One of the best parts of the summer season is undoubtedly the holiday period that comes with it. However, holidays may be challenging for pet parents as there are a number of considerations to keep in mind. There is a certain amount of planning required whether you plan to travel with your pet or whether you plan to leave them in someone else’s care. If you belong to the party who enjoys travelling with your pets, read this blog for some tips and tricks on how to travel safely with your pet.

The rules for travelling with pets in the EU

Travelling within the EU and to the EU (i.e. 27 EU countries + Norway and Northern Ireland) with your pets is relatively easy, especially if you own a cat, dog or ferret. To travel to or within the EU, your pet needs to:

  • Have been micro-chipped or have a clearly readable tattoo if applied before 3 July 2011,
  • Have been vaccinated against rabies,
  • Have had treatment against the Echinococcus multilocularis, where your destination area is free from this tapeworm (Finland, Ireland, Malta, Norway and Northern Ireland),
  • Have a valid European pet passport when travelling within the EU. This document contains a description and details of your pet, vaccination records and contact details of the owner and the vet who issued the document.
  • Have an EU animal health certificate when travelling to the EU if you do not reside in a Member State. This document contains specific information about your pet including identity, health, and rabies vaccination.

Travelling by car

There are several ways to ensure safe travel with your pet by car. While dogs may like to move about in the car, the safest way for them to travel by car is in a crate that has been fastened to the vehicle with a seat belt. Similarly, cats should also not be allowed to move freely around the car and, therefore, they should stay in a carrier while travelling. Furthermore, remember not to leave your pets alone in the car, especially during hot weather as high temperatures could be fatal for them.

Travelling by airplane

Travelling by airplane is a more challenging option for your furry friend. However, if transporting your pet by air is your only option, the safest way for your pet to travel would be in the cabin with you. If this option is not possible, here’s a few tips for having your pet travel in the cargo of the plane:

  • Use direct flights to avoid any mistakes or mix ups during airline transfer.
  • Ask the airline if you can watch your pet being loaded into the cargo hold and unloaded.
  • When you board the plane, notify the captain and at least one flight attendant that your pet is travelling in the cargo hold.
  • Don’t ever ship brachycephalic animals such as Pekingese dogs, bulldogs or Persian cats in the cargo holds.
  • Fit your pet with a collar that can’t get caught in carrier doors and affix a travel label to the carrier with your contact details.
  • Do not feed your pet for four to six hours before the trip.

Travelling by ship or train

Travelling by ship within or to the EU with your pet is relatively easy as there are many pet-friendly ferry companies around the continent. When boarding the ferry with your furry friend, make sure to arrive in advance in case authorities need to check the documents for your pet. Furthermore, if you are travelling with a dog, they may be required to stay in a ship kennel. For more info on pet-friendly ferry companies from the UK to the EU, click here, and for more info on those within the EU, click here.

Similarly, travelling by train with your pet in the EU is relatively easy. Generally, small pets are allowed to travel on European trains for free while bigger pets need to be muzzled and kept on a leash and can usually travel for a reduced rate. More information on specific EU countries and the UK can be found here and here.