Vacations with your dog

Find out useful tips for taking your dog on a boat.
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If you're a dog owner thinking of taking your furry friend on your next vacation, this one is for you. For starters, let's review the “air or boat” question when it comes to traveling with a dog. Taking a pet on a plane can be complicated and may not be supported by all airlines or flights. Also, it is likely that there will be an additional cost for your dog to fly in the cabin; and, if there is no available space or if your dog does not meet the size requirements of eight kilos, it will have to fly as cargo, under the cabin where it is dark and cold. Further, if you travel abroad, you may be asked to quarantine the dog or have it checked for certain diseases.
So, book your next vacations at Let's Ferry! Get cheap ferry tickets to your favorite island and sail for a hassle-free vacation with your furry friend. Have your tickets delivered to your door or pick them up at the port at no extra charge.

To make it even easier for you, we've put together some useful tips on how to make your boat trip with your canine friend easy, comfortable and fun.

- If this is your first time traveling with your dog, choose a nearby destination to see how your dog handles the ferry ride. If you're leaving from Athens, good close-by destinations are Aegina and Agistri, from Lavrion consider Tzia, from Kilini opt for Zakynthos, and from Volos, set sail for Skiathos.

The island of Aegina
The island of Aegina

- Another good option to consider are islands where cars are not allowed. This way, your dog can safely explore new places and put his sense of smell to the test, without you having to worry about car accidents. The cosmopolitan island of Hydra with its cobblestone streets as well as the island of Spetses with its beautiful pine trees by the sea are prime destinations for you to enjoy long walks and fun hikes with your canine friend!

The island of Spetses
The island of Spetses

- A few days prior to your departure, take your dog to the vet for a check-up and make sure your pet is up to date with his/her shots. Make sure you carry a copy of your pet's medical records, including the immunization records as you may be asked for it by the boat company and/or the hotel where you will be staying.
- Ask the doctor or the pet grooming salon to cut your dog's nails and clean his ears. It's not only proper “canine etiquette” but also a good health practice for your dog before traveling.
- Check if there is a vet or a pet shop at your destination. If not, ask your veterinarian to give you simple care tips and emergency advice. For example, you may want to consult with the vet about carrying an atropine sulfate injection as an antidote in case your dog gets poisoned and find out exactly how to administer it in case you have to do so.
- Check when your dog is due for his/her deworming pills and make sure you carry the pill with you in case the due date coincides with your vacation. In general, it's good practice to carry with you any medicine, pills or animal care items for your canine friend because in many islands these items may be in short supply.

Dog in the beach with his friend
Dog in the beach with his friend

- Plan ahead as if there will be nothing available for your dog where you're going! Pack all items that relate to his health and wellbeing: feeding and water bowls, leash, collars, food and snacks, dog diapers, pet toys, chewing bones, dog bed and blanket and everything else that makes their tail wag happy and safe.
- Dogs over 15 kilograms are required by law to stay in special kennels that all ships are equipped with. You can carry smaller dogs with you in a dog carrier bag or backpack, and when you walk with them make sure they are leashed and muzzled.
- Get your four-legged friend “psychologically” ready for the trip. Remember that while cats for example may adapt quietly dogs, if uneasy or stressed, can spend the entire trip barking and/or whining… a situation that is far from pleasant for your dog, yourself or the other passengers. To get your dog ready for the boat trip, take it for a walk around the port before the trip, so that he/she can get acquainted with the place, the smells and the noise. Reward your dog with a snack to make him/her feel relaxed and safe. Show them the bag or crate where they will be carried and let them smell and taste it in order to get comfortable. Any preparation that is likely to help your dog and you avoid any unpleasant reactions the day of your trip is a plus.

Dog with a girl in the beach
Dog with a girl in the beach

- An aggressive dog is likely to create problems wherever you take it. Try familiarizing your dog with the presence of people so that both of you can have a good time throughout your vacation. If you're dealing with a really aggressive or easily vexed dog, make sure it is always on a leash and muzzled.
- If you are the dog mama or papa of a puppy, make sure to check often with your little furball and clean its transport bag/crate as appropriate. Make no mistake, other passengers can quickly pick on that dog smell.
- Do not let your dog travel on a full stomach. Dogs, not unlike humans, can get nauseous during a boat ride. Give them food some 5-6 hours before departure and make sure they have water throughout the trip.
- During the boat ride, it would be good to give your dog a toy or special mat that can help him stay busy and stress free. Our pet friends are not much different from us. Just as we would enjoy a good board game to kill time, so does a dog enjoy to unwind.
- Check with the hotel where you will be staying to make sure that dogs are allowed and find out if there is a pet fee charged. Some places do not accept dogs, so it's good to know before you make your reservation and put a deposit down.
- Make sure your dog can be easily identified. A chip ID or collar tag with your information can help locate it and reunite you with your four-legged friend in case he/she gets lost.
- For islands that require longer boat rides, such as Mytilene, Chios, Samos, and Crete, rent a cabin for you and your canine friend to travel comfortably. Check all the available routes at Let's Ferry and make your reservation online at no extra charge.

The island of Samos
The island of Samos

Remember that enjoying your vacation and travel with your dog is your responsibility as the pet owner. Keeping your dog calm, clean, healthy and safe is up to you and it will allow you to enjoy your time on the Greek islands and make beautiful memories. Remember not to leave the dog alone in the room you're staying or let him roam around on organized beaches or in places without shade and water. Trained pets are usually easier to travel with, so think of training as a good way to also enjoy your time together during vacations.
Last tip: before booking your trip, make sure to let the shipping company know that you will be bringing your pet on board so that they inform you of the relevant policies and rules you may need to know to best prepare for the trip.
Visit and organize your most enjoyable vacations yet with your family, friends and dog!