Taking Fido on your dream holiday to Greece is most definitely feasible. If you already know of the joys and difficulties of travelling with a dog, you are one step ahead. Here is the lowdown on Greek island hopping with your four-legged friend.
All in order
Sorting out the paperwork is the first thing to think about. The standard requirements for bringing a pet into Greece are that your pet must be micro chipped and registered, and must have had a rabies vaccination within the last 12 months, but more than 30 days ago. The microchip must be ISO 11784/11785-compliant.
It is generally easier if you come from an EU country. As an EU national, you can freely travel with your dog if it has a European pet passport, which you can get from any vet.
If you are traveling with pets in Greece from outside the EU, other conditions may apply and more documentation is needed. The Greek Embassy in your country of residence will be able to give you an update on the exact requirements.
If your pet transits through a high-rabies country, then a Transit Declaration will be required stating that your dog remained within the airplane or airport and that they had no contact with rabies-carrying animals.
Getting there and around
Pets should enter Greece directly or transit through another EU Member State. Flying into Greece from non-EU countries with a pet requires that you do so at Border Inspection Posts at international airports in either Athens or Thessaloniki. The following Greek Island airports also allow entry of accompanied pets: Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Mitilini, Mirina (Limnos), Chios, Ermoupolis (Syros), Crete (Iraklio and Chania) and Corfu.
All dogs must be free of disease when examined at the port of entry to Greece. If your dog is not well, further examination by an authorized veterinarian may be required, at your expense.
Pets can enter Greece in the cabin, either as air cargo or checked baggage. Island hooping in Greece is easy as the Greek ferries allow pets to travel on deck as long as they are on a leash, under full responsibility of the owner. For larger breeds and longer trips, most Greek ferries have specially-designed pet cabins or kennels.
If you are entering Greece by international ferry from Italy the same applies. Arrangements for taking your pet on the ferry should be made at the time of booking your tickets. Facilities vary according to the Ferry Line.
Local Animal Etiquette
Greeks are mostly tolerant of dogs, and pet ownership and awareness of animal rights are on the increase. Having said that, the older generation and those with young kids may feel uncomfortable around dogs. Care should be taken not to offend the locals. Always ask if you can bring your dog into the café or tavern. Never give your dog plates from the table to eat off and make sure those sitting near you are ok with a dog in a restaurant. In outdoor places, there is usually no problem, but your dog may not be accepted in indoor restaurants for sanitary reasons
By law in Greece, dogs are allowed in every outdoor public space as long as they are accompanied on a leash, with their health documents, or pet passport, available.
Many Greek hotels do accept pets, but this should be checked beforehand. Some city or boutique hotels, do not allow pets on their premises. There are some pet-friendly hotels in Greece that have specially designed rooms for pet owners and usually have facilities for pets and direct access to a garden or yard.
It goes without saying that you should always clean up after your tyke.
Beach bumming with Buddy
Greek law states that dog owners are allowed to take their pet to any beach in Greece as long as the rules are respected. Waldo will go wild for the Greek beaches, especially if he is a swimmer! With the extremely high temperatures in summer in Greece, it is important to keep your dog cool and comfortable. Dehydration can be avoided by always having water with you, for you and your pooch. There are some fantastic collapsible silicon bowls available that fit in a bag or dangle on the lead. Seek out shade and watch for signs of over-heating (uncontrolled panting, lethargy, vomiting, rapid pulse)
One of the best doggie activities to enjoy with your dog is swimming. Dogs are allowed to swim in the sea in Greece, but you should be respectful of other swimmers and choose more secluded beaches. Luckily in Greece if you are prepared to walk a little, such beaches can always be found. Other dog owners tend to congregate at these beaches and you may even make some friends. Take care with water in the ears. Ear infections should be treated immediately by a vet. If they shake their head a lot, scratch their ears and seem uncomfortable, they could have an ear infection.
Summer in Greece is glorious, but insect bites and stings are common. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and also gnats (sand flies) will buzz around your dog. Some bites lead to infection and can cause inflammation. Some are carriers of diseases which can be fatal. Mosquitoes and gnats can be carriers of two deadly diseases: heartworm (dirofilariasis) and kala-azar (leishmaniosis) respectively. Travelling in Greece increases the chances of exposure to these two serious diseases. Ensuring that your dog is well protected against bug bites will keep them safe from these buzzing bearers of illness.
With paperwork done, pet-friendly travel and accommodation booked and some good bug spray – you and your canine companion and ready to enjoy a summer holiday in Greece!