VICTOR TEIXEIRA – LMDI
Having two dogs and living between two countries, I truly appreciate the organisation, dedication and commitment that are required from this lifestyle choice. No trip is planned on the spur of the moment: from the shortest breaks to the longest holidays, with or without our pooches, the same organisational skills come into play. When they travel with us, there is a list of things we (and they) just can’t do without; when we leave them behind, even more so, because we’re not there with them. So it is with great admiration that I hear stories from other pet parents and learn tips and tricks every single time.
One of those people is a new friend of mine who has the most adorable four-legged cuties; from the noise they make they all clearly think that their main duty in life is to protect Mom and home. They do an amazing job…
Welcome to our July DogBlog!
Sian Lenegan – Business Coach and busy Dog Mum
Our little family, a chihuahua and our two dachshunds, well we’re all about adventure so I thought I’d share a little bit about life with little legs.
We spend our days and nights together but more than ever, when we travel, go out, do things we want to keep our little family united. No one likes leaving their babies alone (more on that later) and we are no different. Before I get to the adventure, let me introduce you to the stars of the show.
Biscuit, five year old chihuahua who grew up with dobermans (don’t tell her she’s a 4kg chi, she won’t believe you). Her favourite things are chicken, and no that’s it. Just chicken.
Milo, a soon to be four year old black and tan dachshund who had a tough start in life but turned out to be a tough dog (and not a mini). His favourite things are hiking, rock climbing and he loves protecting his sisters. (I told you he was tough).
Cherry is the apple of all our eyes, the little one year old babe and our mini dapple. She loves to lie on her back and have her belly rubbed. Her favourite thing is her family, she’s so loving.
Back to our adventures and life with little legs, narrated by Biscuit.
“Mom and dad one time decided to take us on a really big trip (not like the times I’d go in the car and train with mom to work). We were in the car for a whole human day, then we were on the water in a metal cage for two sleeps and then in the car again. I didn’t think it was a good idea as Milo isn’t good in the car, he squealed for the start but he got sea sick. It was all worth it when we arrived in this place in the sun – mom and dad called it Spain.
One of the things we wish we’d known about travelling on the ferry was that a dog-friendly cabin was an option. As it was our first time on the ferry we didn’t realise until we were on board.
If your dogs are going in the crate, take towels. The deck gets washed and you want to towel off your pups before putting them back in the crate.
We’d definitely recommend going by car and ferry with dogs. It was really easy especially if you have their pet passports or relevant paperwork all in order. And although Milo didn’t travel well, now he loves the car because he knows a big adventure awaits.
We loved living in the Spanish winter sun with mom and dad for three whole months. We had long walks in the bush (we had to be careful about jackals) and we went to the beach all the time. We even had a few weekends in a fancy hotel where we got lots of attention from the nice humans.
The great thing about travelling by ferry was that we could plan ahead. We weren’t sure if our particular dog food was going to be available so we stocked up the boot and made sure we had plenty of supplies.
One thing that was pretty scary was the wild and sometimes abandoned dogs. Milo was on the lead and we were out for a walk, he was attacked and bitten by one of these wildlings. It could have been a whole lot worse, we got off pretty lucky but it’s caused some behavioural issues with Milo now. We’re working with a trainer and some tools to help him not react to other dogs when he’s on the lead now. (Sorry if you see us out and about and he gets loud, he’s really a nice boy, I promise).
Spain was great. When we got home to England, mom and dad called a family meeting and talked about us going to live somewhere else. We didn’t really know what they were saying but now we get it. The next adventure started.
This time mom said we were going to a place called Portugal. She said they are really good at chicken so that’s all I needed to know. The other two are sun dogs so they’re happy. We went in a car but then we had to go in these crates and then to this big place where all the humans were waiting to go on these big silver birds.
Mom said we were flying. I believed her, she snuck me out my little bag to look out the window and we were in the clouds. We weren’t there for long and we had a good nap (not like the little human puppy crying all the way, it didn’t like flying). I think mom was more worried than us but now we’re in Portugal living our best lives with little legs.”
Back to Sian
First of all, all our little ones are under 8kg so they could fly in the cabin. It’s one dog per passenger typically speaking and their crates need to meet airline regulations, be malleable and fit under the seat in front of you. That problem was solved by a quick search on Amazon.
The process is the same, you have to have all your paperwork ready. At check-in the dogs in their crates get weighed and checked. You go through security and all the usual routes. We flew with TAP Portugal from Heathrow to Lisbon and it really couldn’t have been easier.
I’m a planner so I had read all the information on flying with dogs back to front. I found a tiny little obscure link on the airline’s website to the local authority and thank heavens I did. You have to inform the destination airport that you are coming with dogs, fill in a form, make a small payment to have a vet check the dogs and paperwork on arrival. If you do this in advance it’s an absolute breeze.
I’d been to my vet before we left and I did get a mild sedative for Milo as he’s an awful traveller. All things considered, they were little diamonds and loved all the attention in the airport. And now that we’re in the EU we’ll get their health records into their Pet Passports and flying will be even easier as we won’t have to get “Animal Health Certificates” drawn up every time we travel.
I did everything I could think to make their crates comfortable with a blanket that smelt like home, a toy, their favourite treats (not too many) and we tried getting them used to the crates before travelling. All in all, try to relax. I think I was more stressed than the dogs. Understandable for the first time flying but now I’ve done it, we’ll definitely do it again.
Now that we live in Portugal, we’re so happy to have so many sun spots in the house to laze around. It sure is warm here, we go for an early morning walk with mom before the sun is too high. We are learning about the grass to avoid and trying to make friends. I don’t like swimming yet but Milo goes in the pool with mom and then he runs around like crazy. We sleep most of the day and then when the sun starts sinking we get crazy and party like it’s 1999.
As we said, we don’t like leaving the dogs alone. Sometimes it can’t be avoided and I know from the hidden cameras that once we’ve left, they don’t even notice. Most of the time. I try to keep different toys, treats and activities for them hidden until we leave them on their own so they’re stimulated by something “new”. We’ve done our best to build an escape ramp should they ever fall in the pool but they’re never allowed by the water if we aren’t supervising.
One thing I’ve been worried about moving to the warmer climates is the soaring temperatures. Heatstroke is fatal to dogs. What you don’t realise is that even at 20 to 23 degrees Celsius there’s a risk if your dog is very rambunctious like Milo is. And you just have to think about the temperature of the ground or sand. There are the obvious and common sense things to do like making sure there’s always fresh water, a place in the shade to nap and walking early or late when it’s cooler. One thing my trio absolutely love is when I make their home-made frozen protein balls! I get their favourite treats, some peanut butter and roll it into balls that I freeze. If it’s super hot they get a frozen treat.
I would love to try out one of those cooling mats but to be honest while Cherry is still in her chewing phase I wouldn’t dare in case she breaches the contents and gets sick.
I’m so looking forward to finding some dog-friendly beaches here in Portugal and going on some more wild and wonderful adventures with our little babes.
We’re loving life in the sun and can’t wait to go on more adventures. If you have any ideas of places to go, things to do and see we’d love you to help us explore our new home. Love Biscuit, Milo and Cherry.
PS. You can follow me on Instagram @cuteasabiscuit
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