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Old 21-06-2009, 22:11   #1
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Circumnavigating with a Dog ?

Is there anyone out there with experience of extended world cruising with a dog on board?

The vast majority of information I can find suggests that arriving in a foreign port with a dog requires one to jump through numerous hoops; provided endless documentation and wait out a quarantine period - and that's IF you're permitted to take the dog ashore, many countries seem to refuse entry full stop!

Is it really so difficult to include ones extra family member in cruising plans?

Has anyone tried to take their dog with them on a trip such as this? or are the obstacles simply too great?
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Old 21-06-2009, 22:37   #2
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What size/breed is your dog, sometimes that makes a difference.
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Old 22-06-2009, 00:10   #3
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There was another thread about this issue, I don't remember all that I know about this. There was mention made of some kind of certificate of health that you can obtain in your country, that will help smooth the way, I believe in most cases will alleviate the need for quarantine. Not unlike your own shot card.
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Old 22-06-2009, 03:59   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodbrook View Post
... extended world cruising with a dog on board ...
Will your dog relieve itself aboard?
If not, the dog’s daily trip ashore will limit you to island hopping.
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Old 22-06-2009, 05:55   #5
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Yes, and many of the countries you visit will not allow you to bring your dog ashore for any reason. I was talking with a cruiser down in Bequia who told me a customs officer threatened to shoot his dog on the spot if he brought him ashore again.
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Old 22-06-2009, 08:36   #6
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Hi Woodbrook- We've only made it a few thousand miles to Mexico, so far. We left Washington State with our faithful 4-legged family member, Buddy aboard. He was a great cruising dog, loves swimming (like all labs??) and frolicing on the beaches. He was great in getting us off the boat to walk and run on beaches.

Buddy was well equipped for cruising. We found that 'Ruffwear' makes the best lifejacket we've seen, as well as a harness for rides ashore and for his 'tether' offshore. We made sure he had his 'International Health Certificate', his own first-aid and drug kit, including 'happy pills' to take the edge off when it got a bit rough and he was getting really nervous (used rarely).

That said, we sadly adopted him out to another family before we head across the Pacific. We spent a lot of time contemplating what was fair to him. I'm sure he would cope with the extended passages. But what happens when we arrive at islands where he is prohibited from going ashore?? Not fair to him to remain on board in sight of land and beaches. I'm sure that some will 'smuggle' their pets ashore. The quarantines are for reason. We didn't want to bring diseases to the shores of our hosts, and especially didn't want Buddy to contract a sickness in which he had no immunity.

Then there's the selfish side. We want to travel inland and see sights. Not so easy with a dog... even though we might be able to board him for those trips.

We evaluated just about every option, from dealing with the quarantines to avoiding locations where dogs can't come ashore. In all, we felt it was best for him to remain with a family in the US. In our case, a family waited a year to adopt him. It's been said that 'in two-weeks, dogs move on', meaning that they'll adjust easily and more quickly than us to a new home and family.

Should you decide to take your dog, check out the harness and lifejacket at www.ruffwear.com If 'going' on the deck is a problem, there is a book titled "you can teach your dog to eliminate on command", available from Amazon. We got him ID tags that indicated that he lived on a boat, with the boat name. I'm sure ure you've already checked Noonsite with regards to pets at your intended destinations.

And for shameless self-promotion, Buddy's sailing page is here: Buddy's Page

Best of luck...
Steve
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Old 22-06-2009, 11:14   #7
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I think it depends on the dog. If your dog knows what he is doing then let him go for it! It does help to have an opposable thumb to use a divider though.
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Old 22-06-2009, 12:34   #8
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Thank you all for your input.

Our dog is a Doberman Pinscher and doesn't have any problems relieving himself on board - he is exceptionally well trained - so it's only really exercise that becomes an issue; he does need to let off steam! I guess he'd have to be happy with a swim on the longer passages and we'll make it up to him when we reach our destination.

The International Health Certificate seems like it could help out with some of the red-tape. We would be able to make the necessary arrangements prior to arriving in port; it's just one more thing to plan for. I guess the real obstacles are those places where bringing the dog ashore is out of the question. I agree Steve; it would not be fair to leave him on the boat in sight of land while we're away enjoying ourselves! So that means we either have to make the decision to not visit those places or not bring our dog with us on the trip
The more I think about it I'm sure my head knows the correct thing to do; now I have to convince my heart (and then my wife and child!)
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Old 22-06-2009, 14:48   #9
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Woodbrook,

If you Google "Pet Passport" you'll find a lot of info, at least about a fairly significant portion of the Globe.
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Old 22-06-2009, 20:02   #10
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$.02....a Doberman on a boat is unfair to the dog.
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Old 22-06-2009, 23:05   #11
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We traveled with 2 dogs, a cat, 250 lbs of dog chow and 40 lbs of kitty litter. One a golden retriever collie mix weighed 110 lbs, the other was a german shephard who was a drop out from a police academy. Each dog had their own seat in the cockpit.
It was a problem checking in as a lot of countries wanted all the paper work done prior to arrival such as Belize though they are fairly lenient about it
Some countries such as Grand Cayman refuse entry to all animals that have visited most of the central american countries or Cuba. They also demand a whole pile of paperwork (blood tests, etc).
A lot do not care as long as you have a rabies vacination certificate.
We eventually found there was a simple guidline; 1.If they don't ask don't tell and 2. it is better to err and then beg forgivness.
Should customs come on board for an inspection the official either admired the dogs or a "fine" was levied on the spot.
One good thing about having a dog was there never was a security issue. The other good thing was other boats were discouraged from anchoring on top of us.
Both our dogs passed away. One was struck on the head by a coconut, the other from a broken heart. The cat is doing fine at the father inlaws after a near drowning.
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Old 22-06-2009, 23:35   #12
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Mesquaukee, I'm so sorry to read about the loss of your two pals. A lot of people might scoff at the notion of a dog dieing of a broken heart, but not me. It absolutely can, and does, happen. Thanks for posting about your dogs (oh yeah, and the cat, too ).

In your experience, was it primarily former British protectorates that adhered most stringently to bureaucratic red tape? I've read that during the height of the British Empire, when the sun ne'er set on same, rabies was a common problem. Because the British had the power, and the will, to attempt to control the spread of rabies, they instituted some draconian measures to discourage the free movement of potential carriers of the virus.

As with so much seemingly mindless bureaucracy, once a rule is set in place it never goes away, even if the facts underlying the policy change. And many a burearcrat, if he/she had to try and answer the question "Why are you doing this?" would merely shrug the shoulders and acknowledge that's just the way it's always been done (anything that pre-dates the bureaucrat's employment qualifying as "always.")

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Old 23-06-2009, 01:31   #13
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Thanks for the understanding. At the time we felt terrible, both dogs were loved by us. They were great companions. One of them Isabelle (the 110 lbs dog) loved jumping off the boat to swim with the dolphins. She had attitude. The dolphins loved driving her nuts.
The former British protectorates I visited followed the rules without thought or reason. They would enforce the rules without knowing the reasons behind them. In Grand Cayman if you didn't call the port captain within 30 minutes of entering their waters you were fined and possibly searched. One 50 ft boat was seized due to this. During the legal wrangling the boat ended up sinking during Hurricane Ivan. The hatches were left open. Now all of a sudden the owner could have his boat back.
In Cuba (at the smaller entry ports) all the officials, crisply dressed in uniforms, come all at the same time to your boat. They politely ask to be granted permission to come aboard. Then they take their shoes off and within 15 minutes everything is done in a polite courteous manner. Then they change into their regular clothes and you spend the rest of the day playing dominoes with them.
Most of the officials in Latin American countries were enjoyable to deal with. It could take a lot of time but they were usually flexible and helpful. Trying a few words of Spanish always made things go smoother. Repeating the same words louder and louder in English had a markedly negative impact on the process.
It took us 2 weeks once to track down and visit all the officials we needed to see in one place, by the time we cleared in we left. They were all either busy with a family problem, running a business on the side or had decided to take the day off. My wife after 2 frustrating weeks pinned one official against a wall till he agreed to do the paperwork that day. He seemed to enjoy it.
The San Blass Islands once upon a time didn't seem to care if you didn't check in. The officials were so relaxed I fell asleep once waiting for them to find some usable carbon paper, the typewriter and the appropriate forms. They never did give me a cruising permit, they couldn’t find a blank one. One boat stayed there for 7 years without clearing in.
In Columbia just after you anchor a guy looking like a used car salesman is rowed out to your boat in a decrepit dingy to pickup your passports and boat papers. A day later your papers are back all without seeing one official.
You can even arrange for a nominal fee to have your passport visit another country for a day or two to obtain a new visa.
A lot of that has been changing or so I hear. More and more rules and ever increasing fees. I think they have been learning from us. I believe Globalisation has not been good to cruisers.
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Old 29-06-2012, 02:48   #14
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Re: Circumnavigating with a Dog?

I been hoping to see some more inputs in this post but no luck until now.
We are planning a circumnavigation. Two adults, one child and one dog (French Bulldog). It's out of question to leave our dog or give it up for adoption. He came to our family before our children...would you give up your children just because it's more convenient?
If we can't visit some countries with him, well we will make it shorter and move on to another where he can land.
He's not yet used to relieve in the boat because we only been day sailing until now. However, i believe that in a 40ft motor sailor or sailing boat he will get use to it.
Our plan is to sail from Asia to Africa, Europe and then South America and return to Asia (we are based in Asia).
Most of the countries we plan to stop have some kind of restrictions on animal but we will do it with for sure.
If anyone have any more experiences to share, in other areas of the globe, please post.
We will keep you guys informed and will share our website as soon as it's up and running
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Old 29-06-2012, 09:57   #15
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Re: Circumnavigating with a Dog?

g, you really want to check Noonsite.com for current animal control regulations. Then contact EACH COUNTRY that you plan to stop at, preferably in writing, to find out the regulations FOR SURE and to ask if there are any upcoming changes they may be aware of, i.e. after January 1st.

If you do not meet regulations, you may find your dog confiscated and quarantined for many months. Or worse, put down.
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