Many people like to take their pets abroad. It can be difficult to leave a pet at home during a long trip, even if there are provisions for pet friendly hotels and friends and family that can look after them. Similarly, you may need to move abroad for a year for work or study, and want to take your cat or dog with you. When doing so, it is important to understand the legal requirements for taking pets abroad, as well as the health and quarantine rules for overseas pets. General rules for care can also be followed for pets, while it is important to understand and acquire the right kind of insurance before a journey. Some more information on these issues can be found below:
cc licenced flickr photo by Yu-Cheng Hsiao
1 – Passports and Travel Booking
Pets now require a pet passport before they travel. Pet passports can be issued by a vet, and typically need to be completed several months before a travel. In many cases, pets also require a microchip to be installed seven months prior to travel. A passport then act as a way of registering that pet under the Pet Travel Systems (PETS) in the UK. Agreements also have to made with approved carriage companies for pets, with spaces for pets on flights often at a premium.
2 – Vaccinations and Quarantine
Dogs will need to be vaccinated for rabies before they travel, if they haven’t already been vaccinated. Dogs also need to be checked for tapeworm in the weeks leading up to a flight. Different countries will have different regulations about what kind of pets can travel, and what their vaccination and health conditions will be. An Export Health Certificate is often needed for these pets, and can be arranged before you travel. On returning to the UK, dogs and other animals are typically quarantined for several months at a time to reduce the risk of any infections being passed on.
3 – Exceptions
There are some exceptions for pets when they travel as part of broader schemes. Registered guide dogs are generally the only animals that can travel with a passenger on a flight, and only under strict rules on cabin space. Again, all information needs to be provided with official documentation before a passenger can fly with a pet in the cabin.
4 – General Care
When travelling with a pet, it is important to think about whether the pet is capable of handling the stress of a flight or a long journey. Think about this in detail if the pet is old or has had health problems in the past. Pets should also be fed and taken to the toilet before a flight, and should have spent some time getting used to their travel container before departure.
5 – Pet Insurance
Getting appropriate pet insurance is an important part of any journey. Many travel insurance policies will not cater for pets, which will mean that you will have to take out some additional cover. Most pet insurance only covers domestic animals like cats and dogs, and generally focuses on providing pay outs for accidents and veterinary assistance during a trip, as well as covering for the theft of a pet.
Currently visiting France and going through a travel insurance claim of his own, Matt Mynors is a travel enthusiast writing on his experiences and his plans to travel the world.