Tips for travelling with pets in Europe

Discovering the world and relaxing with your family are what holidays are all about, but having to leave your pet at home can dampen your holiday spirit.

If you decide to travel with your pet, check out our top tips for travelling in Europe.

It's worth noting that cats are generally not great travellers, and the majority of them would rather stay at home, in their own environment, than go on overseas adventures!


1. Checklist for your pet


Your pet will need a pet passport, be microchipped, and have had a rabies vaccination and a tapeworm treatment (for dogs only) before leaving the UK.

For some holiday destinations, including many EU countries, you may need to give your dog a tape wormer before returning to the UK. Without this your pet could be refused entry and placed in quarantine.

After giving the rabies vaccination to your pet, you must wait 21 days before travelling. Make sure your pet is microchipped first – otherwise the jab is not going to be registered to your pet’s microchip.

Upon administering the jab, make sure your vet uses a reader to trace and record your pet’s microchip number on its vaccination record. This will give you extra proof that the microchip works, should you need it abroad.

Remember when travelling that there may be other diseases or parasites, not normally encountered in the UK, which could affect your pet. European ticks, mosquitoes and sandflies can cause significant diseases, so speak to your vet about other medication you or precautions you might need to take for your pet’s trip.

Wherever you plan to take your pet, make sure you check both the rules for your destination country, and the UK's detailed information for returning home.


2. By train, plane or automobile


Check the route you want to take to reach your destination. You will need to travel using an authorised carrier and an approved route.

By sea, this includes the majority of mainstream ferry companies. For air travel, it is worth checking the Defra listings online.

Low-cost carriers including easyJet and Ryanair do not allow live animals on their aircraft, although certain exceptions are made for guide dogs.

You also have the option to drive through the Eurotunnel. The company accept cats and dogs for a little extra cost but they’ll have to stay inside your car during the crossing.


3. Solo travel


If you’re not making the journey with your pet, you'll need to sign a Declaration of owner not accompanying pet during its journey form, available on the Defra website.

This declaration must accompany the animal and its pet passport during the journey. Failure to comply may lead to extra checks upon arrival.


4. Access to water at all times


Always make sure your pet has a plentiful supply of drinking water for the journey and while you’re away – especially if you’re travelling somewhere hot.


5. Our top 5 destinations in Europe to go with your dog


Greece: What better way to entertain your dog and yourself than with the joys of the sand and the sea? Avoid going there in summer as the temperatures can be quite high for your pet – spring is preferable.

France: It’s a country where dogs are allowed almost everywhere. French people tend to love dogs and many restaurants welcome them. What could be more pleasant than sitting at a Parisian café with your dog enjoying a bowl of water by your side?

Spain: Spain is a very easy-going country regarding where you can take your dog. Large cities tend to have dog exercise and toilet areas for your pet. Keep in mind that going to Spain in the height of the summer might not be ideal for your dog as temperatures can be pretty high.

Ireland: It’s a truly dog-friendly destination. Travelling by ferry is not only fast but you can take all of your dog-essentials with you in your car. A lot of exercise and fresh air is going to be a great change of scenery for both you and your dog. Even if you’re going to Northern Ireland, don’t forget your pet’s passport!

Austria: The country imposes a limit of 3 animals per person and vaccination details should all be translated into German. You can always have the original document in English and have a translation attached. Austria is a very dog-friendly country so you’ll be able to bring your pet to restaurants and take public transport easily.

Many hotels on the continent allow dogs to stay for a few extra Euros per night, so it’s worth checking your options before you book.

For more information on worldwide travel you can visit GOV.UK.


Travel abroad cover for your pet


Don’t forget to check your pet insurance policy details before you travel to ensure a carefree holiday.

Depending on your chosen cover level, our Pet Insurance could cover treatment by a vet whilst abroad (cover is restricted to countries in the Government Pet Travel Scheme).


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