Paperwork for taking a jet setting dog from Canada to Europe | Pet Travel

Want to take your dog from Canada to the EU but don’t know where to start? Neither did I, but I decided to check out if it was #1) possible? and #2) would I need a PHD in paperwork management? After some research for ‘Non-Commercial Export of Animals’  it turns out it’s not that bad and I lived to tell the tale. The proof being that I’m typing this from Florence with a world travelling dog by my side. And you’ll appreciate the ‘punchline’ at the end of this article…

Order, We Must Have Order

First thing I realized is that there is a very strict order to everything and timing is very important.

Microchipping must be done before vaccinations and only one year rabies vaccines are accepted coming into Europe. Tikka had a three year jab, but alas, had to get a one year before we left. Vaccines must be administered 30 days before travel.  From the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website:’ according to EU regulations, a rabies vaccination is not considered valid unless the animal was properly identified at the time it was vaccinated. The microchip or tattoo number must also appear on the rabies vaccination certificate in order for it to be considered valid.

A certified vet must verify that the vaccination was administered.

Microchips can be different types, however a ISO standard 11784 rated microchip is preferred as the standard for entry to Europe, otherwise if it is any other type you have to bring your own scanner with you. They sell them here.


Tikka in her travel carrier

Paperwork, Lovely Paperwork

For travelling from Canada to the EU, the paperwork needs to be downloaded from the CFIA and there is lots of information to get you filling things out like a pro. Here is the link for the CFIA – Non Commercial export of animals.

After looking up the country that you LAND in (not your final destination) I downloaded it and printed off two copies. I had an extra in case of any mess ups at the vet. This has to happen within 10 days of travel to the EU. Take the forms plus a printout of the instructions to your appointment, making sure they know why you are there.  You need to do a health examination and tell them you need this paperwork filled out. And here is a fun fact. It HAS to be filled out in BLUE ink…no exceptions!

We also got an International Health Certificate from the vet for the airline in case someone asked to see it.

Everything at Tikka’s appt went well, we were in an out in 30 minutes with a vet stamp in the first space of three (vet, CFIA, customs at destination) on the document and were ready for the next step…the ruler!


I rule the blue pen

This part felt unusual as I’m not used to crossing out information on govt forms. It’s required to take a ruler and cross out anything that does not apply to your situation, again in that all important blue ink. These sections determine points such as:
Are you the owner of the dog travelling with you?
Do you have more that 5 dogs with you?
After all that was done it was time to take the papers to the CFIA for a pre arranged appointment – List of offices. I took the papers and $20 and was there only 15 minutes while they put their stamp on the back page, in the second spot.

Once back at my office, I made two copies of all the stamped papers so that I had a spare as well as all her vaccination records, tattoo and microchip certificates. Bring everything with you in duplicate – you will save time if anyone needs a copy of something.

And the CIFA have this handy checklist you can reference.

On Our Way

Was that really all of it? … Do we have everything done? … Is it all correct?… Did I forget anything? I guess we’ll find out 10 hours after our flight and we have a customs officer staring at us.


Waiting to board the plane at YVR

The big test finally arrived. After months of planning, Tikka, myself and my husband were finally airborne and we were cautiously optimistic about what the EU custom officer had in store for us. We eagerly followed the signs to baggage claim at the Munich airport and before long passport control was in front of us becokoning us forward. And what do you think happened after all the previous months of organizing? Not a DAMN thing!!! They couldn’t have cared less and waved us on without a blink when we told them we had a dog.

My husband and I discussed how surprising that was and figured that customs must be different than passport control and we’d have to show the paperwork after we got our bags. That time came in 20 minutes and there was no indication that we even had to declare having a dog with us. We did what we thought was best and went through the red customs channel in to declare her anyways. A very friendlly customs officer took Tikka’s documents and went away to the back of his office. Ah ha! This will be when we get that last stamp on her papers, giving us closure for a job well done. He returned 2 minutes later and said ‘Ok, enjoy your holiday’. We flipped to the last page and that third space still sat empty – not even a whiff of a stamp.


The lonely third place for a stamp


We took the hint…move on and have a great holiday, which is just what we’ll do. Of course for future travel, we will still follow all procedures as you never know when you’ll have to have everything ready to present to customs with a trigger happy stamp.

Read about the first leg of our road trip in Germany and Austria.









Have Dog, Will Travel! | Pet Travel

Time for a change of scenery whilst bringing all the comforts of home along for the journey. Tikka brings so much comfort to me and my husband, always next to us no matter what kind of day we are having, ready to snuggle up to us with all her fluffy love. So of course she needs to come with us on our next big trip so that she can check out the scenery right along side of us!

Although Tikka is a seasoned traveler, navigating through airports and snoozing in different hotels, all of her travels have been in Canada and the US and only a few days at a time as they always centered around work trips. Finally, an opportunity for a proper 3 week vacation…now how the heck do we choose where to go and where is dog friendly? How long can Tikka fly for? How easy is the paperwork? And so the trip vetting process began.

After researching all of the above and narrowing down choices, a destination started to pull away from the pack. It became hard to dismiss it while scrolling through numerous websites and blogs about dog travel. The country sat right in front of us,  begging from its back legs and spinning like a circus poodle. How could we resist?


Italy it is!

First on our checklist was ‘had to be dog friendly’. Wow! Does Italy have this covered. Dogs in and outside of restaurants, in cafes and all around town squares – The Italians have actually figured out that you won’t die if you eat outside of your own house with your dog laying down next to you.

Checking out hotels and AirBnB was amazing. When you filter for ‘pet friendly’ only a small percentage of properties would drop out of the search. So many options in all ranges from rustic to luxury. Stores are also welcoming and we’ve read about dogs being spoiled at the local markets with the purveyors fussing and giving treats to happy wagging tails.

Transport looks fantastic – dogs on trains and buses and water taxis in Venice. Bringing Tikka along for all our adventures won’t be slowed down if we have to jump on local transit.

And then the deal was sealed when we found out about the beaches that cater to our four legged friends… beach chairs and umbrella rentals in huge off leash areas along the blue Mediterranean sea while someone walks up and down the sand selling gelato for dogs.

All sounds like doggy heaven and we can hardly wait, and we’re looking forward to having everyone follow along our trip with us! Ciao!

Tikka Vandoggo Vancouver Dog vintage suitcases






Canal to Chalet in Montreal | Dog Travel Canada

We recently took a quick trip to Montreal for the Just For Laughs comedy festival and our furry sidekick came along for some urban exploring. What is so great about traveling with a dog is how it opens up planning decisions on what to do with your day. Instead of driving to points of interest we put on our shoes, clip on the leash  and get walking.

VanDoggo Tikka Montreal Travel

Lachine Canal, Montreal

After landing on Friday afternoon we launched google maps and planned our route to Griffintown. Destination: a dog friendly brewery  west of the Old Port that we found online through a Montreal Blog. The walk over took us along the Lachine Canal which has a nice wide path for people and bikes. Perfect for a leisurely dog sniffing stroll from tree to tree with no cars to worry about.

VanDoggo Tikka Montreal Travel

Pathway along the canal

VanDoggo Tikka Montreal Travel

After our 30 min walk in the sun we were ready for a cold craft beer and some grub, so we settled into the dog friendly patio at Brasseur de Montreal. Unashamed tourists that we were, we jumped on the poutine and steak frites. Staff were incredibly friendly and brought over a water bowl for Tikka and she made the place her own.

VanDoggo Tikka Montreal Travel

Patio at Brasseur de Montreal. Time for a beer, rest our paws and charge our phones.

We could have stayed for hours, relaxing in the sun but we had to get back to go out for an evening of comedy. The Just For Laughs festival takes over the city, showcasing the art of comedy and there is something for everyone. It was a late night, but next morning instead of sleeping in we went on a 3 hour urban hike. Destination: Place to purchase and eat a croissant.

Urban Forest

Urban Forest Art Installation

First thing Saturday we struck out from our downtown hotel and headed towards Mont-Royal. Our chosen path took us through the downtown streets, through an Urban Forest by McGill University and landed us in a cool dog park called Percy-Walters at the bottom of the hill. After a brief off leash romp and chatting with some locals we headed to Rue Peel to start our climb up to the chalet and lookout.

What’s neat about this park is you can take a gut busting direct route with the stairs or choose winding path that slowly works it’s way up the side of the hill. Guess from the picture and my breathing which one we did…

Into the Woods01 Montreal

Masters of the stairs

So great to see everyone enjoying the city park  – young and old, locals and tourists, dogged and dogless – they all come out on a Saturday morning to battle up the hill. For the less in shape (*cough) just take your time and you will soon be rewarded with a break in the trees and the following view.

Tikka Vandoggo Montreal Lookout 01-1

View from Mont Royal lookout

VanDoggo Tikka Montreal Travel

Chalet at the top of the stairs, Mont Royal, Montreal.

VanDoggo Tikka Montreal Travel

Looking good at the Lookout!

Took some pics, enjoyed the vista and then we were off for part two of our morning trek. A mini adventure unfolded as we worked our way over the top of Mont Royal and then finding a path to work our way through the woods, hoping we were coming out on the right side and the right road. It took a while tromping through the trees on the spiderweb of trails but we got there!

In the woods Montreal

So many pathways and trails in Parc Mont Royal

Now in the home stretch we were just 15 min from our flaky breakfast at Fous Desserts. A croissant,  pain au Chocolat, and a couple of teas in hand we walked over one block to Parc Sir Wilfrid Laurier and watched Tikka eyeing the squirrels while we ate our breakfast on a bench. It felt good to rest our paws and take in the local activity from our corner of the park. Time didn’t allow for a walk back so we jumped in a Uber car that was more than happy to have our dog come along.

Thanks Montreal for a wonderful trip and the hike within a city!



You can take your dog to Las Vegas! Dog Friendly Hotel Vdara | Dog Travel US

When a family birthday celebration was recently organized for Sin City, I was curious if bringing Tikka on the trip was viable, for us and for her. I had never brought a dog to Vegas and you don’t see too many around when you are in the hotels or out on the strip. Where would we stay…what about the heat…?

Biggest item for the trip was where to stay – had to be dog friendly of course and ideally close to a decent relief area. I honed in on Vdara Hotel next to the Bellagio. Partly because I had stayed here when it first opened and really enjoyed my stay, but also because I discovered the fantastic dog amenities they had planned out since my last visit. Booking online was easy peasy, a few clicks took us to the Vdog booking options and we were set. Within 24 hours, Vdara concierge sent us an email welcoming us to the hotel and acknowledged that I had a dog with me, asking if there was anything I needed. I requested a crate for the room so that I could save some space in my suitcase from bringing Tikka’s collapsible crate and they were happy to oblige (and it’s free). Hey, a girl always needs space for extra shoes that will never actually be worn during the trip…

Tikka in Las Vegas Vandoggo

Tikka at YVR on her way to Las Vegas

After an uneventful Air Canada flight we arrived on time at McLaren airport, ready for our first dog adventure in Vegas. Tikka and I stepped out of the airport and were overcome by a thick wall of heat. It was hot. Very hot. Burning hot. Did I mention it was hot? If it was a shock to my system, I’m sure it was to her as well, so we promptly got in the taxi line and luckily was in air conditioning within 5 minutes. This is something to be really conscious of, travelling to the desert with a dog and dealing with the soaring heat. During our trip we stayed in the air con whenever we could while waiting on taxis etc.  Throwing the ball around for some decent exercise was reserved for early am and I checked the pavement with my hand before walking her onto it so that we could avoid any burnt pads.

Tikka in Las Vegas Vandoggo

Vdog swag… score!

Check in was a breeze. The crate was on our file so the front desk called to have it delivered to the room right away. Reception popped into the back and came back with a bag of goodies, something they provide for their doggy guests. A quick trip up the elevator to the room and we checked out our swag: A Vdara blanket to keep, that folds up with a handle, a biscuit and info about their dog program. We laid out the blanket on the sofa, knowing full well Tikka would be up there any chance she got.

The crate arrived shortly after we settled in and with such a big room it was easy to have it out of the way. It was a proper heavy crate, and they provided another blanket to put in the bottom without asking. Vdara’s policy is dogs must be crated if no one is in the room, so either bring your own or let them know when you book that you need one. If crating is a no go for your dog, then they will organize a pet sitter to come and hang out in your room while you gamble or catch a show.

Tikka in Las Vegas Vandoggo

Vdog Suite at Vdara

Rooms are gorgeous – modern, large and a complete kitchenette with small fridge and hot plate and small dining table, separated from the bed and sitting area. Good open space to brush up on some tricks and bounce the ball around or have a decent game of tug o’ war. The lobby has a small market, so you can fill up your fridge with people snacks or maybe a cheesey treat for tricks.

Tikka is on a raw diet so the fridge is super handy to keep ground turkey fresh from a trip to the grocery store, but we indulged on this trip and ordered from the in-suite dog menu. 3 different dishes are on offer and we settled on a rice and chicken dish.

Room service was quick and Tikka’s breakfast arrived with my pastry selection (* word of caution – Tikka’s breakfast arrived heated up and was incredibly hot, check the temperature before your dog dives in). Even though I ordered a small portion, it was huge (yep, Vegas), so I saved half for the next day and popped it that handy fridge.

Tikka in Las Vegas Vandoggo

Room service anyone?

A tip for the peoples… Skip the pastries from the room delivery menu and pop over to Aria (3 min connected walk) and indulge in the baked goods and premium teas from Jean Philippe Patisserie. Croissants are flaky and buttery and yum. Nutella brioche? Yes please!

Now here is where Vdara has an edge on other dog friendly hotels in Vegas. Only steps from the lobby is a fenced in dog park! When nature calls and it’s time to pee, no problem. Zip down in the elevator and relief is just a few minutes from your room. There is no long walk to get outside, as unlike most of the hotels on the strip, Vdara has no casino. Calm down gamblers,  Aria is only a  minute away and Bellagio is connected by a 5 min walkway.

Tikka in Las Vegas Vandoggo

View from our room of the Park and Dog Park at Vdara

The dog park is small, but it’s fully fenced and nicely maintained with two grassy areas that are actually green in the middle of summer. There is a water fountain for people and dogs, as well as poop bags and a garbage can. So this is why this next comment just fries my ham. It’s a small park with a bench. It has bags. It has a garbage can. But there was still a mess left behind! Who does that?!!??!! People, please pick up after your dog…Indeed the hotel is catering to our every need, so it’s only respectful to pick up the poop and not leave it for the staff. We all want more dog friendly hotels, so let’s work together on this and be the type of pet owner that establishments want to provide for. Rant over.

One comment for the hotel is it would be fabulous to provide some mid day shade. The fence is surrounded by beautiful landscaping and lots of trees, so morning and late afternoon provides a lot of shade with the longer shadows, but come 1pm it’s all gone. I planned around this, which was pretty easy to do, but would be a nice bonus to have a tree in the middle or shade over the bench.

Next to the dog park is a small pathway that loops around another small park that you can wander through on leash. Again, these are not huge play areas, but more than enough for bathroom relief and to stretch their legs. Leave your ‘chuck it’ behind, even I can make that length of a throw… 🙂

When we did venture out for a longer romp we headed over to Charles Frias Dog Park. No more than 5 min in a taxi and the driver let Tikka jump right in. Fabulous park that has three enclosed areas and lots of room for chasing and running. Tikka met some locals as did I, and we got tips on the best steak in town and where to go for some great dog hikes in the cooler months.

Tikka in Las Vegas Vandoggo

Enjoying the view from the air con comforts of our room

No doubt we’ll be bringing Tikka to Las Vegas on future trips, a paws up fron VanDoggo! Nothing better than a wagging tail in your hotel room when you come back with your winnings. And nothing better than a wagging tail when you lost your shirt!







Copper Toned Basil | Dog Photography

I recently had a scrumptious morning romp with Tikka and her new friend Basil at the Derby Reach park in Langely, BC. I’ve been looking for opportunities to get my camera pointed at something other than black fur and Basil was up for the job! This guy found a wonderful home with Kristy and it was a pleasure spending the morning with them both.

Basil in the Fraser River

Basil in the Fraser River

Basil at Derby Reach Park

A healthy romp through the high grass

Basil running along the Fraser River

Serious case of the Zoomies

Kinda loving this last picture – Basil mid way through a round of wave chasing. Half of the dog park visit was spent running up and down the river chasing the mini waves coming in from the boats heading out for the day.