driving to Italy with dogs

05/24/2009 - 06:09

Hello All.  I have just found this group having returned from Italy yesterday. Nice place!I am exploring the region round Urbino and hope to take my dogs there for a longer stay.  Anyone any advice.? I have two dogs now, but only small Renault Clio! I do not have a  dog guard because the weimaraner is squashed otherwise- is it mandatory to have one? Any route suggestions? Yesterday I was even thinking of getting a camper van- but not ideal for short shopping trips in England ... and a big commitment of money.....more comfortable for the dogs..when I ususally drive a distance in England the dogs lay onthe back seat out of the sun.  Any experiences?would be great to hear! :-)


I am afraid it is compulsory to have a dog guard if you are carrying more than one dog. Could you fold he back seats down and put a dog guard behind the front seats? Might make luggage a bit difficult........ 

Can we drive through the tunnel with pets now?  Or go on the Eurostar?  Last time I looked at this I'm sure the only way was ferry. I've found the defra site but couldnt find any reference to travel with dog guards etc...Does anyone  have any links where I could find out more please?

 Cages are not needed unless you are using some form of public transport, but you will need a dog guard. I can confirm that it is OK to transport them on the ferry. They do need their "passports", call DEFRA or look at their website.

I have taken my dogs on Eurotunnel. I prefer it as one of my dogs is a bit nervous and leaving him in the car for 2 hours on the ferry with lots of banging and crashing didn't seem like a good idea. Sorry - I don't know what happens if you have a camper.As Gala says, they do need their passports whichever way you come.

That's about all I do know!  The passports and such...I had a look on the old forum and read the threads there...i just had this vague idea that they were not allowed in a private car in the tunnel...maybe I got mixed up and it was eurostar...I guess ibn a camper you have to do the same- a barrier between driver and rear of vehicle- I wonder if there is strict criteria dfor this...I will ring Defra...I have not found the web site any help...though probably looking or searching wrongly...:-)

Hi Jacquie. We brought our 2 labs over in the car with no real trouble; travelling on Eurostar trough the tunnel was the best option. You don't require a Dog Guard but for your safety the dogs must be secure in the car so that they don't wonder over to sit on your lap whilst you're driving. If they go to sleep in the back, like our two, then no problems but if they are prone to leaping about then maybe leave their collars and leads on and secure them down somewhere; you can buy harnesses that affix to the seat belts.You will need a passport for them, and all in order and they will have to be Wormed/deticked etc before they return (see DEFRA site for details). If you stop every couple of hours on the drive down at one of the numerous motorway laybys then you should be fine.Ciao

 DEFRA is very helpful if you ask them beforehand what needs to be done. My daughter communicated a lot with them when she was moving her pet rabbit from Singapore to Spain (transit) to finish in the UK and two years later to move him again from the UK to Spain. Email them and ask all the questions you need them to clarify. Then, keep a copy of their answers for future reference.Dogs travel very well by car if you get them used to it and you do regular stops every two hours to give them water and so that they can walk around, etc. Our little dog travels to Italy from Spain twice or three times a year, with an overnight in Antibes and she loves it. The minute she sees her "luggage' being sorted out and organised she gets very excited. Take small treats for the dogs while travelling. They really appreciate that. Good luck!

We travel to Piemonte in Italy by road via Eurotunnel 4 times a year for a couple of months each time.  Our beautiful golden retriever, who is now fifteen and who doesn't look a day over 8, sits or lies with enough room to turn, in an elevated box which is behind the driver seat of our air conditioned  Renault Traffic. We find that he prefers to lean against something so that he can brace himself and he can also be seat belted in if necessary.  We constructed the area especially for  him, it is carpeted and also has his own smelly  bedding underneath him.  He manages to sleep for most of the 15 (total with stops) hour trip along the motorway through France, with 4 comfort/ drinking stops and two eating breaks .  He enjoys being close to us and also gets glimpses of the delightfully scenic French motorways! There have been no major restrictions on Eurotunnel as we pay for him to be included on our ticket and he could equally be on the back seat of a car with or without  a seat belt. The only restriction is that dogs are not allowed out of the vehicle whilst in the tunnel.  He went through the 6 month rabies medication process and has an ID chip and passport.  DEFRA rules are quite specific but our UK vet told us what we needed to know and do.  We do all the necessary medications which amount to flea/tick treatment and worming before he returns to the UK, through an accredited italian vet, whom we have got to know very well over the last two and a half years. He ends up being wormed at a very high dose every three months virtually and certainly doesn't need any more at home. He will soon need a top up rabies vaccine as the original only lasts for three years.  Whilst there is no requirement that we have heard of in terms of a dog guard I agree that driver safety is important and the dog/ your children should not be able to jump onto your lap whilst driving, but this is the case also here in England.Hope your plans go well.

penny is right about the law here... the dogs have to have a barrier fitted... that is if you carry more than one dog... a new italian law...well a couple of years old... and am sure that for local drives if you live here you would be unlikely to be caught out by it... however if driving down and you are at a border area then if they have nothing better to do you might well be stopped...the other point is that for your own safety... any object behind you in a car not tied down in a situation where the car stops suddenly is basically going to kill you  so in a practical self preservation sense the dogs should at least be attached to the seat belt systemagree about the Defra people and your own vet...working together they are the best font of knowledge on foreign travel with animals... the tunnel thing when we moved over was that no pets were allowed... so can see where you might be getting older news... in that sense but from the posts above it now seems to be a common enough journey for animals and like someone said much more comfortable and less scary for them...due to the fact the ferry companies went on strike the day we left we got a transfer onto the tunnel ...would have chosen it but they didnt allow pets then... and we just didnt tell them we had a dog on board... got through with no probs...the other thing to note is that Italy has some diseases in certain areas that are very harmful to dogs... am not sure that i would choose to bring dogs on a sort of touring holiday unless there are no alternatives.. the heat is a major problem if you are not sya driving to your own house...as others have posted the journey ...providing you keep moving and give comfort breaks is easy enough,... but an extended trip looking around Italy might well be harder on them... you will know yourself whats best... as others  have said best of luck with it...  a camper van sounds like a good idea ... and it would be easy enough i would think to get some sort of wired door fitted to make it legal to carry more than one dog... 

In reply to by adriatica

Grazie mille for all those great replies....!  great to meet you all again.. :-)  I now have made Italian friends around the Urbino area, after visiting regularly last two years...; I chatted about this on the old forum a couple of years ago ( name Jackie!)My dogs sit quietly in the back of my car, or on long trips , I fill in the foot well of the back seat area with luggage and they lie down on the back seat using the raised footwell as well to stretch and sleep on... . However, I take your point about the seat harness and the fact no matter how quiet, if someone goes in the back, a weimaraner is a heavy dog to fly forward..  I know nothing of the harnesses or how to secure the dogs comfortably, what equipment exists, and safetywise, sounds like a good idea.  Can anyone point me how to use the seat belts safely for the dogs?  I am finding out all the blips where I know nothing, as you can see!  In October, I am going to stay with a Danish  friend who runs a b and b, who I met last year, been in Italy 30 years; I'm staying for a couple of weeks; It sounds just the job- in  an area of conservation, or about to be made into one, ( Cenquetobono- anyone know it?) She has 2 dogs and has said bring mine- so if all goes well, I intend to go for a month in Spring 2010 with my two dogs- it's off road with just tracks, so ideal as I love nature too- and do that as a regular holiday for us all...!  Do you think it is not worth going for a month with the dogs, Adriatica, risk wise re illnesses you mentioned?  The area is near Urbino, north east italy- are there particular disease risks here? I'd like to weigh up the pros and cons; I love being with my dogs- always feels like home with them and particularly in a country area, where they can really enjoy it too..My hope is this will become regular extended hols  and then I will find roots develop naturally.... ...looking to make a move there for a few years, or permanently, in 2010/11.  As I'm doing this on my own, I 'm keeping the pace steady, and want to also gather as much money and finish off all my debts here first.  I can then let out my house here and use the rent to rent over there; that's the plan! Any related comments and experiences to share ...please add on!

http://www.leishmaniasis.info/thats the most fearsome disease here in Italy for dog owners and its a common enough problem to be worry in many areas here... not just down south where its almsot endemic but there are hotspots ...around rome and many areas in the cntre north ... especialley it seems in coastal areas as the fly breeds best where the air is more humid... height is a saviour as regards this ...in the sense that the fly does not breed so well in areas with plenty of fresh air...its wise to be aware also that there are species of animals in italy such as vipers that can get upset with curious dogs...not used to getting a bite from anything they dig their noses into... but am sure your friends will be aware of this... and its something to be cautious about by being aware ...but not i would say fearful...sun stroke... animals get it... beach holidays are not suitable for animals... besides the controls on access to beaches... i know ...you have not mentioned that...  just a general observation...the harness you get for dogs is sold in most pet shops...in the UK too ... i also have never used them so cannot be much help on their fitting ... however i think its just a case of putting the harness on the dog... and there is a loop which the belt goes through and you then click the seat-belt into its socket... a simple thing...... the thing is you know your dogs best and from the sounds of it they are used to travelling by or in the car... and are calm and content... even the best run kennels can be stressful for a dog... so you will know what your dogs prefer... although as far as i remember you have to plan well in advance.. and have your dog treated in plenty of time before they are allowed out.. the Defra site or your vet will know all the current limits...anyway you have plenty of time to look into things.. and get prepared ... 

In reply to by adriatica

 Those dog harnesses mentioned by Adriatica are excellent. they come in various sizes to suit the dog. They loop around the body of the dog and the seatbelt are comfortable and very easy to fit. I have been stopped by the Carabinieri several times and told to fasten my dog. The harness is perfectly acceptable. Good luck.

Thank you for that also!  The seat belt sounds excellent- will look into it generally.  The place I hope to tajke them next year- well it's quite high- in the hills in Parco di San Lorenzo; she said her dogs are fine with no problems, but will chat further on this when I see her. Can't help thinking that in this heat, I will need a vehicle upgrade, at least to air con...for that journey with dogs...

We took the ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge with 3 dogs.  The accomodation on board was excellent and it really was no hassle.  Then a 24 hour journey to Umbria.  The dogs in the back of the car (4x4) with dog guard.  All went well.  Our oldest dog at 9 years hasn't taken to living in Italy very well.  Next at 8 years is fine and the youngest at 6 loves it - chases lizards all day.  We also however shipped 2 cats with British Airways into Cargo City (Rome).  This was a nightmare.  Had to wait nearly 3 hours to collect them and then they had lost their passports. After several months I got compensation from BA.  Only a couple of months after moving one of the cats died suddenly - we think she was bitten by a snake.  A neighbour has lost 2 cats, a dog and a shhep to snake bites - so beware everyone.  Keep the grass near the house short.  Everyone says chickens are good for keeping the smakes away from the house. 

We brought our two dogs over in October, drove all the way and had them in harnesses attached to the rear seat belts. They were quite happy and so were the border controls. They love it here and, like Pauilnes above, love the lizard hunting.This is quite another subject to travelling with dogs but may be helpful. We bought Frontline to protect against ticks but found that both dogs were getting ticks as it got close to the one month "top-up" period. We have now read an article about apple cider vinegar and using that for dogs. We put a small amount in the water every day and they have not had a tick since. Its something about acidity/ alkali balance and the very slight change in aroma which puts ticks off. It is also supposed to work for us against mosquitos so we are having a go ourselves, nothing ventured...........

And I thought it was only our silly dog that chased the lizards. We had one with no tail last summer.On other issues raised in this thread, it's eurotunnel for us - back of the estate open - dogs love it especially as one does get car sick so we would not want to risk a choppy channel crossing - and of course on the train you stay with them.Sand flies - Leishmaniasis - we have the scalibor collars for the dogs in the summer even though we are in the hills it is not worth taking the risk. Incidentally we have discovered that these collars also keep off  ticks but we will still try the apple cider vinegar in the water.

Thanks SanG for the Apple Cider Vineger tip - we shall have a go.  Anthing is better than extracting ticks.  Never heard of scalibor collars coppicer - can they be purchased in Italy?

In reply to by Pauline Vernon

we always use these collars... they are sort of white plastic and last three to four months... which pretty well covers the season...and protects from all bugs....including the leish one...sorry spelling ...hate the word and the bug... available at all pet shops or vets...cost i think around 30 euro...they make them according to dog size... but if too long you just cut the end off... some cats i believe react badly ...but its a rarity in dogs to have an adverse reaction ...anyway to my mind its better than the  use of drops every month and it protects against a wider range of beasts... and fits alongside the normal collar  

My son picked up 2 abondoned puppies at the side of a white road a few weeks ago.  We tried to get them into the dog pound but they were not taking any new arrivals.  We have spread the word and left  fliers in the local pet shop and vets.  However still no luck at finding new homes.  As we already have 3 dogs we really can't keep them and are getting a little desperate.  Does anyone want a lovely pup(s) - one male all black and one female all brown.  We live near to Umbertide in Umbria.  Alternatively does anyone have any other ideas about how to go about finding good homes. 

http://www.laikanimali.org/benvenuti.htmthey are milan based but they may well have contacts or be able to help with advice of how to solve your problem... there are also many dog forums here which might help... but they are also all in Italian ...and often like you they are often desperately searching to re home...http://www.legadelcane.org/ is another national site for dog protection and might be worth asking for help good luck