Vacation with pets

September 13, 2021 by archyde

In Cornelia Funke’s children’s book “Greta and Owl Dog Sitter”, Greta is looking for something to do for a rainy summer vacation at home. The title gives an idea of ​​what solution she and her cousin Owl can come up with. Other people are plagued by the opposite problem: they do not have too much, chronically too little vacation, and because they like to spend it elsewhere, the question arises of what to do with dogs, cats and mice.

Take the animal with you or leave it at home?

Anna Vollmer

Editor in the features section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in Berlin.

Whether you travel with or without a pet depends on the animal. Basically, says Heiko Färber, managing director of the Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians and chairman of an animal shelter in the Wetterau, it is better to leave cats and small animals at home: “Cats need weeks to get used to a new environment: until they are comfortable feel, the vacation is already over. ”It might be better to ask neighbors or friends to come by twice a day to feed. The most uncomplicated animals in this regard are turtles – at least in the second half of the year: once in a cool place in hibernation, the animals can easily be left alone for a few weeks and should not be disturbed anyway. Fish are also well taken care of with a few preparations and an automatic feeder.

A dog needs more attention. Dogs also prefer to stay in their familiar surroundings, but they are not necessarily unhappy when traveling. Distances that can be covered by car are often unproblematic, Färber advises against flying. Large dogs have to go into the luggage compartment, unless they are considered “Emotional Support Animals” to give their owners emotional support. Either way, a flight is exhausting for animals – and thus possibly also for fellow travelers. It also costs: domestic flights with Lufthansa for small dogs 50 euros, for large dogs 160. The further the distance, the more expensive it becomes. On the train, you pay 50 percent of the fare for dogs that are larger than a house cat, a reservation is not necessary.

If you know your animal well, you should try to assess which solution is the best: to travel with you, to spend time with friends or in an animal boarding house. Basically, says Färber, it is important to “think in terms of the animal” and, in case of doubt, even to forego the trip: a sick animal should never be taken with you and only left to very experienced people to look after them.

Vacation with pets

A dog needs attention: Although dogs prefer to stay in their familiar surroundings, they are not necessarily unhappy when traveling.
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Image: ZB

What childcare options are there?

If you have no one to look after the animal, you have to organize yourself differently. With a look on the Internet, the possibilities seem endless: Numerous websites offer support, but you should see which is suitable for your own animal. And take care of yourself at an early stage: Heiko Färber’s animal shelter offers holiday care places, and they are fully booked six months in advance. Shelters may not be the most obvious solution for looking after your favorite pets, but they are cheaper than a classic dog boarding house. For a large dog you pay around 15 to 20 euros per day, in a guesthouse at least 25 euros, often more. If you want your animals to be looked after individually, you can try the local animal welfare association. Here, as part of the “Will you take my pet, I’ll take your pet” campaign, pet owners are brought together who can help each other with holiday care.

How do you recognize a good boarding house?

The most important criterion for suitable care is experience, says Heiko Färber: “In the best case, the pension is run by animal keepers or at least by people who have worked with animals for a long time.” Nice rooms or a certain food are less important than that Ask whether the operators can recognize diseases early enough and respond to the animals’ individual needs. “It’s best to take a look at the guest house beforehand or ask friends for recommendations,” says Färber.

Vets may also be able to provide advice. Once you have found good care, the length of your vacation is hardly relevant anymore: “At the beginning there may be a short period of mourning, but then the dog doesn’t really care whether you are out for two or three weeks,” says Färber.

Vacation with pets

If you know your animal well, you should try to assess which solution is the best: to travel with you, to spend time with friends or in an animal boarding house.
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Image: dpa

What should you watch out for when traveling with animals?

Anyone who decides to take their animal with them on trips should inform themselves beforehand. Traveling within Germany is rather uncomplicated, provided you find suitable pet-friendly accommodation. As soon as you go abroad, that changes. In Germany, a rabies vaccination is recommended, but not compulsory, but urgently required abroad. You should also have your dog’s vaccination certificate with you. Basically, it is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations of the respective country of travel, otherwise uncomfortable situations can arise. So-called “list dogs”, ie breeds that are colloquially referred to as “fighting dogs”, are not necessarily allowed everywhere, says Färber. Not all countries are equally open to animals. While four-legged friends can be pampered with massages in some dog hotels in Germany, street dogs are a real nuisance in other countries.

Regardless of the rules and duties, the following applies when traveling with animals: start small. If you never take your dog with you on shorter car journeys, you shouldn’t start with the Europe trip, but rather with an evening with friends.

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my