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How to Travel With Pets: Our Top Tips

How to travel with pets: our top tips

Published 08 June 2018 | Updated 18 May 2021

You're gearing up to go on a well-deserved summer holiday but who is going to look after your furry friend? If you've never travelled with pets before, it can feel a bit daunting, but you don't have to leave Rover or Mittens behind with a pet sitter, as they can travel with you! 

In the UK, we love pets (sometimes even more than our partners) and we love travelling, so combining the two is perfect for many pet owners across the country.

At Compare Cover, we've put together a few tips that may help you out when it comes to travelling with your pets, helping you to leave behind the worry of how your puppy or cat is doing while you're away.

If travelling by car

With 59% of the UK population owning a pet in 2020/21, it's become a normal sight to find Britons travelling with animals when they go on holiday.

Travelling by car may be an appealing option as your pet can stay with you for the whole journey - and, if you go through the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, it will take around 35 minutes for you to travel from Folkestone to Calais. This means it won't be long until you're back on terra firma with your beloved companion!

Some of our tips for travelling with your pet by car include:

  • Your pet should have plenty of water and food to last them the entire trip.
  • If you have a dog with you, don't allow him or her to hang their head out the window - as this can potentially lead to issues like eye damage from flying debris.
  • Take your pet on a 'trial trip' to make sure they are prepared to travel in a car.
  • Avoid smoking in the car, as that can increase the feeling of nausea in both humans and animals.
  • Travelling with an unrestrained pet is illegal, and you could be fined up to 5,000 if caught. Purchase a safety harness or cage for your pets so that they are not roaming the car and distracting you.
  • Your voice can calm your pets and make them feel safe and loved, so talk to them and stroke them if possible so that they are as comfortable - and happy - as they can be.
  • A pet first aid kit may come in handy if your pet gets injured or throws up.

If travelling by plane

Travelling by air can feel especially daunting, as there are so many factors to consider. Whenever possible, it may be best to avoid it if you have your furry friend with you, as it can cause them stress. However, if there is no other option, you can still keep your pet's safety and comfort at the top of your list when you consider taking them on holiday with you.

If the animal you're travelling with is not an assistance dog, for instance, they are considered pets and there are strict rules to comply with because of this. 

Below are some of the things to consider when travelling by air:

  • Your pet should always have an animal health certificate, which can be issued by your vet and allows them to travel abroad.
  • You also need to make sure that your pet is vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before the trip.
  • A sturdy - and comfortable - pet crate is typically necessary when travelling by air; the crate should include elements like adequate ventilation, a waterproof bottom, a sturdy lock, and the ability to disable the wheels. Your pet should be able to stand up and turn around easily!
  • You may also want to consider having your pet treated for tapeworms, as some EU and non-EU countries require it.

How Brexit could affect travelling with a pet

The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020.

To visit Europe with your pet after 1 January 2021, there are additional steps you will need to do before you travel, including obtaining an animal health certificate by an official vet and a rabies vaccination. You need to do this no more than 10 days before travel.

The government has published a range of guidance and notes for Brexit available online.

Other important travel tips

No matter where you are going on holiday and how you intend to reach your destination, you may want to:

  • Consult your vet to ensure that your pet is ready to go on the journey with you - this is especially important if your pet has never travelled before or if there are any health concerns.

  • Ensure that you pet is microchipped for identification, as not only is it a legal requirement for dogs but can be extremely handy if your pet goes missing.
  • Add a collar and tag imprinted with your name, mobile number or any other relevant contact information.
  • Make sure that your pet is calm and relaxed before the trip (you can try giving them a few treats or taking them for a walk, which may tire them out in time for the journey ahead).
  • Bring a familiar object that your pet loves, like a blanket or a toy, which can provide comfort.

Our tips intend to help you have a joyful, safe, and memorable trip with your pets that you won't forget. At Compare Cover, you can compare pet insurance quotes, which will show you the different product types as well as costs for your pet(s), and compare travel insurance quotes for you on your trip abroad as well as the UK.

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