There is a lot of different advice and suggestions when it comes to taking your pet on holiday with you. If you don't want to part from the most playful members of your household or you think it would be better for them not to change their surroundings, we've made a selection of recommendations and suggestions for taking your dog, cat and parrot on holiday. One thing is for sure: today there is a big array of accommodation options for pets which makes your planning that much easier.
Before going on holiday
Before you start planning, it's important that you understand how changing the surroundings and everyday habits affects your pets, since it does so a lot more than you can imagine. That is why you should decide if you want to take your pet with you in the first place. This is in no way an easy task because, no matter what you decide, it will affect your holiday substantially. Some of the most important factors in decision making are your destination, the length of holiday and means of transport. The most important thing to check right away are the requirements and restrictions regarding the very transport because the possibility of your pet going with you depends on it.
Experts claim that it is good for both the owners and the pets that pets stay at home with proper care. That is, if you pet is not a dog, because things are a bit different when dogs are concerned. Namely, if you own a cat, it's better and more convenient for the cat to stay at home, not to change its surroundings. Cats like staying in their space because they are very territorial and at their best in familiar places. Your absence won't be an issue for them if there should be someone who visits them and feeds them every day. You can test your cat's behavior by taking it to your friend's place with a garden and allowing it to move around freely. Just observe the behavior. If your cat is experienced when it comes to going out, it adjusts well and doesn't scare easily, and you're having a really tough time saying goodbye, then consider taking it with you. In that case, consider microchips as well because they will enable you to find your cat more quickly in case it wanders off. Unlike cats, parrots don't like being alone. Still, if there is someone who can visit them, take care of them and spend some time with them every day while you're away, they will hardly notice you're gone. If your dog has behavior issues, doesn't like crowds, scares easily, barks a lot and can't stand the heat, it would be better to let it stay with your friends. The same goes if you think your dog could have troubles adjusting to new places, people and situations. If you have a puppy, then new situations, people and places shouldn't be an issue because it will only enable the puppy to get used to your lifestyle. But travel itself can be tiresome and dangerous for puppies – heat is not a friend, and staying outside in the sun can be very dangerous.
Transport of pets
Regardless of the kind of pet you have, it would be good to take all precautions when it comes to their health – from vaccination to cleaning. Besides that, check if the country you're going to has some special vaccines prescribed. When traveling with pets, keep in mind that a customs officer will check them when you get to the border and don't forget to take the international veterinarian certificate with you as a proof of animal's health. If you're taking your dog, cat or parrot on holiday, you have to have all documents you need to enter and leave a country on you.
As far as Croatia is concerned, your pets will be checked by a customs officer and you will have to show the international certificate of animal's health or their passport which indicates the owner, as well as the vaccines it got (they must be vaccinated against rabies). In addition, the animal has to have a microchip or a clearly legible tattoo done before 3 July 2011. It is forbidden to import or take in for a temporary stay animals such as dangerous dogs – pit bulls and their mixes not listed in the registry of Federation Cynologique Internationale. Finally, if you're planning on coming to Croatia with more than five pets, bear in mind that a veterinarian might have to check them on the border.
Pets and means of transport
If you're traveling with your pet by car, you should get the pet used to car rides first. The best advice is to start taking it to short distances in order to make it clear to the pet that car rides are a constituent part of their lives, not just something that happens before going to the vet. The pets find car rides more enjoyable when they're facing front, not when they're looking through side windows. Have that in mind when finding the right spot for them in your car. An additional option is a case for pets, but it should be big enough so that your pet can turn around freely and get up in it easily. Some animals might get sick during the ride so lower the windows a bit to get the pressure even and make movement more comfortable. Calculate regular stops into your estimations, especially if your pet is a dog to ensure the animal can satisfy its basic needs and put some of its energy into action. Finally, take enough meds with you because most meds that help people help pets as well.
Depending on the means of transport, your pet will have to adjust to the travel. When it comes to planes, it's possible that your pet won't be able to travel with you in the cabin, but in the cargo section. Namely, the passenger cabin allows only two dogs or two cats at the same time. You will need to pay an additional fee and book in advance. Check the details with your airline.
You can transport little pets with their vet books and this goes for dogs, up to 30 cm of height, cats and other little tame animals in hand transport bags (cage, baskets and other) which can be carried like hand luggage, small dogs which can be held in arms and other dogs fulfilling the conditions listed on the railway provider's website. To transport a pet by train, the owner is responsible for only one transport box. Transport of pets like hand luggage and little dogs outside the boxes is free, but there are other conditions regarding big dogs and it's best to check them with the railway provider.
Transporting pets by bus is a practical solution for owners of small pets (up to 30 cm) which can be held in arms or cages and transporters of hand luggage size. Transporting bigger animals by bus is difficult. Most bus lines accept only guide dogs with their owners and vet books. Some bus lines which take smaller animals in are: Čazmatrans, Promet Makarska, Presečki, Slavonija bus, AP Varaždin. Conditions and prices should be checked with the transport provider.
Pets can be transported by ferries, that is dogs with muzzles, cats in transporters and birds in cages. Transporting pets by ferries is free, but pets are not allowed to enter certain parts of the ferry: saloons, restaurants, cabins, toilets.
On holiday with your pet
Once you've made your decision to take your pet with you, it is time to check practical details related to the destination, that is the accommodation unit itself. If you're staying in private accommodation, you will want to know if there is a yard, if other guests use it and how close the amenities your pet will use are located.
If you're staying at a hotel, it's good to know that most hotels are suitable for pets, but also have certain rules to be followed. For instance, don't forget to put a dark fabric over your parrot's cage after leaving the hotel room because the hotel staff might reprimand you because of the noise.
If you plan on letting your cat roam around on holiday, it would be best to have it microchipped so it’s easier for your to find it in case it drifts away. Designate a special place in the apartment or room for cat’s things – toys, sandbox – which you should bring with you to help the cat adapt to new space more easily. The fact is that cats can be very restless when adapting to new surroundings so it might not be a bad idea to bring some meds which don't cause addiction.
When it comes to dogs, you'll most probably want to go to the beach as soon as possible, especially if your dog loves swimming. You’ll find a list of dog beaches on the Adriatic below, but before you go down to the beach, have in mind that your dog needs shade and sun protection, so get organized accordingly. Bring your parasol or tent, sunscreen and water. Bring some toys so that your dog can play on the beach. And plan some time for it to run and put some of its energy to action. If, for some reason, your dog doesn't want to get into the water, don't force it to do so. Let it enjoy the time on the beach instead. Do take note of its exposure to sun because of the UV-rays. Bring sunscreen because it will help with small burns on its paws in case they occur. Tweezers might also come in handy, helping you get insects out. Wherever you go, bring a container and water because heat can be very dangerous for your dog.
ADRIATIC DOG BEACHES
IMPORTANT! Dogs are not allowed on Blue flag beaches.
• Rovinj: Zlatni rt, Polari camp, tourist village Villas Rubin, a section of Paradiso BeachPoreč: Stari Červar area in the bay next to Laguna Materada, Blue Moon beach, beach section in bay of the Bijela camp, beach of Istria camp
• Novigrad and Umag: Kanegra tourist complex, Savudrija, Sol Polynesia, Sol Stella Maris
• Labin and Rabac: all non Blue flag beaches
• Premantura: beach at Stupice camp and whole Kamenjak cove
• Medulin and Pula: dogs are allowed on all beaches from 1 May to 5 September from 20:00 to 8:00
• Savudrija: dog beach at the lighthouse (dog shower available, lots of shade)
• Rijeka: Brajdica beach, Igralište beach
• Kostrena: Mikulova Kava, ex-military beach
• Lovran: beach under Villa Frappart
• Opatija: Punta Kolovi beach
• Crikvenica: Podvorska beach, there is also a dog cafe there
• Senj: Vlaška beach, 5 km south of Senj
• Krk: Koralj beach, Baška – Vela beach, Njivice – Kijac beach, Punat – Mala Krasa beach, Vrbnik – Mala Javna beach, Šilo – Punta Šilo beach, Soline bay
• Mali Lošinj: different locations from Veli žal beach to Lanterne
• Veli Lošinj: the bay behind the pier in Rovenska, Nerezine – a bay close to Samostan in the direction of Osor, Artatore: the bay 200 m left from the first parking lot
• Cres: near Kovačine camp, near ACI Marina Cres i near Gavza
• Rab: Mel and Kandarola beaches in Kampor, Dumići beach in Supetarska Draga, the area between Palit and the city of Rab, Artić beach in Banjol
• Susak: Tijesni bay
• Ilovik: Parknu bay
• Unije: Kambunare bay
• Zadar: Zaton Holiday Resort
• Split: Duilovo and Kašjuni beach
• Kaštela: dog beach near Hotel Resnik
• Drvenik: Riviera Makarska
• Makarska: in the direction of Split, half way to Krvavica
• Dubrovnik: beaches around Slano near Dubrovnik, dogs are allowed on all beaches
• Rogoznica: Hotel Resort Marina Frapa
• The island of Mljet: Saplunara beach
• The island of Vis: dog beach in Komiža – Vartalac beach
• The island of Pag: beach at Straško camp
• The island of Brač: dog beach in Bol
• The island of Hvar: a section of Zaraće beach