Dogs are a part of our family, so of course we want to take them with us on holiday! For a long time, taking your dog overseas for a holiday was unthinkable, as strict quarantine regulations applied. But since these regulations were relaxed, thousands of dogs (cats and ferrets) have been joining their pet parents on adventures around the UK and Europe.

Passports please

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows pet dogs to enter the UK and travel to other European countries without quarantine as long as they comply with certain regulations:

  • Dogs must be microchipped.
  • They must be vaccinated against Rabies (the earliest age this can be done is 12 weeks old) by an “Official Vet Inspector” vet. These vets have extra import and export training and certification. Ask your local vet practice if one of their vets is an OVI before making an appointment.
  • Dogs then have to wait a statutory 21 days after their first Rabies vaccination before travelling. There is no waiting period for subsequent Rabies vaccines, provided it is administered before the valid date on their passport.
  • After their microchip and Rabies vaccines has been given, your vet can issue their EU Pet Passport!
  • Before returning to the UK your dog must be treated for tapeworm. This must be given by a vet no less than 1 day and no more than 5 days before their arrival and their passport signed and stamped. No tapeworm treatment is required for dogs entering the UK from Finland, Ireland or Malta.
  • Currently a Rabies blood test is not required if you are entering the UK from EU. Please check before you travel, as this may change.

Travel certificate.

Check if the airline or ferry you’re travelling with will accept your dog and if they need a letter from your vet stating they are healthy and fit to travel.

Pet holiday insurance

Contact your pet insurance provider as some policies include overseas travel whereas others will require you to add in an extra clause to cover the trip.

Biting bugs

Ask your vet about protection against diseases not typically found in Britain. E.g. Leishmania or parasites transmitted by ticks, sandfly and heartworm.

Home comforts

If you know your pet gets particularly nervous when travelling or in unfamiliar environments, bring some home comforts such as their favourite blanket or toy and talk to your vet about calming treatments before you travel.

Buckle up

Whenever travelling with your pet in your by plane, boat or car it is always a good idea to ensure they have a harness or pet carrier for security.

Hot dogs

Some people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still very dangerous. A car can become very hot very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22 degrees outside, a car can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within an hour.

Stay hydrated

Make sure you pack a water bottle and pop-up bowl so your four-legged friend has access to plenty of drinking water. It’s thirsty work going on holiday!

Are we nearly there yet?!

Plan to make plenty of stops along the way. Your dog’s nerves could get the better of them so always have an emergency kit handy in case of any toilet accidents. This should include paper towels, pet wet wipes and poo bags.

Chicken or Beef?

If you have a long journey ahead of you give your pet a light meal before you go and remember to pack small snacks for them. Dogs can get Deli Belly too, and are sensitive to diet changes so make sure you pack plenty of their usual food.

For full travel regulations, speak to your local OVI vet or read the advice guide. You can also read a wonderful blog of one pet parents first hand experience of their adventures throughout Europe with their dog Schlumpf here.

Warm woofs and wishes,

Dr Ciara