Taking a dog on a fishing adventure

photo of a dog If you happen to own a dog, you may feel tempted to bring your furry companion along on your fishing adventure. However, taking your dog with you can be a bit of a challenge, especially when dealing with the legal requirements and practical considerations. Allow me to explain the process.
The first hurdle is of a legal nature. If you plan to travel to Europe with your dog, you'll need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). This bilingual document is only valid for a single trip and can be obtained from specific veterinarians qualified to issue it in the UK. To get the AHC, your pet must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and the AHC should be issued within a specific timeframe before your border crossing. It may seem a bit complicated at first, so it's best to consult your vet, who can guide you on obtaining the AHC and fulfilling the requirements (in addition to the rabies vaccine and a fee of £200).
When crossing the channel, both you and your dog will need to go through animal check-in. This involves getting your AHC stamped, scanning your dog's microchip, and recording the border crossing in a computer system. It's not overly complicated, but it's essential to ensure a smooth journey.
As if that weren't enough, there's more to consider. Before returning to the UK, you'll need to visit a vet in France one to five days prior to your planned departure. The vet will stamp the AHC again and provide your dog with a tablet against tapeworms. It's important to note that not just any tapeworm tablet will do; there are specific requirements outlined in the AHC. With the AHC properly stamped, you'll be able to head back to the UK, once again going through animal check-in at the border. While these hurdles may seem daunting at first, the process becomes more manageable after you've done it once.
Assuming you haven't been discouraged by the bureaucratic procedures, there are a couple of important considerations when taking a dog fishing. Firstly, while most dogs can swim, it's strongly recommended to get your dog a flotation aid or vest if you plan on boating together. These vests have handles that make it easier to get your dog back into the boat should they decide to jump out for any reason.
Additionally, it's crucial to consider your dog's comfort around boats. If your dog is timid or afraid of boats, some preparation might be needed. You can gradually introduce them to the concept by keeping an inflated fishing boat somewhere in your house and enticing them to jump in with treats (I kept mine in the living room, the wife was not happy!). This training can prove invaluable when you actually take them on a boat.
Lastly, remember that bringing your dog along means more responsibilities. You'll need to plan for extra workload, as you'll have to reel in the rods when it's time to walk your dog. You'll also need to provide for their basic needs, such as feeding, watering, and keeping them dry and warm during the trip.
Despite the additional work involved, many dog owners find the companionship of their furry friends enriching during fishing adventures. Sharing these experiences with your beloved pet can be a refreshing break from the monotony of their daily life, making it all worthwhile in the end.