Our guide to taking your dog abroad
Taking your dog abroad does not have to be difficult. In recent years we have seen a lot of changes which have made the whole process much smoother. However research still needs to be carried out and you need to be aware of the requirements for your chosen country.
Many dog lovers hate leaving their dogs at home or in kennels whilst on holiday, so more and more people are choosing to take their dogs on holiday with them.
People also move abroad and want their beloved pets to go with them. It was not that long ago when dogs had to go through a six month quarantine period when they came back to the UK. This was traumatic for the owner as well as for the dogs. Now it is a lot easier and as long as you follow the rules, you should be fine to travel with your pet abroad.
Below is some advice for taking your dog abroad. However, please also check you have not missed anything by going to the government website https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview
Depending on which country you are going to you will need to ensure you meet the specific rules for that country.
Requirements for Pets returning to the UK
For people taking their dogs on holiday in Europe and returning to the UK you will need to have the following:
- Rabies vaccination
- Pet passport
- Travelling in an authorised carrier on an approved route
- Tapeworm treatment 24 to 120 hours before entry to the UK [must be documented in the passport by a vet]
Upon arrival back to the UK, your pet’s documents will be checked and microchip scanned. If you do not have all the necessary documentation, your pet could be put into quarantine or even sent back to the country you came from.
If you are travelling from an unlisted country, please click here for more information.
Years ago the requirements to obtain a pet passports were a lot more complicated, but in 2012 they were changed which has made things a lot easier. Pet passports are only issued by authorised vets in the UK. You need to look for a vet who is an OV (Official Veterinarian) for small animal export, as they need this apointment to issue the pet passport. Here at Dragon vets, we have one OV that can issue passports. You do need to bring along your current vaccination records with you to the appointment.
If you are looking to leave the UK, section I-IV of the passport needs to be completed and section V if you are taking your pet to an unlisted country (In this case a blood test will also be required).
Passports are valid for entry or re-entry to the UK 21 days after your pet was vaccinated against rabies. After 21 days if your pet’s vaccinations have been kept up to date, then the passport can be used to travel or return to the UK. The passport will only remain valid if the pet is re-vaccinated within the “valid until” date in section IV.
Essentials to pack for your trip
- Plenty of water and a bowl
- Blankets & bedding
- Lead and collar
- Identity tag
- Grooming tools
Travelling by plane
When taking your dog abroad by plane, you need to be aware of the rules of the chosen airline. You will need to buy an appropriate pet travel container/crate.
Ensure your dog has plenty of water for during the flight. Unless you have a registered assistance dog they will need to be put in the hold. You can find out more information on the specific rules for the transport of animals on the airlines website.
There are many companies that will help with the arrangements for transporting pets abroad. Search on online for approved compaies.
Travelling by ferry
Again different ferry companies have different rules. Contact the ferry company so that you can prepare accordingly. When taking your dog by ferry it is important to also consider the following:
- The dog’s comfort
- Try not to travel on a hot day where possible
- On quite a lot of short-distance ferries, they request that the dog has to stay in the car. Some also do not allow people to go to their cars during the journey to check on their dog. Therefore ensure they are in a well ventilated, cool area and have access to plenty of water.
Travelling by car
- Plan your journey in order for your dog to have plenty of breaks for toilet and exercise.
- Ensure they are secure with a harness, seat belt restraint or pet carrier
- Make sure they have plenty of water
- Don’t leave your dog alone in the car especially in warm or hot weather
- Ensure the car is well ventilated
- Don’t feed them just before or after a journey and try to wait around two hours either side.
We have no idea if Brexit will change any of the above so it is worth keeping up to date by looking at the official government website https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview before you travel.
Finally, if you would like more information on taking your pet abroad or have any other questions? Please book an appointment you will find all our details on our contact us page.