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The Complete Guide to Taking your Pet on Holiday

Tuesday January 14th 2014

A growing number of pet owners are choosing to bring their animals along with them on their travels rather than leave them at home for the neighbour's to look after or sending them to a boarding kennel or cattery. While taking your pet on holiday can be a great experience for both you and your four-legged friend, if you've never done it before making sure you've made all the necessary arrangements can cause quite a headache.

The Complete Guide to Taking your Pet on Holiday

This guide explains everything you need to know about taking your pet on holiday.

Requirements for Travel within the EU
If you are travelling from the EU ensure the following steps are met for a hassle-free journey.
Please note that 'pets' here refers only to dogs, cats and ferrets. Rabbits, birds, rodents and many other animals commonly kept as pets are free to travel within the EU without restrictions.

All pets entering the UK must be microchipped. The procedure is quick, affordable and won't hurt your pet. As well as allowing your pet to be identified easily, it can be used to confirm it has had the necessary vaccinations, and in the unlikely event it gets lost, you'll have a greater chance of it being returned.

Rabies vaccination
Your pet must be vaccinated against rabies after your pet has been microchipped. Make sure that your pet's unique microchip number is documented in the vaccination records, which should also contain information about when a booster vaccination will be needed.

Important: Your pet will have to wait 21 days after being vaccinated against rabies before it can travel.

Pet Passport
Once your pet has been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies you can apply for a Pet Passport from an Official Veterinarian.
Double check to make sure that the microchip number recorded in your Pet Passport is correct.

Tapeworm treatment
Dogs will also need to be treated for tapeworm by a vet before re-entering the UK. This must be done between 24 hours and 120 hours (1-6 days) before re-entering the UK. The vet should record details of the treatment in your Pet Passport including the time and date of the treatment, the manufacturer of the treatment and the product name.

Due to the time sensitive requirements of the tapeworm treatment and the need for a vet to be able to fill in Pet Passport with the necessary details it's worth arranging this treatment well in advance of travelling.

Additional Requirements for Travelling outside the EU
If you are travelling outside the EU you will need to follow that country's specific laws and regulations concerning pets entering the country. Contact the Embassy of the country you want to visit for details with plenty of time to spare in case any of the requirements are time-sensitive.

Furthermore, as well as the conditions for travel within the EU your pet will need a blood test taken a minimum of 30 days after its rabies vaccination to re-enter the UK.

The Journey
Approved routes
Your pet must travel into the UK via an approved route. Check with your operator to find out if they can transport your pet into the UK without the need for quarantine.

Carrier Conditions
Individual carriers will have their own rules determining which animals they will transport and the conditions under which they will transport them – some carriers won’t transport certain breeds of dog for example. Check these in advance to make sure you can meet their requirements.

Your pet will have to travel in a suitable and secure kennel. This should be large enough for your pet to stand up in, be covered with absorbent material such as newspaper, and contain dishes for food and water. The kennel should also be clearly labelled with both your pet’s details and your own, as well as a 'Live Animal' sticker and 'Arrow Up' stickers.

If your kennel has wheels ensure these are removed or taped to stop the kennel moving in transit.

The cost of transporting your pet will depend on the journey. Assistance dogs can usually travel for free.

While it might seem like there's a lot to organise, once you've travelled with your pet once it becomes much easier to do so again – you only have to get a Pet Passport once for example.

If you don’t follow the necessary rules you might find that your pet is either refused travel, placed in quarantine or returned to where it came from. In these circumstances you’ll have to meet the expenses, so it's worth taking the time to make sure everything is properly in place.

Bon voyage!

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Author Bio:
This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offers pet insurance.