How many countries have you been to?
Schnitzel, a six-year-old miniature dachshund from Sydney, has visited 33.
The Grand Canyon, St Mark’s Square in Venice and the Swiss Alps are just some of the tourist attractions this sausage dog has stepped paw on.
Too bad Schnitzel doesn’t appreciate it.
“But he’s part of the family so I love having him with us. And it’s been a great way to chat to locals because people want to pat Schnitzel.”
Who knew this kind of international travel with a pet was even possible (remember Pistol and Boo)? But Shandos, 37, assures me it is — if you’re organised and have the money.
So if you’ve been thinking about going global with your doggo but have been wondering if it’s worth the effort, their experiences Schnitzel may be all the inspo you need.
Creating special memories (and great Instagram shots) with your pooch
Shandos’ parents had previously looked after Schnitzel while she travelled with husband Joel, but when they couldn’t the next time around, plans were made to include him.Helping your furry friend feel relaxed (and safe) on their next road tripMost pet owners could use some guidance when it comes to road travel with dogs and cats, so we asked the experts to outline their golden rules for taking the stress out of a full family getaway.Read more
That’s how the dachshund found himself almost 4,000 metres above sea level when visiting Jungfraujoch in the Bernese Alps.
“It snows year-round, so we went in the middle of summer and took Schnitzel up there for a hike in the snow,” Shandos says.
“The train tickets are really expensive, but because he is small and was in a carrier bag, he travelled completely free.”
It’s moments like those Shandos and Joel are grateful to share with their furbaby.
Dog friendly takes on a new meaning in Europe
Accommodation, transport, sight-seeing and eating out is very dog-friendly in Europe, and pretty good in the US too.
In Europe dogs are generally fine to join you in wandering old cities and on most hikes in national parks. Places like churches and palaces can be more tricky, but not always.
“There is this beautiful palace in France called Chenonceau in the Loire Valley. I’d seen photos of it and Schnitzel was allowed inside the palace as long as we carried him,” Shandos says.
Whether you’re after a hotel or Airbnb (Schnitzel has stayed in 200!), there are dog-friendly options galore, particularly across Europe, according to Shandos.
One of her favourite memories was spending a week on a yacht in the Canary Islands with her husband and Schnitzel.
“Lucky he is small because there wasn’t a lot of room on the yacht,” she says.
Shandos estimates they spend an extra 10 per cent on accommodation when travelling with Schnitzel.
Most local trains, metros and trams in Europe allow dogs, but some will require a ticket.
In the US, using local transport largely depends on the size of your dog.
“Occasionally we had to pay for him on public transport, but as he’s small he often travelled for free,” Shandos says.
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Many places in Europe will let you eat inside restaurants and cafes with your furry bestie.
Austria, Belgium, Croatia and France are just some of the countries that are particularly dog friendly in the restaurant scene.
In the US, you’re more likely to be restricted to eating outside.
Shandos’ advice for navigating these situations is to always have a back-up plan.
“You need to be more organised and there is always a bit of doubt — if you’re not sure whether he is allowed somewhere … plan what you will do instead.”
It’s important to provide your dog the opportunity to toilet when it presents itself — which isn’t always easy along Europe’s paved streets.
Shandos and Joel trained Schnitzel to toilet on command while on grass to assist with this.
“We usually only had problems if there wasn’t any grass or just plain dirt around, with the cobblestone streets of Florence being the trickiest spot,” Shandos says.
“Venice would have been difficult too, except our building had a rare grass lawn.”
The solution for emergencies? Lots of doggy bags.
Going the distance with your dog
When it comes to Schnitzel’s adventures, getting in and out of Australia is the hardest bit.
“When dogs are flying to and from Australia, [and] within, they can only travel as cargo,” Shandos explains.
The costs of flights on top of vet preparation and quarantine are also expensive, she says.
“Flying to Europe with Schnitzel, it cost more than our two one-way flights for his flight,” Shandos says.
“Coming back to Australia, we spent around $5,500, and that was organising everything myself to keep the price down.”
If time apart from your furry friend is a concern, you’ll be glad to learn quarantine in Australia is no longer as hectic as it used to be.
(Don’t let Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s mistake put you off.)
Coming back into Australia can see your dog reunited with you in as little as 10 days.
“It used to be months, but they have reduced it,” Shandos says.
The Agriculture Department has an online calculator providing a step-by-step timeline of required vet visits, permit applications and quarantine bookings to assist you.
Make it count
For an extended period, the trouble and organisation of holidaying overseas with your pet is worth it, Shandos says.
“Do it for six months minimum. Just because of the amount of preparation to return to Australia, and the cost.”
Anything less she recommends leaving your dog in the care of a loved one or professional.