Latest News

Lines are open
Mon/Fri: 8.30am - 6pm

0800 038 0830

Bucket, spade and dog

Thursday June 2nd 2011

Press Release

May 24 2011

Bucket, spade and dog

With yet another Bank Holiday weekend ahead, many of the UK's 8.5 million dog owners1 are going on or planning their next holiday but with an added accessory - the family dog. More than 475,00 dogs have travelled across the channel through Eurotunnel since the pet passport scheme began ten years ago2. One ferry company has seen a 25% rise in the number of dogs being taken abroad in the last five years, with Spain and France being the most popular holiday destinations for our furry friends.3

Pet insurer helpucover warns people who take their dogs abroad should be aware of the pitfalls of doing so when it comes to their precious pet's health.

Dr Eric Jackson, a vet with over 40 years experience says "people should always check with their vet before going abroad. All pets going abroad must have a Pet Passport*, be microchipped and vaccinated against Rabies and have a blood test to confirm antibody status."

helpucover advises that people should research the area they plan to visit and take precautions to prevent any infection occurring. Dr Jackson continues "Your vet will be able to give your dog specific treatment, for example 'spot-on' treatments, which can protect against specific insect bites. Make sure you leave plenty of time to visit your vet before you go away as some treatments need time to work."

Top tips for keeping your pet safe abroad:-

* Try to keep pets within sight at all times. Some "foreign" diseases can take weeks or months to incubate
* Avoid giving your dog any unusual foods when you are abroad. Never be tempted to "let him just try this once as he too is on holiday"! A different food could at worst cause serious diarrhoea and vomiting
* If your dog does eat something it should not have, stop all food and give small amounts of water every 30 minutes. If the symptoms persist, or you see blood or if your dog appears lethargic and depressed, take him to a vet as soon as possible
* Snake bites are another hidden danger when abroad. If you see that your dog has been bitten, take it to a vet immediately as some bites can be fatal
* Try to describe the snake to the vet. Treatments can vary and your dog may need anti venom and other supportive treatment
* If you did not see a snake but suspect that a bite may have occurred, look for any signs. Snake bites are very small. You may see a purple discolouration on the skin. There may be some swelling. Some bite symptoms can take several hours to develop. If you are in any doubt, visit the vet. Earlier treatment can have more success
* Always remember, your dog has a warm fur coat so consider getting your dog stripped or their fur trimmed before visiting a hot country
* Treat your dog as though they have white skin and red hair. Limit their time in the sun. Encourage them to remain in the shade
* Always carry plenty of water for your dog to drink. Avoid long walks and vigorous exercise. If your dog does over heat, walk him in the sea, scoop water over him and move to the shade
* Some areas in Europe carry greater risk of diseases not seen regularly in UK, such as Leishmaniasis which is transmitted by sand flies. This is present in the Mediterranean including parts of France, Spain, Italy and Greece. Your dog can incubate the disease for months or years. The symptoms include weight loss, skin disease, lameness and fever. The eyes and kidneys can be damaged. Dogs can pass disease on to people. Sand flies prefer woods and gardens. Mosquitoes and sand flies are most active from May to October especially at night. Do not let your pet sleep outside unless it is protected by a mosquito net
* Ticks like areas of forest and rough grazing. They can attach at any time of the year but are most active in spring and autumn. You should check your pet daily for ticks and remove them using a tick hook. There are products available that will repel and/or kill ticks, mosquitoes and sand flies. Unfortunately no one treatment will protect against all the diseases
* If your dog is sick always tell your vet if you went abroad and where you went, even if it was six months previously
* Remember tick and tapeworm treatment will be given before you return home so treatments have to be timed to avoid overdosing or drug interactions. If you are visiting any of the affected areas speak to your vet!

A spokesperson for Pet insurer says "dogs, like their owners enjoy family time and if people take the right precautions, there is no reason why your dog cannot benefit from a well deserved holiday too."
Dog lover Suzi Friend took her Dachshund to France last month. "I took Cizi with me because I can't bear to leave him behind and he loves going to new places. In France people are very dog friendly and Cizi would happily come to restaurants with me and no one minded. On the ferry journey I stayed with him in the car which made it less stressful for both of us. I am already planning our next trip abroad!"

Notes and further information:-

Other diseases to be aware of if travelling abroad:

Heartworm - This found in the USA, Canada, parts of Australia and the Mediterranean. It is transmitted by blood sucking mosquitoes. The worms migrate in the blood to the heart. The incubation can be several months. Symptoms include coughing, exhaustion, breathing difficulties and collapse.

Babesiosis - This is found particularly in France but also in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy. It is transmitted by ticks. The incubation is 2 to 3 weeks. The disease causes severe anaemia with pallor, weakness and collapse.

Ehrlichiosis - This is found in the Mediterranean especially France, Greece and Italy. It has been seen in Germany, Holland and Belgium. It is also transmitted by ticks. The incubation is 1 to 3 weeks. Early symptoms include fever and a poor appetite but progress to affect the immune system and blood clotting.

Before you travel

* Do your research before booking, especially when going abroad -in Germany, for example the law states that all dogs must wear collars with their owners details, and across Europe, some train operators don't allow dogs onboard, including Eurostar and some services in Spain, Ireland and Norway.
* Check out where the nearest vet is to where you are staying, along with opening hours and emergency numbers
* Ensure you have a portable travel container for your dog to sleep and travel in and get him used to being in it well in advance of your holiday
* Make sure you pack your dogs familiar toys and blanket
* To avoid stomach upsets take supplies of your pet's usual food and do not keep food for the next feed unless it is refrigerated
* Make sure your dog is microchipped - losing your dog on a busy beach can be the quickest way of turning your holiday heaven into holiday hell
* Pets going abroad must have a passport* and be vaccinated against Rabies and other diseases. The necessary tests and passport requirements take months to obtain.
* Check your pet insurance covers you for any illness or accidents your pet has whilst abroad

While you're travelling and away

* Take plenty of extra water and food in case your journey is delayed
* Make sure you stop every two to three hours if possible to prevent "little accidents" and enable your dog to stretch his legs
* Never leave your dog in a car unless parked out of sunlight and with plenty of ventilation. It only takes a few minutes for a car to heat up to unbearable temperatures if left in direct sunlight
* If your dog does become over heated you'll notice lots of saliva round its mouth and excessive panting. If this happens you should immediately cool him down by throwing lots of cold water over him and seek immediate help from a vet
* It can be hard to resist the temptation to go for a "good" walk on holiday. Remember that older pets and those with arthritis or heart conditions should not get any more daily exercise on holiday than a normal day at home
* Keep your dog on a lead if other animals are about. Farmers can shoot dogs who worry sheep or other livestock
* Although it's fun to play on the beach make sure you follow the rules about controlling and cleaning up after your dog

3(Brittany Ferries)

*Pet Passports the rules

* The dog or cat must be microchipped so it can be identified
* The animal must be vaccinated against rabies and be blood tested (the order in which these must be done varies by country)
* Pets must have an EU pet passport
* Pets re-entering the UK must be treated against ticks and tapeworm not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before it is checked in with the ferry, flight or rail operator
* Animals can only be transported by approved transport providers
* Animals cannot enter the UK until at least six months have passed since the blood test
* The full regulations are published on the Defra website.