‘Bonnes Vacances’ Taking Your Pet On Holiday.

In February 2000 British law changed, meaning that dogs and cats travelling with their owners could enter the UK from most European countries without the need for 6 months quarantine, as was previously required. Since then the regulations surrounding the PETS travel scheme have changed and gradually relaxed, meaning that more pets than ever now accompany their owners on holiday to Europe.

If you are thinking you might like to take your dog or cat on holiday abroad with you this year, there a few things to keep in mind (these points all apply to travel within EU listed countries, travel further afield can be more complex).

Firstly -The Technical Requirements.

  1. Your pet will need a microchip, which is a device the size of a grain of rice implanted beneath the skin, which reads a number when scanned and is a way of identifying your pet.
  1. Your pet will need to be vaccinated against rabies by your vet, for this he or she must be over 12 weeks of age. This must be done by a vet qualified in government work- called an O.V.S. After the vaccine you will need to wait for 21 days before the vaccine is valid, then you can travel with your pet.
  1. Your pet will require his or her own passport; an authorised vet can supply this.
  1. You will need to visit a vet in your destination country, no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours before you re-enter the UK for tapeworm treatment. This ensures no foreign tapeworm eggs are shed in the UK. This treatment must be with a registered product and recorded in your pet’s passport.

Meeting all of these requirements will require some time and planning so taking your pet on holiday after a last minute booking is unlikely to work out.

  Other Things To Consider

Will your dog enjoy the travel and holiday?

Some older pets and, in reality, most cats, will find travel and living temporarily in a new environment unsettling and stressful. Might this be the case for your pet? Would your pet actually be happier left in the UK with a friend or relative?

Think about the climate where you are going.

Might it be very hot? Could your pet be at risk of sunstroke? You might need to get up early to exercise your dog before the day gets too hot, do you really want to forsake your holiday lie in?

How are you going to travel to reach your holiday destination?

Find out if the ferry/train/plane you are thinking of taking allows pets and where your pet will have to stay for the journey. Some ferry operators will allow dogs to stay in the owner’s car, which my dog, for one, was very happy with when he came to France. Other ferry operators require pets to stay in a dog kenneling area to meet requirements of temperature control and safety, this can be something like a Portakabin with dog kennels inside, my dog found this stressful.

Can you find dog friendly holiday accommodation?

My experience in Brittany was that finding a holiday site which permits dogs was fairly easy but whilst most bars and restaurants permit dogs, sadly most French beaches do not.

Lastly, consider foreign diseases your pet may be exposed to. Dogs visiting mainland Europe can be exposed to sand flies carrying Leishmaniasis, as well as ticks and mosquitoes whose bite can transfer a range of nasty diseases. Chat to your vet about where you are going and see if you require any additional protection for your pet apart from the legal requirements.

by Vicky Williams BVM&S MRCVS

Bertie & Bella's would like to thank our guest vet, Vicky Williams for the sound advice on this post, planning for your trip is vital.

From all of us we wish you safe travels and a fabulous holiday.