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When travelling with your pet, whether you’re planning UK travel, travel abroad or a permanent relocation, there are several things that you must consider and plan for before making the journey. Not only do you need to consider the length of your trip and how your pet will manage being in unfamiliar surroundings, but you also need to think about the government and airline regulations when it comes to pet travel rules.

If you’re travelling by car, consider a dog car crate or dog car carrier, this will help to ensure that your pet is secured and safe whilst driving to your location.

Just like humans have done recently, pets often need a vaccine for travelling. When travelling abroad from UK, many countries require your pet to have proof of all up their vaccinations being up to date, including a Rabies vaccination.

Most commonly, if you wish to take your pet to another European country, this is possible
if:

  • Your pet has been microchipped, and the details are up to date
  • Your pet has been vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel – if they are due for a booster, they must get this or they will not be permitted to travel
  • They have a valid pet passport*/Animal Health Certificate (AHC)/Export Health Certificate (EHC) (fit to fly documentation from your vet)
  • They have been treated against tapeworm if travelling to Norway, Malta, Finland, Ireland, or Northern Ireland. This must be given at least 24 hours before you reach you travel destination, but no more than 5 days before.

*Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, pet passports are no long issued for travel to an EU country or to Northern Ireland. If your pet passport was previously issued in England, Scotland, or Wales, then you will need to get an Animal Health Certificate from your vet instead. However, if your pet passport was issued in a different EU country, they may still be valid. Please check with your vet if you’re unsure whether your travel documents are valid.

An Animal Healthcare Certificate includes details of both the pet, such as their microchip number, and of the pet owner. It will include the proof of your pet’s rabies vaccination status and the country that you’re travelling to. Please book your appointment in advance to ensure availability, but ensure it is no more than 10 days before you set off on holiday or the certificate will not be valid. You’ll need to get a new Animal Healthcare Certificate each time you travel and from a licenced vet.

If you’re travelling outside of the EU with your pet, you will require an Export Health Certificate (EHC). You must apply online through the Government website here as this is an official government document to prove that your animal meets the health and safety requirements of your destination country. You will then need visit your vet to carry out the necessary checks to confirm that your pet meets the requirements, and you must take your EHC for your vet to sign. This will then confirm that your pet is fit to travel outside of EU countries.

Whilst you’re away, you will also need to consider the possibility that they may need veterinary care whilst you are abroad. Research local vets and emergency animal hospitals close to where you are staying and save their details. It is much better to prepare and plan just in case something happens, than to have to locate help during an emergency where you may not be as calm. For European countries, you can use the ECVS directory to help you find a vet if required.

You will need to check your pet insurance policy if you’re taking your pet outside of the UK as it may not be valid overseas. If your policy documentation does not detail the validity of your insurance overseas, then give your insurance company a call to find out what will be included during overseas travel.

If you discover that your pet isn’t covered overseas, you may be able to pay an additional fee to have them temporarily covered for your trip, or you can take out an additional policy if required.

We recommend that you take clear and current photos of your pet on your phone so that if they go missing whilst you’re abroad, you have photos to help with searching and identifying them. You should also pack an extra lead, collar and harness if your pet uses one. This way if the one you’re using becomes lost or damage, you have a backup set ready to keep your pet safe.

Tips for Travelling with your Pet:

  • If your pet isn’t used to travelling, we recommend that you take them on a train or in the car to help them deal with travel anxiety before the big trip.
  • If your pet needs a specific type of food or medication, pack enough for the duration of the holiday and some extras just in case your trip is extended unexpectedly.
  • Bring along some toys and treats to keep them entertained during the journey
  • If your pet suffers with motion sickness, try not to feed them for 4-6 hours before the journey and keep a window open when it is safe to do so to allow fresh air into
    the car.
  • You can ask our vets for any further recommendations or if you have any specific
    worries when travelling

Alternatives to travelling with a dog, cat or other small pet:

Pet boarding kennels

If it is not possible to travel with your pet, and your pet is fully vaccinated and up to date with their boosters, you may be able to arrange for them to stay at a boarding kennels or cattery for the duration of your trip. By researching local, quality pet boarding facilities, you can ensure your pet is looked after whilst you are away.

Asking a trusted friend to take care of them

If you are going for a short trip and you have a trusted friends who is experienced in caring for animals, maybe you could ask if they would be able to pet-sit for you. If your pet is familiar with your friend, they may feel more at ease than they would in a kennel environment.

You can call your airline to check for their specific regulations regarding pet travel. They tend to have different rules for service dogs, emotional support dogs and pets.

Please check the government website for Gov UK travel abroad rules and restrictions based on animal and destination country.

To make sure that your pet can travel with you, you should speak to your vet for up-to-date advice and certifications.

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