For pet owners, the issue of what to do with a dog or cat is often a spanner in the works when it comes to planning a holiday. Many don’t like leaving their furry friend for too long, and even then it’s about finding a friend or relative to take over care duties while they’re away or sending the animal to a kennel or cattery. However, recent legislation changes have made it easier than ever to take your pet abroad with you.
Previously, any pet returning to the UK would have to go through a six-week period of quarantine to ensure dangerous diseases such as rabies were not being brought into the country. However, the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme has changed that; now cats and dogs can travel with their owners provided certain conditions are met. This includes getting a European Pet Passport and a certificate from a vet confirming all vaccinations have been received. You can find out more about the Pet Travel Scheme here, but once you have this there are a few other things to organise before you and your pet set off.
You’ll need a good carry cage for your pet, as loose dogs or cats may not be allowed on trains and are certainly not a good idea in cars, where they can impair the driver. Make sure this cage has enough space for the animal to turn around freely and stand, so if cooped up for long periods they can still move a little, and is strong enough to hold them. Along with the carry cage, you’ll need a water bowl and food, as well as treats and toys which might keep the pet entertained or calm them down during the trip. Remember that it may not be convenient to pull over and let your pet relieve themselves in the normal fashion, and restless pets are more prone to accidents, so you’ll also need to line the cage effectively and be prepared to clean up quickly where necessary.
Pets that are used to travelling in cars may not have a problem with a long journey, but for those not so used to it the situation can be scary, leading to agitated and nervous behaviour. To try an mitigate against this, in the build-up to the trip you should take your pet on a series of short journeys in the travel cage, so the experience is more familiar when the time for a longer trip comes.
Lastly, don’t forget the importance of pet travel insurance; vet bills incurred overseas can be significant, so make sure your existing policy has overseas cover, or take out a separate agreement.