How to Travel Abroad with your Pets


Whether your pet is joining you and your family on your summer holiday in Spain or you are moving abroad and can’t bear to leave your beloved pooch behind – there are a few things you need to consider before you travel. These are not just for the welfare of your pet, but to ensure that they are legally able to travel and that your escape to the sun isn’t ruined by finding out, that perhaps without even realising it, your pet is there illegally.

Here are the basics, but the rules for pets travelling are different for different countries so it is very important to read the most up-to-date information for your destination.

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The legal side:

It is very important to ensure your pet is legally transported and has completed all the requirements so that they are legally able to enter a different country.

No one is exempt from the legal aspects of taking your pet abroad – even Oscar-nominated actor Johnny Depp was threatened with a lengthy sentence earlier this year when he flew to Australia with his dogs to film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, on a private jet. He failed to declare them and therefore broke the country’s quarantine laws.

Entering and returning to the UK:

You can enter or return to the UK with your pet cat or dog without quarantine if you follow certain rules. These rules are the same for other EU countries.

For traveling within the EU and from certain other approved countries into the UK, dogs and cats can travel as part of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). To qualify for travel between EU countries and return to the UK, there are a few requirements that you pet must adhere to before they travel.

Your pet must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies (and kept fully up-to-date with boosters), the date of the initial rabies vaccination must be at least 3 weeks before travel, have a pet passport issued by your veterinary surgeon, plus certain other basic conditions also need to be met as travel must be via an approved route with an approved carrier.

Travel from unlisted countries outside the EU:

You must check the individual country rules if you travel with your pet to a non-EU country as these can be different to EU pet travel rules. When you enter or return to the UK from an unlisted country you must meet the EU entry requirements.

Take care of your pet:

Make sure your pet is as fit and healthy as possible when you travel, give them a light meal about 2 hours before travel, allow them to go to the toilet before they go in the carrying container and let them try out this container before the trip.

Ensure they are comfortable:

Travelling to another country for your animal, can be far from the exciting experience it is for you – it can be extremely stressful and unnerving.

Although you can’t prevent them from feeling scared, there are things you can do to ensure they feel as safe and comfortable as possible to make the journey a little bit easier. Their container should be well-ventilated, roomy enough for them to move around and have enough food and water for the trip with easily refillable containers for a long journey. Also, put a familiar smelling cushion or blanket in to help your pet settle.

If you don’t have a pet and this has inspired you to start searching the puppies or kittens for sale from Freeads – just remember, a pet is for life not just to take on holiday!

NB: This is a collaborative post.

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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