Dog Travel Blog

Real life experience of travel with dogs and Pet Passports in France

Post script – things don’t always go to plan!


You might like to know that, as wonderful as our trip was, not everything went perfectly to plan.

Things didn’t start well when we backed the van out of its parking space at home, ready to set off, forgetting that it was fully laden, including 100 litres of water. The wheel went over the grate of our septic tank and broke it, leaving the wheel stuck in the hole! Two hours later, having jacked it out, our kindly neighbour told us to be on our way and she would take care of fixing the mess we’d left! How lucky we are to have such a good neighbour!

We noticed that the fridge had stopped working about five minutes after arriving in Calais! We ended up with the freezer bit giving us a tiny bit of chill for milk and cheese – the fridge just ended up being a big cupboard! Not the best situation in temperatures of 80 degrees! And warm beer!!

An annoying squeak started up a few days into the trip. Coming from one of the wheels, we immediately were concerned that it was a wheel bearing and this had an effect on our travels in some way because we weren’t sure if it would become more serious. But it remained sporadic and we arrived home safely so perhaps it’s a simple brake squeal. My husband will investigate!

The toilet flush stopped working a week into the trip.

One of the dogs cut her paw badly and it got infected so we spent a morning trying to find a vet in Autun.

The long rear chassis overhang was not compatible, on a few occasions, with steep entry ramps into car parks! Noisy scrapes ensued but no damage! We also made contact with a few overhanging trees!

One of our dogs is terrified of fireworks. Unfortunately, several times, we found ourselves in villages on Sunday nights – this happens to be a favourite evening for summer festivities … including fireworks! On one occasion, we’d walked into Capbreton, completely forgetting it was Sunday evening, found ourselves in the middle of town when a huge firework display started. We then had a dog having hysterics on the end of his lead, trying hard to escape and run off into the distance. We were half an hour away from the van! He got over it eventually!

And finally, we arrived back in Calais to gale force winds and driving rain. Lovely! Of course, we had to endure this for two days while we visited the vet and waited the 24 hours before our tunnel crossing home. At least it prepared us for the weather we’d get when we arrived home! But it was a bit of a shock to the system after five weeks of fairly constant hot, sunny weather!

Waiting for the journey home

Waiting for the journey home


posted under | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Post script – things don’t always go to plan!”

  1. Louli says:

    Superb blog! needed this info!many many thanks, puts my mind at rest alot. A couple of q’s, do you take out specific travel insurance/pet insurance/breakdown insurance please? Our first time going with our doggie, going via tunnel, touring West coast in June in Campervan, many thanks.

    • Editor says:

      We use the Caravan Club’s Red pennant for breakdown and medical cover. For travels of any length of time I think you are on your own when it comes to pet insurance. Put some savings aside if you can! Have a great trip.

  2. Cheryl says:


    This is a fantastic blog site and so very helpful. I am moving to Northern Spain in September and am taking my 4 year old border collie with me, and we will be driving down via the tunnel (luckily I live in Dover!). I had not heard of the Scalibor collar though so will defo ask my vet about it, and also the caterpillars too.
    Did you find you had to keep the dogs on the leads most of the time? As you know, Collies love to run as much as greyhounds and lurcher’s do so I would like to know if she will be able to run free as she does here.

    Once again, a fantastic sight! I will defo update you on my experience as we head off.

    Happy travelling :0)

  3. Sue Spice says:

    Excellent blog. This was our first trip with the dog and your blog was really helpful. I had worried about the visit to the vets before returning home but no need, it all went very smoothly and the vet could not have been nicer. Many thanks for all the information.

  4. jay says:

    Scalibor collars are available – along with most other things – from Amazon and cost less than at the vet, something I discovered after buying one from the vet!
    We have pet insurance with AXA which covers the dog for holidays but I think you need to have the gold or deluxe policy.

    Wonderful blog, most enjoyable, where are you going this year?

  5. sarah says:

    thanks for this website/information, myself and my husband and 3 dogs are planning a year long (maybe longer) campervan trip around europe, thought we might be crazy, but after reading this site, i think it might be possible, we have 2 labs and a collie cross, i have one question, do the dogs need to be restrained in the campervan, when travelling

  6. Lesley says:

    I found your info great I hadnt geard of the Scalibor collar (Now ordered) We will be going to Spain around end march and as we live in Aberdeen we will be traveling a very long way before we even leave the country. We are going to Marbella and we thought that the best way would be to go by ferry from Portsmouth to either Santander or Bilbao. and drive the rest. Unless someone thinks we should try another way. Any ideas would be great. Presume the problems with beasties (caterpillars etc) will be the same.

  7. jay says:

    there are processionary caterpillars in southern spain ( maybe other areas of europe?) Mainly in pine trees. Look out for white silken nests in trees. The caterpillars throw out barbed hairs which can cause an allergic reaction or much worse in dogs/young children. Do a google search. Grazelema guide has good pictures and information…….however – don’t be put off taking your dogs…..just helpful to know about these:)

  8. Sheena says:

    Your Blog came up 1st on my search.WoW. Good for you! Am enjoying my cuppa tea in bed with my Sweet Hairyit ( our now 1 1/2 year old adorable Shih Tzu) stroking her belly as she only offers it to me in the early morning as a new ritual it seems. Anyhow I digress.
    We are off this Sept from Victoria Canada to see ‘Mother Mary’, my Darling Redmond’s Mum in England then head off to The Continent to visit friends here and yonder.
    What a fabulous site to come across!! Great timing as the regulations into the UK have relaxed. Hairyit ( yes Redmond, my warped Brit named her inadvertently. I found her online… she is a surrender doggie. Soooo hairy when I picked her up at 8 months old not having been clipped yet … then I immediately brought her to the vet to have her spade.
    Lucky us, she is my 1st little pet as I have had only large dogs in my life, and she is quite amazing…. nothing like I always imagined about little yappy ‘things’.
    We have travelled with her to the U.S last winter season as we are ‘Snowbirds’ as they call us escapees from the cold climes. She was a real trouper and what a bonus to make new friends so easily when you are on walkies.
    Now we are preparing to get all of our duck in a row and want to thank you for the ‘heads up’ and giving me confidence that all will be well.
    All the Best… Sheena

  9. Beverley says:

    Thank you so much for such a informative Blog. We are planning a year long journey, leaving the end of this month with our 2 Mini Schnauzers. We are travelling in a motor home we bought a few months ago after being inspired by a week long trip to France last year in a rented motor home. I’m laughing at myself as I write because we must be MAD. The motor home we have purchased is considerably smaller than the one we rented last year AND we have acquired a 2nd dog since then! Well the house is rented, sabbaticals arranged and passports at the ready. I’m intending to write my own blog and if it is half as good as yours I’ll be happy 🙂 We are off to Morocco first (hubby’s native home) then around a great deal of Europe. The reason I stumbled across your blog was in doing some research regarding Leishmaniosis. The story about the caterpillars scares the hell out of me so we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for any signs of pine. Thanks again and hope you enjoy your new motorhome as well x

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