Pet Friendly Destinations – Top 10 International Picks For a Vacation With Your Pet

Thinking of traveling with your pet internationally? Here are the TOP TEN international destinations to travel with your pet, and information that will make entering these countries easy and without quarantine.

We are also including information that will help you pass through immigration with ease if you are visiting another country. Keep in mind that this information is subject to change. You can always send an email to Pet Travel inquiring about the latest requirements for travel to an international destination with your pet.

The travel industry knows that pets mean profits. The airlines also want your business as many as 95% of the world’s airlines will now transport your pet. If your dog or cat is small enough you can even take it in the cabin with you on many airlines.

The grand cities of Europe are all very pet friendly. Here are four countries and cities that deserve to be on the top ten list.

Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy are four of the most pet friendly countries we have visited. Traveling with your pet in Europe is easy as there are no longer any borders, so you can travel freely. Distances are small between the cities and even between countries. Getting around is easy as almost all European trains, buses and ferries accept pets on board.

PARIS is easily the most pet friendly city we have visited in Europe. You can dine at any of the thousands of sidewalk cafes in Paris, and you will see pets sitting by their masters or under the tables in nearly all of them. What’s more, in this the city of lights well behaved pets can dine inside the restaurant with their owners.

On a Sunday morning you will see well-dressed men and women walking with their very well-groomed pets on a leash out for a Sunday stroll and headed for the nearby park.

Visit the Montmartre district where artists have set up their easels on the sidewalk. For a few francs an artist will create an original painting of your favorite pet.

Immigration into France: To take your pet into France from the United States, Canada, or Mexico, you need just three things. Your pet must be micro chipped with an ISO 15 digit microchip, be vaccinated for rabies, and have the EU form of a veterinary health certificate for France. The immigration officer will just pass you through.

LAKE LUCERNE in Switzerland is well known for its beauty and the quality of its skiing. Rent a chalet for you and your pet near the lifts and you will have a great ski vacation. Just down the street will be a sidewalk cafe with a pet under nearly every table. If your pet does not have a thick coat, you will want to purchase it a nice warm coat to wear.

While visiting Switzerland you will want to see the famous banking capital of Zurich. But Zurich is famous for more than banks it is the home to many of the famous watch makers and chocolatier’s.

Switzerland is one of those countries where pets are just a part of everyday life. Due to its location it is just a short drive in a rental car or by train to either France or Italy.

Immigration into Switzerland: To take your pet into Switzerland from the United States, Canada, or Mexico, you need just three things. Your pet must be micro chipped with an ISO 15 digit microchip, be vaccinated for rabies and have the EU form of a veterinary health certificate for Switzerland. The immigration officer will just pass you through.

BRUSSELS is also on our list of top ten destinations. Although your pet may not be welcome in the museums, it will be welcome almost everywhere else. This is a walking city, and if you stayed for a month you would never run out of different places to visit with your pet. There are magnificent parks everywhere, take a walk through the famous antique flea markets, or stroll into Belgium’s past at Cinquantenaire Park.

Have you ever ridden a Segway? They look like an oversized skate board with a handle and an electric motor. Brussels is famous for the availability of these little devices that will scoot you around the city at a speed suitable for your pet to run alongside.

Brussels is also known for its exotic night life but you will need to hire a pet sitter as pets are not allowed in the night clubs.

Immigration into Belgium: To take your pet into Belgium from Mexico you need just three things. Your pet must be micro chipped with an ISO 15 digit microchip, be vaccinated for rabies and have the EU form of a veterinary health certificate for Belgium. The immigration officer will just pass you through.

MADRID is one of Europe’s oldest cities and worthy of a ranking in our top ten pet friendly places to visit. This is a city of plazas with fountains and statues everywhere. Spaniards love their pets, and they will love yours too if it is well behaved and friendly.

Take your pet on a walk to the Plaza Mayor the so-called “aristocratic centre” of Madrid, home to the stunning Royal Palace, a 17th century monument that combines Baroque and Classical styles. Next to the palace you can find the Plaza de Oriente (square), the Opera House and the modern Almudena Cathedral, consecrated in 1993 by Pope John Paul II.

Another option while visiting Spain is the beautiful Costa del Sol with beautiful white sand beaches running as far as the eye can see. And yes, your pet will be welcome on most of the beaches in the area so if you have a water dog, they will have a chance to sample the warm waters of the Mediterranean.

Immigration into Spain: To take your pet into Spain from the United States, Canada, or Mexico, you need just three things. Your pet must be micro chipped with an ISO 15 digit microchip, be vaccinated for rabies and have the EU form of a veterinary health certificate for Spain. The immigration officer will just pass you through.

The hotels in Europe are much more likely to make your pet welcome as it is such a common practice to take ones pet along on holiday. Or, you can book a lovely home or apartment, which are readily available if you are staying for a week or longer.

PLAYA DEL CARMEN in Mexico is a great destination for the lover of brilliant blue waters and white sand.

My little Shih Tzu named Ruggles and I lived there for a while, and there was virtually no place he was not welcome. If you need exercise there is a small partially outdoor gym where Ruggles would lie in the shade and wait for me. Down at the beach were dozens of small patio restaurants where Ruggles and I would share lunch.

On at least one occasion, we took the deluxe inter-city bus from Playa Del Carmen to Cancun. Ruggles occupied the seat next to me. Not sure if it was legal but no one said a word about it either way.

Nearby by are the Mayan Temples of Chichen-Itza. I do not believe that pets are allowed inside the grounds.

Within two or three kilometers are several caves with underground pools of water. I saw several pets during my visit to these caves.

COSTA RICA is a popular destination for traveling pet owners. Going through customs with your pet is little more than a wave of the hand. If you are looking for exciting gambling and night life, then San Jose is the place for you. There are plenty of pet friendly hotels in the city.

Most people who visit Costa Rica head for the rural areas where tall trees, beautiful birds and magnificent waterfalls are around every corner. Of course, don’t forget the rain forest where the brilliant blue butterflies flitter about the lush vegetation. Accommodations in these areas are less elegant but you will find several who will welcome you and your pet.


To enter pet friendly Costa Rica you will need a certificate of good health indicating that your pet if free from disease and has been properly vaccinated. Dogs must be vaccinated for rabies, distemper, hepatitis, lestospirosis, and parovirus, and cats must be vaccinated for rabies.

Rounding out our top ten favorite pet friendly destinations, we travel to the United States. You can bring your pet into the US with only a health certificate stating that it is healthy and has been vaccinated for rabies.

KEY WEST is probably the most pet friendly city in the States. This small town can only be called “laid back” where life goes at slower place. Your pet will be welcome in virtually every hotel, bed and breakfast and motel in the city. Every restaurant has an outdoor dining area where your pet will be welcome and some restaurants even allow small well behaved pets inside.

I visited the city a few years ago and while Ruggles and I were out for a walk I stopped in front of a somewhat elegant restaurant. I was studying the menu and the maitre de came out to speak to me. I asked if Ruggles would be welcome and his response was: does he like beef or chicken?

THE BIG APPLE – NEW YORK deserves a place on our list. It seems that everyone living in this bustling city has a pet. There are so many that the pet walkers will each have six or eight at one time on leashes out for their morning stroll. Sunday in Central park is doggie heaven. Your pet will meet and greet a hundred other pets during your stroll. Then you can stop at one of the outdoor cafes for “coffee and a roll”.

This is also the city for the elegant hotel and nowhere is pets more welcome than in an elegant hotel. The higher the price of the room, the more welcome the pet. However, there is a wide range of places where your pet will be welcome. Pet Travel lists over a hundred hotels that welcome pets.

A few years ago Ruggles and I stayed at one of the nicer hotels on Central Park. Late in the afternoon I went down to the bar for a cocktail and took Ruggles along. We were sitting in the bar when the manager came in. He gave Ruggles a little pat and said “I would much rather have a well behaved pet in my hotel than a small child who is not well behaved. ” This hotel, like many others, sent a bellman up to my room each morning to take Ruggles for a walk.

Some of the hotels in New York even have room service menus for pets!

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina well deserves a place on the top ten list. More than 50% of the accommodations in Asheville accept pets attesting to its claim as one of America’s most pet friendly cities. For the traveling pet owner who loves golf this is a top choice.

During the summer Asheville features a number of outdoor concerts, street fairs, and festivals where your pet will be welcome.

SAN DIEGO is only a short distance from our border. This metropolitan city on the ocean has not one but two “doggie beaches”. There are hundreds of pet friendly accommodations in the city and in the surrounding areas. On a recent visit with my new pet also a Shih Tzu whose name is Bear; we stayed at the Sophia Hotel which could not have been more pet friendly. The young women who manned the front desk always stopped to talk with Bear and even offered to babysit him.

Each day we walked to one of the dozen or so outdoor cafes for lunch or dinner. Almost the first thing they would do was to bring Bear a bowl of water.


The range of accommodations and traveling options available to the traveling pet owner continues to expand because these businesses recognize the value of your business. However, you have a responsibility to be a courteous and caring pet owner. Don’t let your pet be a nuisance by letting it roam loose or by barking. And, rule number one, be sure to pick up after your pet.

Visiting these pet friendly cities will make for a vacation that you will never forget. Be sure and book your airline tickets early if you are traveling by air. Most of the airlines have a limit to the number of pets per flight. In addition, call or email the pet friendly hotel you are staying in to confirm their pet policies so there will be no surprises at check in. Email us at [email protected] with any questions. We wish you nothing but happy travels.

Box Turtle Pet Care

Box turtles range between the truly aquatic turtles and the terrestrial tortoises with their need for bodies of water in which they soak and their need for grassland and wooded areas with moist and humid soil. Box turtle forage for food on land and spend the time they sleep dug into the earth in burrows, under logs and under rocks.


Box turtles need a big size enclosure in order to provide for the proper range of heating and humidity.

The smallest size indoor housing for one box turtle to be kept in is 3 x 3 x 2 feet. For two turtles, the minimum size should be at least 4 x 4 x 2 feet. Aquariums are not appropriate housing for an adult box turtle. Babies may be kept in aquariums, but as they grow larger enclosures are needed.

Create a land area using 2 to 3 inches of good quality plain sterile potting soil slightly moistened. Do not use backyard dirt of soil from a garden.. Do not used coarse substrates such are gravel or sand, as these tend to scratch the shell and open the way for bacterial infections.

Box turtles require a hide box in which to get away from it all and feel secure. A good size box in one corner of the enclosure, filled with hay in which to burrow. is essential. The hide box can be anything from a cardboard box to a plastic container with a door cut into it.

A water area must be provided with its deep enough that the water comes to just about the nose of the turtle. It doesn’t need to be able to swim, just to soak. If using a kitty litter pan, it is best to sink this into the substrate and provide a ramp to get in and get out for the turtle.

The water area must be kept clean at all times. Box turtles not only use the water to soak in but also relieve themselves in.


Full spectrum lighting is required for indoor enclosures. Full spectrum light mimics the beneficial effects of natural sunlight, enabling the turtle to metabolize vitamin D3. The full spectrum lighting is an essential part of the calcium metallization process. Without the specific wavelengths and proper diet, calcium deficiencies will result which may ultimately prove fatal. Box Turtles need 12 to 14 hours of light each day. NOTE: UV waves cannot pass through glass, and 40% of the available waves are lost when the light passes through an aluminum screen, try to have the light shining directly on them.


Day Time temps: 85 to 88 degrees

Night Time temps: 70 to 75 degrees.

Most box turtles require a relative humidity of 60 to 80% in at least one area of their enclosure. Turtle that are not provided with the correct humidity often suffer from infected and swollen eyes and ear infections. Providing humidity is simple, in one corner of the enclosure provide some peat moss and wet it down with water until it is fairly moist. A hiding area, such as a cardboard box or large plastic container with ventilation holes should be placed over the wet peat moss. Be sure to check the moss constantly to ensure it is moist and has not dried out.


It is a good idea to allow your box turtle to hibernate, especially if you keep it in an outdoor enclosure during the summer months.This is to allow the box turtles internal clock to remain normal. If you choose not to hibernate the turtle, you must keep it warm and provide plenty of UV lighting along with their normal dietary needs.

To prepare a box turtle for hibernation, do not feed the animal for two weeks, but keep the heat on to allow the animal to fully digest any food remaining in its stomach and intestinal tract. Soak the box turtle in a shallow container of lukewarm water a few times during this period for about 10 minutes, this will help to hydrate the animal and to remove any food left in their system. Box turtle that hibernate with food still present in their intestinal tract can die from massive infections as the food rots inside them.

Hibernating box turtles indoor requires a hibernation box. A cardboard box half filled with moist sterile potting soil or peat moss with holes punched in the sides for aeration is an appropriate hibernation box. After all the food has been cleared from the turtle’s system, introduce the turtle to the hibernation box. If the box turtle buries down into the substrate and remains still, it is ready for hibernation. If the animal is moving restlessly around after 20 minutes in the box, return if to its enclosure, wait a few days and try again. If the box turtle is ready, move it to an unheated room, such as a garage, where the temperature will remain between 40 to 55 degrees. Check the box turtle weekly to make sure is has not surfaced prematurely. Box turtles usually come out of hibernation after experiencing temperature above 65 degrees for a few days. After the turtle comes out of hibernation, return it to its regular enclosure, provide water, warm it up for a couple of days, and then offer some food. Pay close attention to the turtle during the time after hibernation to observe for any health problems that may occur.


It is best to offer food after the turtle has had a few hours to warm up in the morning. Young turtle require feeding on a daily basis, while adult can be fed every other day. Make sure you combine their diet with both plant and animal matter. Vitamin supplements should be added twice a week.

Plants: A variety of vegetables, greens and fruits are a must. Such as a “salad” of carrots, squash green beans, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, cherries, and plums. Some cantaloupe (with the rind), mustard greens, dandelions, and collard greens can also be mixed in. For treats you can add flowers like hibiscus, rose petals, and geraniums.

Meat: High quality low-fat canned dog food, finely chopped cooked chicken or raw beef heart. Live food can also be offered, like meal worms and crickets.

Young turtles require more animal matter in their diet due to their need of protein. As they grow into adults this should be reduced over time to no more than 10% of their total diet.

Is A Ferret the Right Pet For You?

10) Specialized diets. Ferrets are obligate carnivores, which means that they require a special diet high in meat based protein in order to be healthy (34% meat protein and 22% fat is recommended). Some irresponsible pet owners feed low quality cat/kitten food to their ferrets because it is cheaper and can be picked up at the local grocery store; however this can lead to dangerous health problems for the ferret further down the road.

Most commercial cat/kitten foods use grain-based fillers such as corn, wheat or rice as their primary ingredient. Ferrets have very short gastrointestinal tracts which are unable to easily digest grains, fruits or vegetables; this type of food passes mostly undigested through their system, therefore they receive little to no nutritional value from the food, and eventually become ill and malnourished. High quality ferret food is available at pet stores and online, but can be pricier than standard dog or cat food; whether or not you can afford to purchase expensive food for your pet is one of the key factors to consider about ferret ownership.

9) Exotic pets. Although ferret ownership is legal in 48 states (it is illegal to own ferrets in California and Hawaii), many cities and counties can enact their own laws restricting ferret ownership. Verify that the city or county you live in does not have bans or restrictions requiring permits for your ferrets. If you rent or lease property, even if cats and dogs are allowed, do not automatically assume that ferrets are also included on the list of allowed pets. Violations of city or county laws can lead to fines, confiscation of your pet, and possibly euthanization. Violation of rental or lease agreements can also lead to fines and the possible eviction of you and your pets.

8) Children. Ferrets are NOT good pets for children. This is not to say that ferrets shouldn’t be kept in homes with children, as long as both children and ferrets are supervised while playing together. Rather, ferrets are very high maintenance pets, which require a great deal of time, commitment and energy. Most children are unable to do the necessary work required to maintain a healthy and safe environment for a ferret, which can be considerably more intensive than the care needed for a dog or cat. Ferrets are not like gerbils or rabbits which can be left alone in small cages for long periods of time. Ferrets are – in fact – considered “exotic pets,” and should not be purchased on a whim for a child because of how cute they look bouncing around in their cage at the pet store. For parents who think their seven-year-old is a prodigy and ready to learn about the heavy responsibilities of pet ownership; start with a goldfish, not a ferret. For one: a goldfish is much cheaper (ferrets can be anywhere from $80 to $140 not counting food, supplies and housing) and for another: when the inevitable happens and your child becomes bored of their cute new pet, which one do you want to end up taking care of for the rest of its natural lifespan? A goldfish that typically lives two to three weeks? Or a ferret that may live up to ten years?

7) Other Pets. Ferrets can be compatible with some household pets, but not others. As carnivores, ferrets will be guided by their natural instincts to hunt smaller animals like birds, rodents and lizards. If they can be kept safely apart from one another, it’s possible for ferrets and small animals to coexist peacefully, but keep in mind that all it takes is forgetting to latch the iguana tank once, and then no more iguana! Larger animals like dogs and cats can be trained to accept a ferret into the home and will sometimes even play together, although some dog species (like terriers, who were bred to hunt small mammals) might be more prone to attack or seriously injure a ferret. It is best to consider the temperament of your currents pets and how they have reacted to new people/pets in the past; they will likely react in a similar fashion to a new ferret. Younger animals that are raised together will naturally have the easiest time cohabiting; older animals are typically more territorial and resistant to change.

6) Ferret-proofing. Ferrets are naturally curious creatures that will explore every nook and cranny of your home, and can cram themselves into the smallest and most difficult to reach places. This can include places that are dangerous for the ferret, like between the springs of a mattress or couch, beneath or inside a major appliance like a washing machine or a dishwasher, or inside cabinets containing poisonous cleaners or chemicals. Just like with a toddler or a small child, before getting a ferret one must ensure that the entire house or apartment has safety measures in place to prevent accidents from happening. This can be time consuming and necessitate a lot of hard work as you will need to try to predict all the possible places your ferret might squeeze, dig, climb or claw their way into.

Ferrets share another similarity with toddlers in that they like to pick up small objects off of the floor and chew on or eat them. Ferrets have short intestinal tracts in which objects can easily become lodged. This happens most frequently with small pieces of rubber or foam which expand inside the intestine when ingested and cannot be passed. Without immediate (and costly) surgery, such blockages are usually fatal; this is why the second part of ferret-proofing is combing your home for things a ferret might try to chew on or eat, and making sure they are out of the ferret’s reach. Even larger objects like a foam rubber yoga mat or beach sandals can be problematic, since a ferret can gnaw off small chunks and swallow them. If you’re not willing to make some changes to your home environment for safety’s sake and be constantly vigilant of the whereabouts of your pet, then a ferret might not be the best choice for you.

5) Double (and sometimes triple) trouble. Ferrets are sociable animals, and need several hours a day of activity and social interaction in order to be healthy and happy. Many people recommend getting two ferrets instead of one, as ferrets will form strong pair bonds with their cage-mates. Although this is not a substitute for human/pet interaction, it can be helpful for people who need to leave the house for work during the day, but who still want to make sure their pet has companionship. The downside to having multiple ferrets is that you will need more space to house them, and you will be spending more money on food, litter, vet bills, and so on. However, if you are thinking about adopting a ferret from a shelter, it will often be a requirement that you adopt a pair of ferrets, as they will not wish to separate any of the ferrets from their cage mates. Pair-bonded ferrets that are separated can sometimes become deeply depressed to the point of refusing to eat, or even dying. This brings up another challenge, since if you decide to purchase two ferrets who become pair bonded, and then one dies, you are left with a solitary depressed ferret. For many people, the solution is to start out with three ferrets instead of two, but one must keep in mind the corresponding inverse ratio of more ferrets in your home to less money in your wallet, and plan accordingly.

4) Money. Ferrets can be expensive. Compared to buying a purebred dog or cat, the ferret itself isn’t very pricey – usually a single ferret from a pet store (think Petco or Petsmart) will be around $80 to $140. But then you’re going to have to buy a large cage (the larger the better – preferably with multiple levels) for your ferret to sleep in and maybe spend time in throughout the day if necessary – this will usually cost from $90 to $150. You’ll need food and water bowls, litter pans, bags of ferret litter, ferret food, ferret-tone and ferret-lax (a coat conditioning supplement and a hairball treatment… you’ll want both, most pet stores should have them), nail trimmers, a pet carrier, a hammock or sleeping tube for the ferret to lie in, and assorted toys. At this point you’ve probably spent at least $300 to $400 just for your initial setup.

Then you’re going to need to find an exotic pet veterinarian in your area who sees ferrets, as your ferrets will need check-ups and vaccinations like all other pets. If you rent or lease, you may have to pay an extra pet deposit – be sure to check with your landlord. As mentioned previously, ferrets have a specialized diet and the best quality ferret foods tend to be in the pricey range. Ferrets are exotic pets, so even though you see them in the pet store next to the gerbils and across from the Betta fish, don’t get the wrong idea; these are not cheap pets. If your ferret eats a piece of foam rubber that gets stuck in its intestine, you’re looking at emergency veterinary surgery costing over $1000. Even if the initial cost of a ferret doesn’t seem like much, consider whether you would be able to afford to take your ferret to the vet in case of emergency, which can be hundreds of dollars more than you originally planned for.

3) Smell. Ferrets have a musky scent. Some people like it, some people hate it, some people are indifferent. But there’s no way to escape the fact that the ferret is a musky, smelly little creature. Generally ferrets sold in pet stores are de-scented, but this does not entirely eliminate the ferret’s natural odor. You can buy waterless shampoo spray to put on the ferret’s coat which temporarily gives it a fresh, floral scent, but this disappears fairly quickly. It’s also possible to bathe ferrets using special shampoo, although supposedly this actually makes ferrets smellier afterwards because the shampoo strips natural oils from their skin, drying it out, which then causes their oil glands to overcompensate; this makes them smell worse than before their bath. There really isn’t any way to completely eliminate the ferret’s odor, however it can be minimized by making sure its cage/litter is cleaned frequently, and that it is eating high quality food free of fish byproducts. Before purchasing a ferret, go to your local Petco or Petsmart and put your nose over the top of the ferret cage; it will give you a pretty good idea of the type of smell you can expect to face if you bring one home.

2) Poo. Ferrets have a very high metabolism. They eat frequently, they digest their food quickly, and logically that means that they go to the bathroom a lot. When I say a lot, I mean A LOT. And ferret poo is smelly, so you’re going to want to clean it up quickly – luckily it’s small and easy to clean up. Just keep in mind that there’s going to be a lot of it. Ferrets can be litter-box trained to a certain extent – they have a natural instinct to back up into the nearest corner whenever they feel the urge to go, so if a pan filled with litter pellets is placed in the corner, eventually they will make the connection and go to the bathroom in the litter pan. However if the ferret is feeling lazy, it will often just back up into the closest corner even if there’s no litter pan there. If you want to be safe rather than sorry, you’ll probably end up with litter pans or folded up newspaper in every intersection of two planes in your house, which may or may not clash with the interior design motif of your furniture.

1) Affection. Ferrets are fun, amusing, intelligent, playful, adorable pets. However they’re not the same as dogs and cats. They don’t particularly like being picked up, or pet, or cuddled; they’re not very affectionate, although they do like stealing pieces of your clothing and stashing them in hidden nests throughout the house. Sometimes they seem glad to see you, although they might just be excited for the treats you’re bringing over. If you want unconditional love, you should probably get a dog. If you want a furry lap warmer, you should probably get a cat. If you want a fuzzy ball of energy that’s a whole lot of trouble, and that may or may not love you as much as you love it, but that will do its best to weasel its cute little way into your heart; then maybe a ferret is the right pet for you.