Ferry travel

As summer approaches, travel plans start to take shape, and many of us contemplate bringing our Shar Pei along for the journey. Flying might not be the best option, but have you considered traveling by ferry boat? Whether your destination is England, Ireland, or the Scandinavian countries, there are numerous excellent options available.

Ferry companies are increasingly catering to pet owners by offering a variety of options for traveling with dogs. In the past, dogs were often confined to cars or kennels onboard, but now, many ferry lines provide more inclusive amenities.

One such amenity is the availability of dog-friendly cabins, where your Shar Pei can accompany you for the entire journey, providing both comfort and companionship. Additionally, some ferries designate specific areas of the deck as doggie toilets, ensuring that your pet’s needs are met during the voyage.

I just returned from a journey to Ireland. To spare us the hassle of two ferries and a drive through England, we opted for a direct ferry from France to Ireland. Before boarding, we spent an hour on the beach, letting Elwood play and stretch his legs.

Once onboard, we were handed the key to our dog-friendly cabin. They assured us that Elwood was welcome everywhere except the restaurant area, but we were invited to dine in the lounge room where Elwood could join us. Inside the cabin, we found a bowl and a bottle of water already laid out for Elwood – talk about considerate!

Elwood had a blast out on the deck. All decks were accessible for dogs, as long as they were okay with climbing stairs. Just a word of advice: it’s best not to let the males relieve themselves against the rail of the top deck, unless you want a surprise for the deck below! The crew had never encountered a Shar Pei before, and they couldn’t resist taking selfies with Elwood. He lapped up the attention and strutted around like a true celebrity.

However, it’s important to note that policies regarding dogs vary among ferry companies. While some may only allow dogs in designated areas such as cabins and doggie decks, others may permit them to roam freely throughout the ship, with the exception of certain restricted areas like restaurants.

Before embarking on your journey, there are several things to consider when traveling with your dog on a ferry:

1. Pet Packing List: Ensure you pack essentials for your dog, including food, water, bowls, Pet passport, medications, leash, collar, waste bags, and any comfort items like a favorite blanket or toy.

2. Sea Sickness: Dogs, like humans, can experience motion sickness. Consult your veterinarian beforehand if your dog has a history of motion sickness or if you’re unsure how they’ll handle the ferry ride. Your vet may recommend medications or other remedies to help alleviate symptoms.

3. Comfort and Calming: Bring along items that can help keep your dog calm and comfortable during the journey, such as a favorite blanket or toy, and consider using a carrier or crate if your dog feels more secure in enclosed spaces.

4. Exercise and Bathroom Breaks: Before boarding the ferry, give your dog plenty of exercise to help them relax during the journey. Take advantage of designated doggie toilet areas on the ferry, and be prepared to provide bathroom breaks as needed.

5. Vaccinations: Always ensure that your dog has the appropriate vaccinations for the country you’re traveling to. Check the requirements well in advance to avoid any last-minute issues.

By considering these factors and preparing accordingly, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable ferry trip for both you and your furry companion. And who knows, your Shar Pei might just become the star of the ship, just like Elwood did!

Safe travels, and may your journey be as fun as a dog’s day at the beach!

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