Travelling with your pets abroad

With the school holidays already underway for many, families up and down the country will be packing their cases for the annual escape to the sun. (Of course, if you haven’t got school age children, there is no way you will be panning to travel now, when all the tickets and hotel rooms have doubled in price!)

If you are travelling to Europe and are planning to take your dog, cat or ferret with you, you are probably already aware of the requirement for a ‘pet passport’. Interestingly there are no restrictions on bringing pet rodents, rabbits, birds, ornamental fish, invertebrates, amphibians and reptiles to the UK from other EU countries.

If your pet is going to be joining you on your European holidays, here’s a quick reminder about the legal stuff:

  • It’s always advisable to check the specific entry requirements of the country you are travelling to
  • The UK’s entry requirements (thus taking effect when you return to the UK) are currently as follows. Your pet must have a:
    • Microchip (implanted before the rabies vaccination is given)
    • Rabies vaccination (pets must be at least 12 weeks old and the injection must be give at least 21 days before travel)
    • Pet passport, issued by a qualified vet not more than five days before you left the UK
    • Tapeworm treatment (dogs only, and given between 1 and 5 days before your return date. This is not required for trips to Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway)
    • No more than five pets can travel

The rules for assistance dogs are the same, although these special animals are permitted to travel in the cabin of an aircraft with their owner
Failure to meet these conditions will result in your pet being placed in quarantine, the costs of which will fall to you

It’s best to check for any changes to advice or updates from the government before you travel; CLICK HERE for all the latest information on travelling abroad with your pets. You can also contact the Pet Travel Scheme helpline on:

  • Telephone: 0370 241 1710 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, closed on bank holidays)

Travelling with your pets

Especially where cats are concerned, it can be good to get your cat accustomed to their carrier over a period of days (or weeks) beforehand so it is a familiar and comfortable environment for them during travel. For example, keep the carrier out around the home, encourage them to go in while you pet and play with them, offer rewards in the carrier, and so on.

On the day of travel itself, remember to take plenty of water for your pet, and make frequent stops so that dogs and ferrets can exercise on a lead and take toilet breaks. Pets should always be safely restrained in your vehicle whilst on the move – pets distracting the driver can easily cause accidents, and in the event of any such accident, not only can the animal him/herself be hurt, but also the impact of any collision could throw your pet into the other occupants of the car.

You might find the following products useful when travelling with pets:

Car restraint, £1.99
Foldable water bowl, £2.00
Feliway calming spray, £14.99

Finally, in order to minimise any upset stomachs whilst your pet is away, we recommend taking plenty of your pet’s usual food with you. Suddenly switching to a different product is never ideal, least of all in strange surroundings and in (hopefully) hotter temperatures.

Happy holidays!

Until next time very best wishes,

The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.

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