Travelling with a Dog

Travelling with a small dog is relatively easy but requires much preparation.  The first thing you need to do is ensure that you can bring a dog in the country you plan to visit without quarantine requirements.  Some countries, like Australia and the UK, do not even allow for a flight stop over.  I was told by our vet’s office that the UK regulations have recently changed but I was not able to confirm this at this time.  You therefore need to do your research before planning a trip.

The next step is to check what are the airline requirements for an in-cabin dog carrier and health certificate requirements of the country you are visiting.  For Spain, you can bring your dog or cat, without any quarantine, provided that it meets certain requirements.  You can read our blog on this subject for more details.  Follow this link to read what happen to us when we brought Amy Lou to Spain.

Before the flight, it is crucial to give your dog a good walk.  We walked Amy Lou for a full hour at a good pace to tire her a little. We gave her her morning meal and carried dried Ziwi lamb flakes with us to give to her as treats after the flight. The dog should not be fed a full meal and should only be allowed sips of water during and before the flight.  We need to stop free drinking altogether at least 2 hours prior the flight.  Amy Lou is just a sipper anyway and did not want any water at all during the flight. Some give their dog ice cubes.  Amy licked them a little and that was enough for her. Don’t worry, they will hold their pee just like they do at night.

When you get to the airport, check-in, pay your in-cabin dog fee ($125CDN for us to travel to the EU) and take your dog outside.  At the Vancouver Airport, there is a perfect outdoor dog relief area just outside the terminal.  It is truly beautiful and offers a nice path to walk your dog a little before the flight.  If you fly to the US, there is also a dog relief area at the very end of the departure lounge where you wait for your flight. It is like a toilet with fake grass, poo-poo bags, water to rinse after the job is done.  There is lovely 😊  urine smell for your dog to be prompted to do his or her business there.

While waiting for your flight, you can let your dog out of its carrier and walk him or her in the terminal.  Some say it is not allowed but no one said anything to us.  Amy was quite a hit with waiting passengers waiting of course. Several took pictures as it often is the case when she is in public places.  Amy is quite the super model with her bow and top knot!  Here are a couple of pics of the outdoor dog relief area at the Vancouver airport and of Amy Lou quietly waiting for our flight.

We had a 9.5 hour flight from Vancouver to Amsterdam.  On our first flight, we then spent the night at the Sheraton Schiphol airport to give her a chance to relax.  She was well rested for her second flight the next day to Malaga which was a quick 3 hour flight.  We no longer need to stay for the night.  She now knows the drill and after relieving herself in the family bathroom and a walk around the terminal, she is fine to proceed for the second flight.

Amy Lou was a trooper during the whole flight.  She barked twice.  Once at the meal carrier, she hates big objects on wheels, and another time when the person in the seat ahead accidentally kicked her bag a little.  People laughed of course.  It took her a long time to relax on her first flight however.  She had her nose glued to the mesh window of her bag looking at us the whole time but I eventually covered the top of our knees and her bag with a blanket so it was dark for her and she could eventually relax and sleep.  I kept my feet real close to the bag so she could smell me and feel safe that we were there with her. It is important to not pay attention to the dog otherwise, they will want to come out and join you.  Never let them out of the bag.  They need to understand that it is not allowed.  Like my Terry, my husband, says all the time, “of course, she will be fine on the flight, wouldn’t you be if you could fly in your comfy bed?” 😊

As soon as you come out of the airplane, take your dog to a family or disabled washroom, put a pee pad on the floor and a small bowl of water.  Don’t look at the dog.  I tell Amy Lou, “pee pee on the pad before dodo in the bag”.  She knows all of those words and is really quick in relieving herself on the pad.  We then congratulate her and give her a big treat.  She is so happy to know what she is supposed to do. 🐾🥰

We are very lucky to have such an easy little girl.  She is an amazing traveler and we will never hesitate to take her everywhere with us. Here is a photo of her at home in her flamenco dress.


Stay tuned!  I will soon write about going to restaurants, tourist attractions and other places with a small dog in Spain.

Here are other posts regarding travelling with a dog:

Deadly diseases your dog can contract while travelling abroad and how to prevent them

Amy Lou’s perspective on our first 6 months in Spain