Travelling with your Pets

Driving Advice When Taking Your Pets Abroad

The process of taking a pet along on an overseas trip has been streamlined from that of previous years, which makes it simpler for UK residents to travel with their pets. However, there are still conditions that must be met before they can be taken abroad. To be more precise, it is bringing them back into the UK that can be problematical.

Familiarise yourself with travel requirements

Depending on which country or countries are being visited, there are specific travel requirements that have to be met. For example, in Britain pet owners must have their pets fitted with microchips for identification and vaccinate them against rabies. A blood test and a Pet Travel Scheme-issued certificate are also necessary.

Plan ahead for your journey

Since it takes time to comply with all the necessary requirements, it is essential to plan well ahead. Anyone in the UK who intends taking their pet dog abroad will need to visit their local vet at least seven months in advance, since they cannot be brought back into the country within six months of having a blood test. Having the necessary tests and procedures carried out cost in the region of £200; it is not a cheap process.

Meet the conditions for flying with your pet

In order to fly on a major airline with a pet, the owner must put the animal in a purpose made travel container. When selecting a travel carrier, it is essential to purchase one that is large enough to accommodate the animal comfortably. It is also advisable to give them time to adjust by sitting them in it several times before making the trip.

Prepare for a road trip

A travel carrier is also a good idea for a road trip, since they help to keep cats and dogs safe during the journey. Dogs may be able to ride in a specially designed harness attached to a rear seat safety belt. For comfort, pet owners should bring along a favourite blanket or toy to place inside the carrier. Bringing along their pet's favourite food and snacks can help with the long drive and taking frequent breaks for water and exercise will contribute to the pet's comfort along the way. Another good suggestion is to take the pet on a short drive, once or twice, before attempting a longer journey.

Owners who are driving back into the United Kingdom should take the time to map out their route, since they will have to re-enter the country on a route that has been approved by the Pet Travel Scheme.

Best cars for pet owners

A car with a large boot is the most preferable, so estate cars and 4x4s are the most popular amongst pet owners. Other things to consider include the height of entry into the car. Older dogs may have difficulty climbing into the back of a high clearance 4x4 without assistance or a ramp. Most large pet stores will sell products to help with your pet travel, from specially designed pet car seats, to dog guards for the boot, the aforementioned ramp, and even window guards to allow in the air but with the safety of the dog not climbing out