Travelling abroad with pets

For many of us, the thought of leaving our pets at home whilst we enjoy a holiday abroad is just too much – after all, what’s the point having a family holiday without a member of the family?! With careful planning it’s perfectly possible to take pets abroad with you in your car, motorhome or caravan (and even by plane, train or ferry) and so this time we’re looking at the practicalities and legalities of holidaying abroad with your pets.

Assistance dogs

It is permissible to take cats and dogs abroad by plane, and all the airlines have specific information on their procedures and requirements online – but do check these well in advance of your trip. Assistance dogs are allowed to travel free of charge with their carers in the cabin (regardless of the class of your ticket).
There’s lots of useful information on how to prepare for your flight, and what to expect, here.

Travelling abroad with pets pinterest

Pet Travel Scheme

Regardless of the mode of transport used, cats, dogs, rabbits, rodents and ferrets returning to the UK must adhere to the requirements of Defra’s Pet Travel Scheme. All the latest details regarding the Pet Travel Scheme can be found here  – the key points are:

  •  The animal must have been microchipped
  • A valid pet passport or third-country official veterinary certificate must be provided
  • All recommended vaccinations must be up to date, and must have been administered at least 21 days prior to travelling
  • The pet must be vaccinated against rabies – he / she will also need a blood test if you’re travelling from an ‘unlisted country’ (the current list of permitted countries can be found online)
  • Dogs must also usually have a tapeworm treatment
  • Your pet may be put into quarantine for up to four months at your own cost if you don’t follow these rules – or he / she may be refused entry if you travelled by sea

If you’d like more detailed advice, you can contact the Pet Travel Scheme helpline on:

  • pettravel@apha.gsi.gov.uk
  • 0370 241 1710 – Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (closed on bank holidays)

Practical tips to keep pets happy as they travel

  •  If your pet is a nervous traveller, speak to your veterinary practice in advance of your trip and they will be able to recommend techniques and products that might help, such as pheromone sprays and collars.
  •  On the day of travel do take plenty of water for your pet, and make frequent stops so that he or she 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 be hurt, but also the impact of any collision could throw your pet into the other occupants of the car.
  •  Pack plenty of familiar toys and blankets so that your pet can experience the comforting smell of home.
  •  Don’t be tempted to over-do the treats en route – runny tummies are no fun to deal with in a packed car!
  •  To minimise any upset stomachs whilst you’re 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.

And finally – don’t forget to have a fantastic time!

Until next time, best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
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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