When traveling couple Abbey and Hugh of South Wales added a 10-week-old pug puppy to their family, they knew that the new, furry addition to the family would be tagging along on their adventures.
Today, Pebbles is a well traveled, 5-year-old pug who has visited 29 countries across multiple continents.
Some of her most memorial trips include a four month journey through Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and then over to Europe, and island hopping in Greece. She’s been on buses, ferries, planes and trains, and plans to pick up with her travels again once the pandemic is over.
Here are Pebbles’s best tips, including what she brings on her travels and what it’s like traveling with a brachycephalic dog.
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What inspired you to travel with your dog?
Pebbles is our baby and as a couple that love traveling (we have clocked 87 countries together so far) we knew we NEEDED to take her with us!
What’s your favorite thing about traveling with a dog?
Having Pebbles with us all the time!!!! She loves traveling, exploring, the beach and snacks so she is an ideal traveller.
Many people are scared to travel with a flat-nosed breed, like a pug. What was your experience like?
People ask us this all the time and we are aware of the health issues associated with brachycephalic breeds, especially when it comes to breathing.
Pebbles is pretty good. She adapts to heat easily and loves the water so it’s easy to keep her cool and calm.
In terms of flying, we will only fly with her in cabin and feel if the air quality is good enough for 300+ humans, the air quality is good enough for her!
What advice do you have for others who want to do the same?
Be prepared and patient. Get all of your documents in order. Get your pet’s health checked out, get all the necessary vaccines and treatments.
Make sure you travel with a pet first aid kit, cooling vest or mat, bowls and never go anywhere without water! Also, just ask! Even if you think somewhere isn’t pet friendly, just ask if it is, you might be surprised!
How do you prepare Pebbles for travel?
Pebbles is very chilled and adaptable so emotionally she doesn’t need any prep. She’s happy and calm so long as she’s with us.
Physically, we take her to the vet for a check up, vaccines (distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis, rabies), internal and external parasite treatments and prescriptions for however much parasite treatment we need for the duration of the trip (we use advantix, advocate and droncit) and for any paperwork we need.
What is the hardest part about traveling with Pebbles?
We’ve found that travelling Europe is super easy, it’s easy to find accommodation, activities, beaches, restaurants and bars etc. that are pet friendly.
Having an EU Pet Passport also means that aside from a few countries that require specific treatments for echinococcus (UK, Ireland, Malta, Finland and Norway) you don’t need to visit a vet before crossing borders.
Mexico and Costa Rica were harder (especially leaving Mexico!!) and language barriers can make things even more difficult, but you just have to be patient in finding the right person that can help (in the case of both countries very helpful vets).
We also get a bit upset when places refuse Pebbles as we’re so used to her being welcome, but that’s a small thing really – we just wish they’d give dogs a chance! The vast majority of places don’t actually have laws preventing pets from entering restaurants.
How did your style of travel change with a dog in tow?
We definitely had to slow down the pace!
We’ve travelled some places in the past super quickly, spending sometimes only a night or two somewhere before moving on before traveling with Pebbles. Now we definitely take it slower to give us all a chance to settle in and explore.
Sometimes it can take some time to suss out the pet friendliness of a place, so we’d rather have more time to find all the fun pet-friendly places!
What surprised you the most about traveling with Pebbles?
That ultimately, it really is easy if you are traveling with a small dog, and that rules and restrictions generally are nowhere near as bad as people think!
How were you able to find dog-friendly accommodations?
We do a mixture of hotels and Airbnbs. Most comparison websites and Airbnbs have pet-friendly filters.
We have also approached many Airbnb hosts who list no pets as a rule but are willing to make an exception when you get in touch.
What are some essential items that you packed?
Pet first aid kit, parasite treatments, cooling vest, collapsible bowls, foldable crate and fluffy bed, lots of poo bags, coats for the cold Canadian winter.
What are things you realized while on the journey that you didn’t think of before?
We felt we were really prepared on all our travels!
We were really worried about flying with Pebbles and how she would react to the noises so made sure our first flight was short (two hours from Netherlands to Croatia) but she was super chilled the entire way and just slept.
We did make sure to gradually build up the flight times though, so before she took her first long flight (7.5 hours UK to Canada) we’d built up to just over four hours.
What was the best part about traveling around Europe with your pug?
Having her with us, but the number one thing was taking her to the secluded spot we had gotten engaged at in Santorini!
Island hopping Crete, Santorini and Mykonos with her was magical and we never got refused entry anywhere – plus all the beaches are pet friendly!
Europe as a whole is extremely dog-friendly and the great spring, summer, early autumn weather means a huge amount of life happens outdoors, so nearly all eating and drinking establishments have terraces and outdoor areas where they literally never refuse pets.
What advice do you have for people who want to travel with their dog, but are nervous to do so?
Just do it! But also to be prepared and patient.
It’s not always easy to find entry and exit information for pets online, in foreign countries it’s even more difficult as the information might not be in English, it can take time to find a vet that knows how to correctly fill in documents, it can take time to find activities that will allow pets, same goes for bars and restaurants.
That said, in Europe these problems are few and far between – my number one advice for European travel is GET AN EU PET PASSPORT! It’s so easy and remains valid for a pet’s life.
Thank you Abbey, Hugh and Pebbles!
Click here to read more interviews with traveling dogs.
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