Travelling by ferry

Hey buddy, did you know that ferry trips, depending on duration and conditions can be stressful for the dog? In addition, depending on the destination, the weather conditions (heat, humidity, etc.) may not be ideal because we dogs are used to the climate of our country.

Even if you love your dog very much, it is sometimes preferable to leave him at home with a dogsitter, with a relative or in a pet boarding.

Keep in mind as well that you will have to make your reservation well in advance because there are always limited places for dogs.

How do you get your dog used to the ferry trip?

We will rather talk about getting your dog used to certain elements, like the muzzle for example. Don't wait until the day of departure to make him try it because he will need some time to adapt (it was my case anyway!!! 😊).

Here are a few tips on how to do this:

  • First of all, get him used to this object. Show him the muzzle while giving him treats.
  • Once he is used to it, he must be able to fit his muzzle in it. To do this, place the muzzle in front of him and with your free hand with a treat, put it through the muzzle and move your dog forward until he reaches the end of the muzzle. Do this several times until your dog can stay with the muzzle for several seconds while you give him treats.
  • The last step is to attach the muzzle. Try it for a few seconds at first and gradually increase the time until you can take him for a walk.

If he tries to take the muzzle off, your progress through the stages was a little too fast. Go back to a previous stage.

Don't forget to always praise him and give him treats so that he will take it as a positive experience. Above all, be patient!

If, despite this training, your dog doesn't enjoy putting his muzzle in the muzzle, contact a dog trainer.

chien muselière

If you have the opportunity to keep your dog with you, make sure he is comfortable in the presence of a large number of people and various noises. If this is not the case, make him socialize and get used to it by taking him with you as often as possible to different places (restaurants, stores, markets, train stations, etc.).

If you only have the possibility to put him in a kennel, your dog must be comfortable being separated from you.

Well-being and safety?

  • First of all, call your veterinarian for possible advice/medication. Depending on your dog's breed or health problems, some forms of transportation may not be suitable. In addition, the constant noise of ferry engines may also frighten your dog if he is particularly sensitive. If you know that your dog may be stressed and that there are really no other possible alternatives, it may be necessary to give him a sedative before the trip.
    Also, be aware that motion sickness exists in dogs.
  • Remember to take a long walk before getting on the ferry because, depending on the rules of the ship, he may not have many opportunities to stretch his legs.
  • If you have the option of taking your dog with you in the cabin or in public areas, this is the safest way because you will at least always have an eye on him and he will inevitably feel better with you than alone.
  • Make sure you take everything your dog needs with you (yes... don't leave it in the car!).)

Where to go?

  • Check the legislation (vaccines, quarantines, etc.) in the desired country. Some countries even refuse entry to foreign animals or certain breeds.
  • Find out about the climate in the destination country at the time of your planned trip. Is it ideal for your dog?
  • Find out if the chosen destination is "dogfriendly" (hotels, activities, transportation, etc.).

You can find all this information for Switzerland on our DFS map here!

Where does your dog travel?

Generally, companies require that dogs are always on a leash and that they wear a muzzle. You must also be in possession of your pet's health record/passport with up-to-date vaccinations. But this depends on the rules of the ferry company and the destination, so I advise you to check with the company directly.

Otherwise, find all the other indispensable elements during a trip on my travel checklist right here!

Where does your dog travel?

This varies from one ferry company to another but some offer several possibilities: the dog stays in your car, the dog is housed in a kennel in a box, the dog can come with you in a cabin

travelling by ferry

Which ferry companies and which rates?

Not all companies accept dogs. Moreover, the conditions and the possibilities of transport are different from one company to another.

Here are some examples of companies that accept dogs: Corsicaferries / Sardinia Ferries, Superfast Ferries and Brittany Ferries.

As for the rates, it is obviously similar. Rates differ from one company to another and of course according to the route taken and the mode of transport of the dog chosen.

Example for Corsica Ferries

The one-way trip (about 40min.) Piombino-Portoferraio (Island of Elba) without a cabin, add a supplement of (about) 3 euros for the dog.

The one-way trip (about 10h30) Toulon-Alcúdia (Mallorca) with cabin, add an extra charge of (about) 17 euros for the dog.

Dogs must be kept on a leash and wear a muzzle. However, they are allowed to access public areas and restaurants where areas have been specially arranged. In addition, a hygienic area is reserved for them on the deck.

In summary?

  • There are three ways to transport a dog on a ferry.
  • Ask about the company's terms and conditions of transportation.
  • Based on this, make sure your dog is comfortable with the terms and conditions. If it is not already the case, get him used to it in advance with exercises in a progressive and positive way.
  • Make sure you book in advance because there are limited places for dogs.
  • Ask your veterinarian if vaccinations and preventive treatments are required depending on the destination.
  • Check the entry requirements of the destination country.
  • Find out if the destination you have chosen is "dogfriendly".


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