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Dogs on ferries(19 Posts)
What do you do? Use the on board kennels or leave them in the car?
(we have a border terrier and sprocker spaniel)
Depends on the ferry journey
We use ferries monthly and always take the dog up into the dog lounge. He’s nervous on the boat so I’d definitely not leave him in the car
Calmac have a dog area. On the older ferries it's a fenced off area with seating as you need to accompany your dog. On the newer ones it's extra wide seating to allow the dog to stay at your feet
It's a four hour crossing. Fishguard to Rosslare.
We’ve only done it with pet cabins so can’t help with your options, but they’ve been fine with getting out of the car in the car deck which was the bit we were worried about
I have done both stena and Irish ferries crossings to Rosslare with my dog. I have always left him in the kennels as I worry about him being left in a car, especially one full of luggage. The kennels are good on Irish ferries, in a separate room with a closed door on one of the car decks. They are a good size - I always put in his bed or a blanket, water bowl and a treat. He tends to settle and sleep as far as I can tell. The Stena kennels are less pleasant. They are on the car deck, not in a separate room and are chilly as they are close to a huge fan (air con?). The only plus point here is that some of them are covered by a pet cam which you can see from the passenger area.
Our ddog hates car alarms so we’d probably go for a kennel but it depends on your dog! If it wasn’t for that she’d be fine in her crate in the car for four hours. My mum’s dog had canine Valium from the vets!
We left them 4 hours in the car. They give you a pet on board sticker. I thought that might mean they park you sensibly, they don’t. Mine were parked on a steep slope for the crossing. No option to take them on board. I was really annoyed. However, I went to check them a few times and they were always fast asleep so guess they didn’t care too much!!
I'm surprised you were allowed to check them. The car decks are all locked during the crossing on the ferries i have taken. Would be nice to be able to check on them.
It was to the Channel Islands so not sure if the rules are different ?
Stena (at least on the Harwich-Hoek route) allow you to visit your car if your pets are inside it as long as your accompanied by a member of the deck crew. There's a video about taking pets on their website.
We haven't taken the ferry since getting out dog, but she's got her passport, muzzle, etc. ready. We plan on using the kennels as the Dutch crossings are far too long to leave her in the car.
I guess it depends which Stena Line, we use the Birkenhead - Belfast and the kennels are on Deck 5 in a separate warmed room with a water dispenser and bowls and free food if wanted. We have found them good to be honest. I can't say he's overjoyed going in but he seems happy in the morning when collected. You can go and check on them but we don't.
Sorry just realised that you were talking about a specific Stena Line, ignore me
Thanks everyone. If you left them in your car, what did you do about water? Ours always tip water bowls over.
Useful links for travelling with pets on Stena:
Stena (Harwich-Hoek) with pets - www.stenaline.co.uk/ferry-to-holland/plan-your-trip/travelling-with-a-pet
Stena (Rosslaire-Cherbourg) with pets - www.stenaline.co.uk/ferries-to-france/pet-travel
Stena (Iris Sea routes) with pets - www.stenaline.co.uk/faqs/travelling-with-pets/can-i-take-my-pet-to-ireland-or-britain-with-me
We have a Sprocker too so following with interest as we might well be going on the ferry soon!
I've found a waterbowl that clips onto the dog guard (or crate) in the car. The sprocker will probably jump on it and break it but we'll see. I'm sure they'll be fine with a good drink before hand and another drink after the crossing.
We travel to Ireland annually with our dogs (both Stena Fishguard/Rosslare and Irish Ferries Pembroke/Rosslare and also Holyhead/Dublin on occasion) and they have always stayed in the car. We have a large estate car, all luggage goes in a roofbox and we have a dog guard and tailgate guard and an xl non-spill water bowl that clips onto the gate. In summer, if it’s hot, we also use a boot bolt and leave the front windows down a bit to allow air to circulate, but have always found the car is really cool on return.
One of my dogs is terrified of other dogs and has separation anxiety (even injured himself badly trying to escape a kennel at the vets) so using the on-board kennels wouldn’t be an option for him. He is used to going everywhere with me and as a result is calm and relaxed in the car and both dogs are always sleeping calmly when we return to them.
It’s important to note that dogs do need a pet passport to travel to and from the UK/Ireland. There are no official checks like travelling to mainland Europe, but they do do spot checks with officials patrolling the queues before you board and we saw three cars prevented from travelling last summer. I believe most of the checks are in an attempt to stop pups being brought over from puppy farms, but they do knock the window and ask to see your dogs’ passports if they notice them in the car.