You are preparing for your holidays and thinking how nice it would be to take your pet with you… after all, your pet is part of the family! However, that thought is suddenly obscured by the overwhelming question: ‘What do I need to do to take my pet with me on holiday?’.
A lot of our customers come to one of our clinics puzzled about all the different (and sometimes contradictory) things they have read online about getting ready to take their pet on holiday, so our expert vets have put together the following “to-do” list to help you plan for a great and safe holiday with your pet.
Remember, preparing in advance will guarantee you and your furry friends a fantastic time and it will also save you from encountering problems that can be easily avoided.
Travelling with your pet within the U.K:
To travel with your pet in the U.K., make sure your pet is up to date with usual vaccinations, worming and flea treatments. At least 4 weeks before departing, get in touch with your hotel or B&B to check what is their policy regarding pets. Also. get in touch with your vet to check specific risks that could be found in the area you are visiting.
Travelling with your pet abroad:
If you are travelling with your pet by plane, train or boat, please get in touch with your travelling company to check their policy.
If travelling with your pet to the E.U, you will need a pet passport. The passport service at the Vet can cost you as little as £40* plus the charge for a Vet to sign and stamp it is approx £15*
There are other legal requirements that your pet must meet when travelling abroad; we have highlighted these in blue.
Follow this timeline and you shouldn’t have any problems getting your furry friend ready to come with you on your great adventures.
What do I need to do to take my pet abroad and when?
6 to 4 weeks before you travel: Consult The Vet about possible specific risks in the area you are going to.
For unvaccinated pets, you will need to bring your pet in for the first injection 6 weeks before travelling. For the second injection, you will need to bring your pet in 2 weeks before travelling.
For vaccinated pets, make sure at least 2 weeks before travelling that your pet’s vaccination will cover them at least until you come back.
(Minimum) 21 days before travel:
Your pet needs a microchip, a passport and a rabies vaccination (legal requirements).
Begin your pet passport application at least 21 days before travelling – come to The Vet for a rabies vaccination and a checkup with a veterinary surgeon. The passport will be ready in a couple of days for you to collect and sign. Your pet should also be up to date with core booster vaccinations.
14 days before travel: make sure your pet is up to date with good quality flea and tick treatment
1-2 days before travel: some travel companies request a clinical examination prior to travel with a veterinary surgeon and a stamp in their passport to confirm they are fit to travel.
Whilst you are travelling:
If you are travelling by car with your dog, please stop at least every 2 hours to allow your dog to walk (on a leash) for a few minutes and offer them some water. Travel either early in the morning or late in the evening unless you have air conditioning in the car.
For cats, beware of broken carriers when you stop… every year, cats are lost on the side of the road as they escape and run away due to fright! Only open the carrier door if your cat has a harness and a leash that you can grab to prevent any escape.
Whilst you’re away:
If travelling somewhere hot, it is important to ensure your pet is kept cool. Try and exercise them early in the morning, late during the evenings and remember to provide plenty of shade and water during the day. If they will be walking on hot pavement, you can get shoes to protect their feet. For dogs that tolerate coats, cooling coats are also available.
On your way back to the U.K., 1 to 5 days before coming back, get a consultation with a vet abroad to receive worming treatment and a signed authorization to travel (legal requirement).
If travelling without your pet:
Immediately: work out who is looking after your pets, whether that is a kennels or cattery, or a pet sitter at home. It’s important to try and find a place that will suit both you and your pet.
It is important to check with the kennels/pet sitter what vaccinations your pets will need.
If they are not up to date, here is a guide to restarting vaccinations for your dog:
6 weeks before: 1st vaccination (covering distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and leptospirosis).
4 weeks before: kennel cough vaccination (this is an annual vaccination that is squirted up your dog’s nose!).
2 weeks before: 2nd vaccination (to complete the course of core vaccinations. This will need to have annual boosters). It is important to make sure your dog is up to date with flea and worm treatment before they go into kennels.
We hope you and your pet have a fantastic holiday. If you have any questions about this or anything else, please pop-in to the clinic during our opening hours or gives us a call.
*Depending on the clinic. Please call the clinic you’re planning to visit in advance to check their prices.