6 Tips for Travelling Abroad With Your Pet

Are you about to embark on a foreign adventure with your beloved pooch? Maybe you’re thinking about the practicalities of travelling with your cat? Or quite feasibly, your ferret?


Travelling with your pet is more accessible now than it’s ever been, but you need to heed some advice before you take the plunge and dive in.

Back in the day, taking a pet abroad and bringing them back into the UK meant an extended stay in quarantine: a significant deterrent for most pet lovers. The only option was to use a house or pet sitter.


However, pet passports have made travelling with your pet a genuine possibility – as long as you’re prepared.


Read on for pet travel tips to make trips terrific for every member of the family.

1. Pet Passport

Unfortunately, it’s not just a case of jumping in the car and feeling the wind in your hair (or mane!)


There’s a fair amount of bureaucracy to overcome before pets travel.

The relevant paperwork and up-to-date medical records are an imperative – or your pet could end up in quarantine for four months.

You’ll need:


•  A Pet Passport from DEFRA. This allows you to travel with your pet cat, dog, or ferret.

•  A Vaccination record. Your pet should be vaccinated against rabies, and (for dogs) tapeworm. Your pet passport should confirm the name of the specific vaccination and their expiry dates, journaled by a registered vet. A stamp and a signature is required.

•  A Microchip. The chip must be ISO 11784 compliant, with a 15-digit ID which should be listed on all vaccination certificates. If your pet is tattooed for identification this is acceptable, but the latest rabies vaccination must have been administered after the tattoo.

2. Pet Insurance

One of our top pet travel tips is always to check the small print of your insurance policy to confirm cover, should your pet require treatment while abroad. You may find that your insurance doesn’t cover foreign travel at all.


Ensure that you’re covered for all of the countries you’ll be visiting if you’re crossing borders. Check with DEFRA for updates about travelling around the EU after Brexit; although there are no immediate plans to change the rules.


3. Travel options

Driving is, by far, the most straightforward and least stressful method of travelling with your pet – both for you and for your furry friend. But bear in mind that you’re likely to be on the road for a long time.


We all need to stretch our legs after being cooped up in the car, so make sure you afford the same privilege whenever all pets travel.

Ensure that your pet is comfortable while travelling – surround them with comfy bedding and familiar toys.


If you’re flying, it’s likely that you’ll check your pet into the cargo, unless they’re an assistant or emotional-support animal. You may need to book pet transport services through a pet transport company – they should be DEFRA-authorised.


You should check company policy if you’re travelling by ferry. They may require you to leave your pet in the car for the duration of the trip – make sure you ventilate sufficiently. Alternatively, they may allow you to take your dog on-board, but they’re likely to require a muzzle, which you should supply.

4. Food

Part of the fun of travelling is the opportunity to try new foods, but your pet might not take to a new diet in new surroundings. If you have a fussy eater, you should take enough of their familiar menu to cover the entire trip.


Check the food importation rules of the country you’re planning to visit.

5. Change in climate

Your pet will require time to adjust to a new climate, just as you would. They may need more water than usual. Take a portable water bowl with you while out for walks and make sure they stay well-hydrated.


Equally, they may need to be kept warm in colder climates, so pack in anticipation.

6. Understand local wildlife

We’re relatively spoilt in the UK regarding our relatively safe wild-life. Insects and bugs abroad, however, are a different matter.


Spain, for example, has a particularly dangerous breed of Processionary Pine Caterpillars that could easily injure you and your pet if you’re walking through forests.


Sandflies, centipedes, scorpions, spiders, stinging ants, tapeworms, and ticks could all pose a threat. The best way to protect your pet on holiday is to understand the risks and do your best to avoid them.



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