So much has changed since we first wrote this page, I am revising it now, at the end of 2011.
Traveling with a dog is an angst-filled process, due mainly to worry over the dog's welfare - how will he/she handle the flight?, how will the dog be handled?, etc.
We are often questioned on this choice, usually by others who think that a dog would impede enjoyment of a European trip. This can be true, but on the other hand, we find dimensions of traveling that are enhanced by bringing our dog. The obvious one is the companionship, but beyond that, walking with a dog invites more interaction with locals & you generally are not pegged as a tourist. About the only drawback is visiting museums, where we must split up & visit separately. On the other hand, we have taken our dog into attractions such as the Roque St Christophe Trodlodyte settlement, and other castles & ruins.
We have yet to encounter a restaurant in France, Germany, Netherlands or Belgium that did not welcome our dog.
Contrary to common misapprehension, in most EU countries there is not and never has been quarantine. A couple of Scandinavian nations and England have had quarantine. There are new measures in place for the UK, starting in Jan. 2012 (Click Here for the UK page), which bring it into very close conformity with the rest of the EU.
Here are the main points of the process:
We had to ensure he was microchipped with the ISO standard microchip used in the EU - if he isn't, you must rent a microchip scanner that would read his chip - we carried one with us on one trip - and of course they didn't even scan him at the border.
"Starting in July, 2011, all EU countries will require that your pet have a microchip and all documentation supporting the microchip number to permit entry. Some EU countries will accept all major brands of microchips and others will only accept the 15 digit ISO microchips. If your pet is micro chipped with a microchip other than a 15 digit ISO microchip, it is recommended that you carry your own microchip scanner."
Phone or email your chip manufacturer to confirm that your chip meets EU standards.
We had to have our vet fill in a form - note that this form has changed in 2012.
Check with your vet or the nearest Canadian Food Inspection Agency location to get the correct form.
This form basically confirms the microchip & rabies innoculation. Our vet filled it in and then we had to drive to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency office to pay $20 to have a government vet certify the paperwork that our vet had filled in.
(IATA = the International Air Transport Association)
When you book, ensure that the flight can take your dog & get written confirmation. Double check again 48 hours prior to the flight.
For the flight, we printed up sheets to go on his crate in plastic protective sleeves, with his picture, our seat & flight numbers, emergency number, etc. We handed one to the stewardess upon boarding, asking her to ensure he was on board. In addition to several taped to the outside of the crate, we tape one inside on the "ceiling' of the crate. A copy of the vet paperwork must also be affixed to the crate. If allowed, we also tape some food to the top of the crate & freeze water in the small water "bowl" that comes with the crate, so that it melts during the flight (check your airline's policies on this). We don't sedate our dogs at all, to ensure that they can properly control their breathing & ventilation.We always fly the dog on a direct flight accompanied by at least one of us, even if that means we take separate flights ourselves. We prefer KLM & Lufthansa, due to their pet-friendly attitudes: Lufthansa & KLM Pet Travel Checklist
Here's a sample of the sheet we use (simple MS Word document):