his coat
  • 2. Brush his coat often
  • 3. Add Pedialyte to his water to prevent dehydration
  • 4. Use small pocket freezer packs in the dog vest to help keep your Service Dog cool
  • 5. Use paw Booties to protect the dog’s feet

When traveling from a warm climate to a cold one, protect your SD by;

  • 1. Using insulated vests or dog jackets
  • 2. Brushing your dog’s coat to keep it in optimal condition
  • 3. Using paw Booties

Additional Service Dog Health Tips

No one wants their pet or Service Dog to become ill, especially when traveling outside their own country. To help keep your canine companion in top shape when in Europe, follow these additional Service Dog health tips.

  • Carry a pet first aid kit and add any additional supplies that apply to your Service Dog.
  • Take a pet first aid course or ask your veterinarian for the basics. Even if you may not be able to physically perform the first aid task, you may be able to instruct someone else to do so.
  • Find a veterinarian at your destination point. It may also be handy to drop this person an email introducing yourself. Letting them know that you would like to use their services in the case of an emergency. Keep this information in a safe, yet handy place.
  • Set aside “emergency money” just in case your Service Dog gets ill or injured.
  • Carry a muzzle or head halter. Some places may require this gear. Be sure your dog has been introduced to these and is comfortable using them.
  • Have a backup plan in case your SD cannot help you.

Traveling With Your Service Dog in Europe

When traveling with a Service Dog to Europe (or any destination), you will have to make plans well in advance. Inform the airlines (before your flight date) that you will be accompanied by a Service Dog to avoid any delays.

Make sure your canine has had proper rabies, wellness check and parasite treatments that are required by law for any animal traveling into Europe.

Finally pack your dog’s food, supplies and get him ready for any significant climate changes.

Being prepared is the best way to avoid delays or even dismissal from your final destination point.

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