Traveling with your pet, from flights to a ferry; what you need to know 

If you are an animal lover, you will most probably treat your pet as a member of the family and want them to be included with most of the things you do, including holidays! Whether this be a week away in the UK or a flight for your summer vacation, more and more people are starting to take their pets with them. So, what do you need to know about taking your pet on an aeroplane and ensuring they land in a country legally? Here at Budget Insurance we’ve written a blog post with all the important facts!

Taking your pet, especially dogs abroad is most probably not as complicated as you might think. Instead of leaving your dog with a friend or in the kennels now the process for taking pets abroad has become easier, more people are taking advantage and making memories with their pets abroad. Having said this, it’s essential that you do your research beforehand and make sure that you take your pets needs into consideration at all times.

What about if you are migrating abroad? Well firstly, lucky you! Can we come? I’m sure you’ve read horror stories where pets have had to stay in quarantine for up to six months, which is obviously extremely distressing for both the animal and the owner. Thankfully, these rules have relaxed and this is not necessary anymore. As long as you follow the rules for the country you are travelling to, everything should be plain sailing.

Does my pet need a passport to travel abroad?

If you have a dog, cat or ferret they will need a passport if they will be travelling to the UK from an EU country, or from the UK to a listed or unlisted country and then returning to the UK. It’s important to note that you can’t do this after your pet’s rabies vaccination has expired. If your pet is coming to the UK from a country outside the EU, you will need a third-country official veterinary certificate, you can get this from the country you are in. A pet passport carries a record of all your pet’s vaccinations to ensure they are covered against diseases such as rabies. Make sure you bring all of your pets original documentation not photocopies.

How much does a pet passport cost?

Prices will vary depending on the animal, but on average a dog passport will cost between £150- £250 and a cat passport between £25- £50. Whilst you might think this sounds like a lot of money, especially for a dog passport, the good news is these passports are valid for your pet’s lifetime. You will only need to buy a new passport if your pet is a frequent flyer and uses all of the pages in the passport.

How do I get my pet a passport?

Getting your pet a passport is much easier than getting a human passport. All you need to do is take your pet to the vet along with its identity and any vaccinations records you have. You need to find a vet that is LVI (Local Veterinary Inspector) authorised and you pay for the passport at the vets along with any procedures your vet advises your pet may need.

How old does my pet need to be in order to travel?

Your pet needs to be at least 12 weeks old as this is the earliest they can be vaccinated from rabies and you will need to wait at least 21 days after their vaccination before you can travel. It’s always best to double check you’ve got everything covered before travelling so check out the gov.uk website for more details.

What do I need to do before I travel with my pet?

Before you travel you will need to double check that your vet has filled your pet’s passport out correctly. In particular double check:

  • Details of ownership
  • Description of your pet
  • Marking or identification of your pet
  • Vaccination against rabies
  • Rabies blood test (if needed)
  • Details of the vet issuing the passport
  • Your dog’s tapeworm treatment (if needed)

You will also need to make sure that your pet has had a rabies vaccination and tapeworm treatment. Other important things to make a note of are:

  • Your pets microchip number, when it was inserted and where it is located on your pet
  • Your pets date of birth and age
  • Any vaccine product names
  • The date of their most recent vaccinations

Make sure that you speak to your vet regarding any medication your pet may be on and whether you need to take this abroad with you. It’s also worth purchasing a canine medical kit just in case your dog injures themselves whilst exploring their new surroundings. Changing environments can be stressful for animals so make sure you keep routines as similar as possible and take their favourite toys or bedding with you, this way they should hopefully settle quite easily.

Which airlines let pets travel?

If you are travelling with an assistance dog, most airlines will allow this, however do double check the airlines terms and conditions before booking. Airlines that will allow you to book your pets onto a flight are:

Aer Lingus 

Aer Lingus cargo carry pets and you must make sure you book with this provider, not the standard Aer Lingus as pets will not be accepted at passenger check in.

Air France

You can take pets in the hold as long as they weigh 8-75kg, however if the animal weighs over 75kg or the country permit animal transport only by freight, it must travel via freight. Air France have a limit of three animals per passenger. Prices within France are around €20, flights within Europe around €75 and all other flights around €200.

British Airways

British Airways allow pets in the hold as cargo, but are not permitted in the cabin. The fee depends on the size of the animal, so it’s advisable to get in touch with the airline prior to the flight.

Flybe

Flybe allow pets in the hold, but not in the cabin, for more information call 0844 800 2855.

Lufthansa

Depending on the size and weight of the animal they will either be transported in the hold or cabin and fees depend on the destination and size of the animal. Fees start from €35 and range up to €400.

Thomson

Almost all Thomson Airways flights carry pets using a provider called AIA and you just need to complete a booking form. Pets will be transported in the cargo and more information can be found on their website.

Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook allow you to carry dogs and cats weighing less than 6kg in the cabin, there is a charge of €15 per animal. Thomas Cook stipulate that animals must travel in a closed hygienic watertight bag or basket.

Turkish Airlines

Full fee information is listed on their website, but is based on a per kilo charge and how many zones the animal is travelling through.

Virgin Atlantic

Only cats and dogs are allowed to fly, however they have a Flying Paws scheme which gives your pet air miles! The cost of travel depends on the length, width, height and weight of your pet, plus it’s container.

If you do decide to take your pet on holiday via the aeroplane, try and choose the coolest time possible just so your pet doesn’t over heat. Make sure you double check any flying rules and regulations before you set off by looking on your airlines website. Where possible book direct flights so your pet can have the easiest journey possible and make sure you leave them with water in their crate.

If you are feeling slightly apprehensive about how your pet will be transported The International Air Transport Association has specific rules for the transport of animals. Click here to read their website for more information.

Are you holidaying in the UK this year? Read our blog post on driving with pets for some useful hints and tips for long journeys with your fury friends.

There are a lot of ferry’s that allow you to travel with your pet, it does however depend on the ferry provider so you should always check the website of the company you are looking to travel with before setting off. Some rules are the same as when you fly such as, there will always be a fee attached to taking your pet and you will need a passport or third country certificate.

Some ferry companies have schemes on board designed to make the journey a little more pleasant for your pet. It’s worth checking the companies policy as some ferry companies do you not let your pet leave the car for the duration of the crossing and you are not allowed below deck to check on them.

If your ferry has an overnight crossing and you are booking cabins, chose a provider that has pet friendly cabins to ensure your pet is allowed to stay in the room with you. Hopefully this article has proved helpful and we wish you a happy holiday!

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