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Discussion Starter #1
I have read threads on how dogs have been moved to Spain.

Some say flying your dog over is fine, others how sad they looked on the Tarmac in their travel kennel.
Others took their dog over by car and stayed in dog friendly hotels for 2-3 nights, enjoyed the scenery etc.

We had decided when we move later this year to fly over from the North of UK, and current quotes for a travel kennel are £700.

I am now in a dilemma as to which journey to do, as our dog gets car sick.
Expense wise, it seems very expensive to travel down south with 1 hotel stop in UK, get Santander ferry inc cabin, and dog in crate on the ship for hours, then 1-2 hotel stops to get to Malaga area.
You have fuel costs, hotels, ferry, toll roads, etc.

Has anyone done this from the Yorkshire or North of UK area by road? Forget the tunnel, we don't fancy that!
Or did you go by plane and can recommend an airline or company.
Which hotels did you use between Santander and Malaga?

Would like to hear your advice or experience to help me with this big decision.
 

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I have read threads on how dogs have been moved to Spain.

Some say flying your dog over is fine, others how sad they looked on the Tarmac in their travel kennel.
Others took their dog over by car and stayed in dog friendly hotels for 2-3 nights, enjoyed the scenery etc.

We had decided when we move later this year to fly over from the North of UK, and current quotes for a travel kennel are £700.

I am now in a dilemma as to which journey to do, as our dog gets car sick.
Expense wise, it seems very expensive to travel down south with 1 hotel stop in UK, get Santander ferry inc cabin, and dog in crate on the ship for hours, then 1-2 hotel stops to get to Malaga area.
You have fuel costs, hotels, ferry, toll roads, etc.

Has anyone done this from the Yorkshire or North of UK area by road? Forget the tunnel, we don't fancy that!
Or did you go by plane and can recommend an airline or company.
Which hotels did you use between Santander and Malaga?

Would like to hear your advice or experience to help me with this big decision.
I know how you feel. We are going to Javea in October and I have looked at the Channel tunnel and driving, flying and then ferry.

I think it all depends on your total circumstances. We will have quite a bit of luggage to take and eventually dicarded flying. There are some very disturbing stories about flying dogs, but all in all this seems to be the quickest and the majority don't seem to have problems. Some airlines have been recommended online. For us, the tunnel and driving across France would take too long and so we have eventually decided, and booked our crossing, to go by ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao and then drive down to Alicante. We could not get booked in a pet friendly cabin as they are fully booked for September and October, so we have booked him into the kennel (the dog, not the OH!). I have been online and found out the dogs in the kennels on the ferry have a greater area for exercising than those in the dog friendly kennels. This said, I am not entirely happy he will be in a crate and so we have agreed that we will take it in turns to spend time with him over the 24 hour period, so he is not left on his own too long. Saying that, we are going to continue phoning the ferry company in the hope that there is a cancellation for a dog friendly kennel.

Our dog is now ok travelling in a dog crate in our car, although when he was younger he did suffer, but we perserved and he is now fine.

So, I think you have to weigh up everything, i.e. dog, humans, luggage and time and find the best option available to you. All in all, it's not too long a journey anyway you look at it and I am sure will soon be forgotten by your dog, if not by you!!!

All the best.
:fingerscrossed:
 

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We came over with our GSD on the Plymouth-Roscoff ferry and had a couple of overnight stops at dog-friendly hotels. We intended to come on the Plymouth-Santander ferry, which has proper kennel facilities, but discovered to our horror that it doesn´t run in the winter when we had planned our journey, the time of which was fixed by our house sale. But it was a fairly easy journey, with breaks every couple of hours for a walk. If your dog does not travel well in the car your vet can give you tranquillisers or travel sickness pills.
 

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As a dog owner, and one whose current dog makes the journey down to France and Spain on a regular basis without any problems could I make the following observations.
1. The time you can spend on the ferry with your dog will be limited by the crew. Owners meet up at the information point on board at a prearranged time. A member of the crew then accompanies you and other owners down in the lift they unlock to the car deck. You then check/exercise your dog etc and have about 10 mins to do this. Sometimes the crew person stays with you, at other times they don't but they do come back to ensure you have left. They then relock the lift. Being on the car deck for an extended period of time is definitely frowned upon and you would be "encouraged" to leave. Generally owners are allowed 2, sometimes 3 checks, per normal length voyage, no more.
2. Our previous dog took travel sickness to a whole new meaning but we worked on him. When we got him, as a 1 year old, he started drooling with fear as soon as he got in a non-moving car and it went from there. We therefore popped him in the car every day until he stopped that fear, once conquered we took him 50 yards, 100 yards etc and walked him home. Eventually we built up to further afield with a fun walk before a return journey in the car.
He never did go to France but was quite happy in the kennels on the Channel Islands ferries and managed an emergency trip from the south coast to Kendal without being sick. I guess what I'm saying is I think you have time to work on your dog before you go and make life more pleasant for all of you.
 

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As a dog owner, and one whose current dog makes the journey down to France and Spain on a regular basis without any problems could I make the following observations.
1. The time you can spend on the ferry with your dog will be limited by the crew. Owners meet up at the information point on board at a prearranged time. A member of the crew then accompanies you and other owners down in the lift they unlock to the car deck. You then check/exercise your dog etc and have about 10 mins to do this. Sometimes the crew person stays with you, at other times they don't but they do come back to ensure you have left. They then relock the lift. Being on the car deck for an extended period of time is definitely frowned upon and you would be "encouraged" to leave. Generally owners are allowed 2, sometimes 3 checks, per normal length voyage, no more.
2. Our previous dog took travel sickness to a whole new meaning but we worked on him. When we got him, as a 1 year old, he started drooling with fear as soon as he got in a non-moving car and it went from there. We therefore popped him in the car every day until he stopped that fear, once conquered we took him 50 yards, 100 yards etc and walked him home. Eventually we built up to further afield with a fun walk before a return journey in the car.
He never did go to France but was quite happy in the kennels on the Channel Islands ferries and managed an emergency trip from the south coast to Kendal without being sick. I guess what I'm saying is I think you have time to work on your dog before you go and make life more pleasant for all of you.
Does it all depend on who you are sailing with? I telephoned Brittany Ferries and was told that we had 24 hour access to the kennels and the exercising areas. The ship is the Cap Finistere sailing from Portsmouth to Bilbao, but they also run one to Santander.
We too are going to get travel sickness pills for him, as I don't know what his sea legs are like!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gazeebo I've PM'd you.
ccm47 I too had read that you can spend as long as you like with your dog on deck, as long as they are muzzled when let out of the kennel/cage.
Regarding the dog car sickness, she can go for 1 hour and then is sick, so any amount of journeys is not going to change that, and when we did sedate her, she p*oed on the back seat -lovely - as they lose their self control toileting wise for 24 hours. So we will never sedate her again!!

The Skipper, can you tell me how you found dog friendly hotels from Santander or Bilbao down to Malaga or anywhere near there?
I am really struggling to find any, and work out how many miles to do daily, we thought 200, but then if you get held up, it becomes a long day. Not sure how many hotel stops to do in Spain, but we thought the first one would be near Santander as ferry arrives at 5.30pm.

Thanks for all the feedback so far.
 

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Gazeebo I've PM'd you.
ccm47 I too had read that you can spend as long as you like with your dog on deck, as long as they are muzzled when let out of the kennel/cage.
Regarding the dog car sickness, she can go for 1 hour and then is sick, so any amount of journeys is not going to change that, and when we did sedate her, she p*oed on the back seat -lovely - as they lose their self control toileting wise for 24 hours. So we will never sedate her again!!

The Skipper, can you tell me how you found dog friendly hotels from Santander or Bilbao down to Malaga or anywhere near there?
I am really struggling to find any, and work out how many miles to do daily, we thought 200, but then if you get held up, it becomes a long day. Not sure how many hotel stops to do in Spain, but we thought the first one would be near Santander as ferry arrives at 5.30pm.

Thanks for all the feedback so far.
For dog friendly accommodation, try going to Booking.com: 654,315 hotels worldwide. 48+ million hotel reviews. and in your selction criteria, click in the "pet friendly" box.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
For dog friendly accommodation, try going to Booking.com: 654,315 hotels worldwide. 48+ million hotel reviews. and in your selction criteria, click in the "pet friendly" box.
Hi Baldilocks,

Thanks, I will, I checked out those hotels you mentioned - Premiere Classe, but only one in Spain.
I'm looking at all the various ferry routes and then trying to find hotels and decide how many days to do hotel stops from Santander or Bilbao to Malaga region.

Our only problem regarding the long Santander crossing would be getting a cabin and dog kennel on board, when we return from our house buying trip in October, and want to move in November. I doubt we'd get either at 4-6 weeks' notice.
I'm investigating which would be the shortest ferry crossing to France, then drive down, and saving money on cabins, kennels etc.
 

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Hi Baldilocks,

Thanks, I will, I checked out those hotels you mentioned - Premiere Classe, but only one in Spain.
I'm looking at all the various ferry routes and then trying to find hotels and decide how many days to do hotel stops from Santander or Bilbao to Malaga region.

Our only problem regarding the long Santander crossing would be getting a cabin and dog kennel on board, when we return from our house buying trip in October, and want to move in November. I doubt we'd get either at 4-6 weeks' notice.
I'm investigating which would be the shortest ferry crossing to France, then drive down, and saving money on cabins, kennels etc.
As I may have said before, we used the tunnel and the Premiere Classe and did the final bit Bayonne (France) to home in one hit but then we don't have as far to go. However there are pet friendly hotels in Spain - we were looking at a few in the area just to the south of Despeñaperros for Christmas.
 

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Gazeebo,
We rarely use any ferries other than Brittany ferries as we live within a half hour drive of Poole but as members of their owners club go to Portsmouth and even Plymouth when needs be. We use St Malo, Caen and Cherbourg on a regular basis with Roscoff, and Bilbao less frequently. My OH and dog did the Cherbourg trip again only yesterday morning. The St Malo and Roscoff boats in particular do the Spanish runs too and they are the ones that have kennels.

I have told you how we found it actually was. The same rules applied when we took our horses over by lorry to Caen 4 years ago I.e.only supervised visits to the car deck and at pre-agreed times. (No the horses were not allowed a leg stretch, just food, water, rug and injury checking).

I suspect Brittany are being economical with the truth about access. Yes maybe you can go down to the car deck at any agreed time over the 24 hours but staying down there for extended periods? Would you as an owner of a non dog carrying car be happy that any Tom, Dick or Harry was down there alone and could vandalise or even rob your car's contents whilst it was at sea? Particularly as you are forbidden from going below whilst the vessel is under way. Brittany could find themselves with compensation costs to pay quite quickly.
There are also safety issues if the sea is anything but flat calm.

One thing we did notice was that owners who travel their dogs regularly tended to leave them undisturbed for longer periods as the dogs generally settle quite well. The motion on a boat is different to a car and there is ample fresh air around the kennels. We've been lucky with sea states especially with the horses as it was midwinter and they are just not allowed on board if its rough.

One thing I did fail to mention is that water is available on tap for the kennel area.

Hope that helps.
 

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Gazeebo,
We rarely use any ferries other than Brittany ferries as we live within a half hour drive of Poole but as members of their owners club go to Portsmouth and even Plymouth when needs be. We use St Malo, Caen and Cherbourg on a regular basis with Roscoff, and Bilbao less frequently. My OH and dog did the Cherbourg trip again only yesterday morning. The St Malo and Roscoff boats in particular do the Spanish runs too and they are the ones that have kennels.

I have told you how we found it actually was. The same rules applied when we took our horses over by lorry to Caen 4 years ago I.e.only supervised visits to the car deck and at pre-agreed times. (No the horses were not allowed a leg stretch, just food, water, rug and injury checking).

I suspect Brittany are being economical with the truth about access. Yes maybe you can go down to the car deck at any agreed time over the 24 hours but staying down there for extended periods? Would you as an owner of a non dog carrying car be happy that any Tom, Dick or Harry was down there alone and could vandalise or even rob your car's contents whilst it was at sea? Particularly as you are forbidden from going below whilst the vessel is under way. Brittany could find themselves with compensation costs to pay quite quickly.
There are also safety issues if the sea is anything but flat calm.

One thing we did notice was that owners who travel their dogs regularly tended to leave them undisturbed for longer periods as the dogs generally settle quite well. The motion on a boat is different to a car and there is ample fresh air around the kennels. We've been lucky with sea states especially with the horses as it was midwinter and they are just not allowed on board if its rough.

One thing I did fail to mention is that water is available on tap for the kennel area.

Hope that helps.
We will be fine on the Cap Finistere as dogs are not allowed to stay in cars and only in the kennels that are on deck 10 (or dog friendly cabins). It seems that different routes have different rules. I think you have a point about leaving dogs undisturbed. This will be our first trip and will base any future sailings on this one.
I understand the journey can be quite rough in places, but we may be lucky in October!:fingerscrossed:
 

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I have just checked out the layout of the Cap Finisterre and yes it is totally different to the ships we've used. Looks like 24 hour exercising could indeed be possible should you so wish. Obviously there is no issue with dog owners and cars mixing. Hope you relax and have fun.
I'm always cautious about October as it can be superb or extremely windy. If it is nice and its daylight track your ship' s progress over the continental shelf (marked on the charts as such) .It' s nearly always good for whale and dolphin spotting. We once went over it in June and were hoping to see maybe a dozen dolphins, in the end we saw over 100. The dolphins come along to ride the ship's bow wave and then swim down one side or other, whilst the whales are simply out there feeding.
 

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We travel from Yorkshire in October have done for the last 4 years our dog has never caused any worries. We book a pet friendly cabin on Cap Finistre very early. We stay one night in the Winchester area because the ferry leaves around mid day. My husband takes the dog to deck 10 as he feels fit. As far as I know there is no restriction on visiting dogs in the kennels. Some people take the dogs bed to put in the bottom of the cage a good ides some people sit up there with their dogs. We would not travel unless we got a pet friendly cabin. We dock in Bilbao about 13.00 hours we disembark say 1 hour later. We find we can travel easily to below Madrid by early evening we stay in Aranjuez hotel Mercedes easy to find right on the edge of the town look on booking.com. The following day we have breakfast drive steadily stopping every two hours for a coffee and walk the dog. We arrive in Nerja about 3pm. Have you tried the economies service with Brittanny Ferries they have pet friendly cabins
Good luck if you want any further info just ask
 

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Gazeebo I've PM'd you.
ccm47 I too had read that you can spend as long as you like with your dog on deck, as long as they are muzzled when let out of the kennel/cage.
Regarding the dog car sickness, she can go for 1 hour and then is sick, so any amount of journeys is not going to change that, and when we did sedate her, she p*oed on the back seat -lovely - as they lose their self control toileting wise for 24 hours. So we will never sedate her again!!

The Skipper, can you tell me how you found dog friendly hotels from Santander or Bilbao down to Malaga or anywhere near there?
I am really struggling to find any, and work out how many miles to do daily, we thought 200, but then if you get held up, it becomes a long day. Not sure how many hotel stops to do in Spain, but we thought the first one would be near Santander as ferry arrives at 5.30pm.

Thanks for all the feedback so far.
It was a long time ago so my memory is a little hazy. I think we just Googled "dog friendly hotels Spain." We drove from Roscoff to Ontinyent so a different journey than you are planning. I recall that our French daughter-in-law arranged the overnight stop in France for us but we made the Spanish booking ourselves. The Spanish hotel was in Irun and was excellent but I can´t remember the name.
 

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We are travelling with our dogs later this year on the Santander crossing in a dog friendly cabin. We travelled last year on the same ferry without the dogs and I checked out the facilities. There is access 24/7 to the dog deck with a large penned off walking area, poo bags are supplied and the area is cleaned regularly. There are also kennels available in a room at the end of the deck. They are 2 storey cages of varying sizes with access 24/7. Some of the dogs in there happily rested for the journey , others were a little more restless. One lady sat up all night outside the kennel room wrapped in a blanket with her dog as he would not settle in the kennel but this was allowed. I spoke to various people who were in the pet friendly cabins and they were all very happy with the facilities. I noticed on the Brittany Ferries info you can only have one dog in a pet friendly cabin but many of the folks on board had two and it wasn't a problem but you do have to book a pet friendly cabin and a kennel. I guess this helped with our decision making when planning our journey as we can get off the ferry and get to our destination in a day albeit a hard days driving but with plenty of breaks. If our dogs are with us they will settle and generally travel well so it may depend on how your dogs react to different situations. I will have to deal with the dogs on my own as our truck driven by my husband will be in freight so we will be separated from when we arrive at the port. This is no problem for me as its me they are with most of time at home. We have planned to meet up when off the ferry to travel in convoy , I hope I can find him ! Its fairly costly but my view is its a one way trip this time for the dogs and we are trying to make it as pleasant a possible. I don't think mine would cope well being left in the car or in a kennel on a shorter crossing. There may be a fight for the beds in the cabin though :)
 

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Unfortunately, we were too late to get a dog friendly cabin. Looks like we will be up all night taking turns to sing lullabyes to our Alfie in the kennels!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
We are travelling with our dogs later this year on the Santander crossing in a dog friendly cabin. We travelled last year on the same ferry without the dogs and I checked out the facilities. There is access 24/7 to the dog deck with a large penned off walking area, poo bags are supplied and the area is cleaned regularly. There are also kennels available in a room at the end of the deck. They are 2 storey cages of varying sizes with access 24/7. Some of the dogs in there happily rested for the journey , others were a little more restless. One lady sat up all night outside the kennel room wrapped in a blanket with her dog as he would not settle in the kennel but this was allowed. I spoke to various people who were in the pet friendly cabins and they were all very happy with the facilities. I noticed on the Brittany Ferries info you can only have one dog in a pet friendly cabin but many of the folks on board had two and it wasn't a problem but you do have to book a pet friendly cabin and a kennel. I guess this helped with our decision making when planning our journey as we can get off the ferry and get to our destination in a day albeit a hard days driving but with plenty of breaks. If our dogs are with us they will settle and generally travel well so it may depend on how your dogs react to different situations. I will have to deal with the dogs on my own as our truck driven by my husband will be in freight so we will be separated from when we arrive at the port. This is no problem for me as its me they are with most of time at home. We have planned to meet up when off the ferry to travel in convoy , I hope I can find him ! Its fairly costly but my view is its a one way trip this time for the dogs and we are trying to make it as pleasant a possible. I don't think mine would cope well being left in the car or in a kennel on a shorter crossing. There may be a fight for the beds in the cabin though :)
Hi Maureen

By a one way trip, do you mean you are moving permanently this year? If so, I'd love to hear from you regarding how it's all going, as we are hoping to move in the autumn. Can you PM me?

Thank you to everyone for the in depth and useful information. We have decided to travel overland with our dog, and stay 1 night in France and 1 in Spain.
We want her to be the least distressed possible, and the flight scenario seems to be expensive and a nightmare.
 

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I use to fly with my dog to Spain all the time from the States, but it got progressively worse every year in terms of prices and some airlines just flat out denying dogs over a certain weight (my parents would travel with their german shephard) . I think the last time my parents flew with Iberia it was something like 700 euros, seems a little unfair imo

I would always feel bad for putting my dog in his cage and sending him off with the luggage, but from the US, I didn't have much of a choice like you would from the UK. But I'm sure the drive is not much more fun :)

For me the worst part was arriving at customs and sometimes they would give me a hard time about my dog and asking where his passport was? lol, my dog needs a passport?
 

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Hi. We are travelling in August for the first time with 2 poodles. From Leeds to Murcia area. We looked at the options, pet friendly cabins are all booked up, and only one dog per cabin anyway.
We have decided to do the channel tunnel. Means we all stay in the van together.
A long drive down through France yes. The main thing we are worried about is keeping them cool. Old van has no air con and they like to sit up front.
 

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We have flown dogs a few times but our dog is getting on a bit and he seemed very distressed the last time. We have used the channel tunnel as it's quick and pets relax sat in the car with you. As last minute bookers we have never been able to get a pet friendly cabin but our dog is sea sick just going to Isle of Wight:rolleyes:

It sounds horrendous travelling South with pets and no air conditioning, could be dangerous. It is also against the law to have them infront with you.
 
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