Mishy is an experienced traveler and founder of MistAdventures who doesn’t like to spend holidays without her furry babies, as she calls her two doggies. She embarks on a few long journeys every year. Either from the UK to Slovakia or in the summer, she travels from the UK to Croatia. She is so well organized that everything appears to be effortless. I asked a few questions about her travels with her two dogs. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
What are the names of your doggies & could you tell us a little bit about them?
Hi, we have two boys, MAXimus, a gorgeous, smart, playful, and silly german shepherd & Reign, a daft, funny, loving Northern Inuit dog.
MAX’s story: I got him when he was ten weeks old as a small pup …hmm he never really was small in size; I expected to meet a little boy & was greeted by a bouncy beagle-sized puppy – he was (and still is) big for his breed standard. We have lived together happily ever since and been on many adventures. I love to travel in my van, and Max comes along, often stealing the bed along the way. In his 1st year alone, he has been to 13 different countries.
REIGN’s story: He joined our family of 3 in November 2021 as he was looking for his forever home. Reign came with many problems, but we weren’t too phased by that and loved him from the first time we met him. We fell in love with him after reading his story and seeing the gorgeous photos of him on Facebook. He is a stunning-looking Northern Inuit. He is catching up with Max on the places he has visited and traveled. Reign is learning to be an adventure buddy, and most importantly, he completes our family.
Why have you decided to take them with you on holiday to Croatia?
I have traveled with Max since he was a very young puppy, and it was a given, after making a few adjustments, that Reign would join in any family trips. Having been to the destination previously, we weren’t completely unaware of any potential issues. The place where we stay is dog friendly, with a private beach, making life much easier when planning a trip.
How do they cope with traveling in the van? On a ferry?
Max has always been a little star when it comes to traveling. He settles down and just goes along with it all without any fuss. Ferry crossings have never been an issue, but he did not like the Eurotunnel, so I don’t use it when traveling with him. Reign has had a steep learning curve as we got him in late November and then traveled to Slovakia for Xmas. It took a bit of time, for him to eventually settle down, but with great reassurance, he got there in the end and relaxed. We have now adapted the van to make it more suited to two large dogs, but more often than not, they choose to steal their humans’ bed while we travel.
How often do you have to make stops for them? How long are they?
We tend to stop every 3hrs or so when traveling in the daytime. And not as frequently during the night to mirror their usual sleep pattern. We are very lucky as Max has always been able to let me know if he needed me to make a toilet stop for him & Reign somehow observed and learned this too.
How are your dogs coping with the long journeys? Do you have any tips you could share?
They do well. Like I already mentioned, Max is just super happy & chilled (it’s me who panics when he pants in hot weather), and Reign is embracing pretty much everything we introduce him to. My tip would be to give it a go, do not overthink all that could go wrong, and consider your dog(s) needs, the space needed in the vehicle, are you able to keep it at a suitable temperature, can your pet(s) stretch their legs on a long journey, etc. Adapt, improvise and roll with it. I don’t have kids, but it must be similar in a way, I think. It’s important to ensure comfort. Oh, and always let your dog(s) have access to water. You can get a special travel bowl with a float that stops it from spilling out.
What part do you find the most challenging?
In the summer, the heat. Max pants like crazy at times, and although I know he is fine, I can overreact and will keep the van cool and ventilated even if the other passenger needs to layer up to handle the temperature. We have bought a large battery-operated fan & also use a small plug-in fan when it’s so warm that the aircon becomes sluggish. Reign loves to steal food, so we must remember to hide everything and put it securely away as that boy has some special powers when sniffing out food. I must say, Max has made travel easy, so Reign came into our lives to spice it up a little. And finally, the hair, their fluff gets and is everywhere… tumbleweeds of the stuff, dog hair has become our accessory.
What must you not forget when packing for your pets?
Our list is endless. We definitely do not travel light.
*their bed / favourite blanket,
*food, bowls, treats, feeding stands/table
*a couple of toys, poo bags (lots of those)
*a range of leads & harnesses for the various activities we plan to do, buoyancy vests for paddle boarding,
And I’m sure that’s not everything. We have also recently purchased a 65L fridge/freezer to travel with for Reign’s raw food, as we discovered that it’s not always easy to source this type of feed on the go.
How do they handle the heat?
Dogs are very clever, I think, and intuitively know where the coolest spots are. They pant, especially Max, to reduce their body temp. We try to park & stop over in shaded areas and take them out or create a breeze for them whenever possible. Aircon & portable fans work a treat.
What do you need to sort out for them before the journey?
I must ensure that the vehicle is comfortable, packed sensibly, and has everything they need. We need to make sure that where we go is pet-friendly and that all their paperwork is in order, as well as book them a place on the ferry. They have a backpack each for their journey – essential.
Do they need some vaccines?
They need an in-date rabies vaccine to travel abroad, and we administer tick prevention tablets. Max is also vaccinated against the canine parvovirus yearly.
Do they need passports or health certificates to travel from the UK to the EU?
Max has always had an EU pet passport issued in Slovakia, as this is where he was born. Since Brexit, the UK no longer supports the pet passport scheme; hence we had to get a “Fit to Travel” / Export Certificate paperwork for Reign’s first trip. Dogs also need to be microchipped, and these get checked at a border crossing, so it’s important to know the approximate location of the microchip.
Do they need the same paperwork for return travel? Do they need to quarantine?
For return travel to the UK, there is also a requirement, in addition to the rabies vacs & microchip, to get a vet to state that the pet is fit to travel and to administer worming treatment between 24-48hrs of anticipated arrival in the UK.
What dog food do you feed them on your travels?
Max has always had a sensitive tummy and will have a mix of dry & wet food and home-cooked meals. When we stay in the UK, he is on a tailor-made ‘Tails’ mixed diet that suits him great. Reign is raw fed.
What are your fave activities with your dogs?
With Max, I like a mountain bike, stand-up paddle, boating, walking, hike as well, as training in agility & obedience. As for Reign, we have had success with mountain biking, running/jogging, walking, and hiking. We have not tried sup yet as we are only just introducing him to the water and swimming, which he is not super keen on, but we hope that he’ll embrace all of our hobbies in time.
Where do you stay?
Most of my travel is done using my self-build camper van for the journey and road-tripping. We wild camp, stay at pet-friendly campsites, or if we want more comfort, we’ll book into B&Bs and have even stayed in a four-star hotel.
How do you find dog-friendly places? i.e., beaches?
Right now, the resources and information availability are great, whether via social media, i.e., groups/forums/ads/mentions / other people’s accounts, or a simple online search. Using booking.com or Air B&B and selecting pet-friendly options always brings about successful suitable choices for a stay.
Would you like to add anything else?
Get out there, take your dog(s) with you wherever you go, and seek adventures. Remember to enjoy life, as sometimes that’s harder than we may want it to be, but everything is better with a dog by your side.