Wednesday, 21 December 2011 4:37 PM
Your dog follows you around like a little lost soul the minute the suitcases come out. The cat continues to give you the cold shoulder long after your tan has faded. Holidays may be a time of fun and relaxation for us humans, but for our pets they can be a misery of loneliness, upset routines and perhaps time spent in a boarding kennel or cattery.
Previously, if you were the kind of pet owner who couldn’t bear to be parted from their furry companion, you were probably forced to stay at home. But since the advent of the pet passport scheme in 2001, more and more of us feel confident in taking these much-loved members of the family with us when we travel abroad.
Eurotunnel statistics from 2010 showed that a whopping 475,000 pets had travelled across the channel with this operator alone. And according to Defra, new rules set to be introduced in 2012 bring the UK in line with the European Union, which should make it even easier to take your pet abroad.
But what are the practicalities of taking a dog or cat with you on your two weeks in the sun? We have some excellent tips to help make sure you all have a lovely time – and they don’t have to go into quarantine on your return.
Before you go
Although it is getting easier to take pets abroad, you won’t just be able to jet off on a city break at a moment’s notice. Start planning six months in advance to make sure all your pet’s medical requirements are up to date.
Your first stop should be to find a vet qualified to carry out all the procedures you need for your pet passport. If you’re in doubt, your pet insurance provider can normally give you a list of vets they recommend.
Check the Defra website for country-specific information, but in a nutshell, your pet must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and had a blood test prior to travel to prove it doesn’t have the deadly disease.
If you don’t have pet insurance in place, it will be worth looking into it now. Some insurers cover travel automatically, whilst other providers may offer it as an extra option.
How will you get there?
According to Pets and Travel, animals can (in theory) travel abroad by train, ferry or plane, but not every operator allows this. For example, pets can travel by Eurotunnel, but not Eurostar. You must check beforehand and book them a place – not just turn up with their little doggy suitcases packed and expect to travel. Defra has a list of all the authorised routes and travel companies.
The Kennel Club website has some excellent advice for pet owners. It states that if you’re going by plane your pet will have to travel in the hold in a specially approved crate (and not in the cabin with you, no matter how hard you plead). Ferry companies often don’t allow dogs up on deck, so you’ll need to make sure your pet is comfortable sleeping in your car for the journey.
Coming back into the UK
You may have had a great holiday with your pet, but don’t get too relaxed as there’s still some paperwork to complete before you leave. To re-enter the UK your pet will need to see an overseas vet in the 24 to 48 hours before you board your plane, train or ferry. The vet will vaccinate your pet against ticks and tapeworms (even if this has been done before).
Issued by Sainsbury’s Finance
Sainsbury’s Finance is a trading name of Sainsbury’s Bank plc. All information correct at time of publication, but may be subject to change. Any views or opinions expressed in this article are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any part of the Sainsbury’s Group of companies.
Sainsbury’s Finance is a financial services provider engaged in savings accounts, credit cards, and personal loans. It also supplies insurance services in car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, pet insurance and travel insurance as well as being a provider of travel money services.