Prior to setting out on our travel adventure, I was concerned about the strict dog rules of railways, buses, and stores. Now that our paws are on the ground in Europe, I know these rules are only written for legality reasons and are often not (if ever) enforced. If you are ever in doubt, take ten and watch the locals. Follow their lead!
Expect to see stickers indicating a muzzle must be worn on city buses, the rail network and other modes of transportation where there are large groups of people. Rarely have I seen a dog with a muzzle when the rules specifically indicate it is needed. The rare times I have seen a muzzled dog, the dog has been very large or a banned breed.
Tango is a snub-nosed breed as she is part pug and I worry about her having a reverse sneeze attack from wearing a muzzle. I managed to find an adorable duckbill shaped muzzle (find it here) that is open on the end as I knew a closed muzzle would have her extra agitated. She has yet to use it. We always carry it with us and I recommend you carry one as well “just in case!”
I can’t tell you how many times I have “snuck” Tango into a mall or shop only to see other dogs walking inside on a leash. France and Croatia, in particular, have a large amount of no dog signs, yet it is not enforced and frankly ignored. Never ignore these signs in pharmacies, grocery stores, children’s playgrounds or churches as these signs are strictly enforced. However, I recommend asking in restaurants and in museums even if you do see a sign. Many restaurants will be welcoming of dogs on patios or for takeout. Museums have allowed me to carry Tango in a bag. You may be surprised at how many stores, malls, beaches, modes of transportation, and parks are actually dog friendly. When in doubt of the dog rules, watch the locals and follow suit!
Leashes tend to be reserved for tourists, high pedestrian and traffic areas and aggressive male dogs. A common opening question when being greeted by a local dog owner is “boy or girl?” as many local male dogs are unneutured and can, therefore, be aggressive. Unneutured male dogs will commonly be on a and are friendly with female dogs. Many locations we have visited such as Venice, Split and Ljubljana have large pedestrian only walking areas and streets where you will find local and well behaved dogs off leash.
The lack of need for Tango’s health documents is shocking to me! I spent months prior to our departure arranging the correct vaccines, rushing an expensive titer test and visiting a neighbouring town to have Tango’s health documents signed off by the Canadian Government. When we landed in Amsterdam and went through customs for the first time since leaving Canada, Tango was not even acknowledged by the border guard. He took my passport, asked me if I had ever been to Europe and wished me a good stay. Wow!
Tango has crossed multiple borders and we have never faced an inquisition. I have been asked if I have pet passport for her but have never had to produce it. Take note, this does not necessarily apply when flying. When Tango flew internationally I did not need to provide her documents, however, with domestic air travel within Europe, her Pet Passport was looked over extensively.
Just kidding! Don’t be THAT person, always carry poop bags! This is one dog rule that must be followed!
*Pet Passport: In Canada and the USA, we do not have Pet Passports like European countries. Our documents are similar with the pet’s name, age, date of birth, color, IMEI number etc. however they are considered documents. For simplicity, I refer to these documents as a Pet Passport.