13 May 2016
For many families, travelling without your pet wouldn’t feel like a holiday. Whether it be a visit to family members, a trip to a beach resort or travelling abroad our dogs need special care when they travel. Holidays in the sun can require specific vaccinations and a pet passport that need to be arranged weeks in advance!
If you are travelling a long distance, or are going abroad it is always best to take a trip to your vet beforehand. Many vets are aware of potential diseases throughout the country or overseas which could harm your pet, and they are the best people to speak to in regards to protecting them against these.
If you are travelling by car, you will need to consider different methods of where your dog will be in the vehicle. Crates, seatbelts, harnesses and dog car seats are all great methods of travelling safely. Individual dogs can suit some methods better than others, so try to make sure they are comfortable in whatever you choose. Some dogs may suffer from anxiety and sickness on a car journey, so dog specific calming sprays and tablets can be given to soothe them if needed.
It is best not to feed a big meal before a journey, as this could increase the risk of sickness while travelling. Water should not be limited, and plenty of breaks should be given and the opportunity to go outside and have a drink.
If you are travelling in hot weather, never leave your dog in the car unattended. Even a car with its windows down can turn into an oven, causing dogs to overheat.
If you choose to travel by train, firstly you need to check that the train carrier accepts pets, and whether they incur an extra charge. National rail accept two pets per passenger free of charge, but others may differ. Most train services ask you to keep dogs on lead at all times, if not in a pet carrier. They also ask for them not to occupy a seat, otherwise you will be charged.
If your dog has not travelled by train before, it can be a scary and overwhelming experience. If possible, before travelling a long distance you should practise a ‘trial run’ on a quiet, short distance train journey. This can help dog’s get used to trains, and reduce stress on longer trips.
As the train cannot stop for breaks, it is best to make sure your dog has the opportunity to go to the toilet before a journey. We advise taking poop bags, antibacterial wipes and tissue just in case an accident does occur.
Travelling by ferry is also an option that many holidaymakers use, however there are certain rules that apply. Pets must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies 21 days prior to travelling, and carry relevant documentation in the form of a pet passport. Dogs must accompany travellers with a car, and are often not allowed on the passenger deck. They have to remain in the car or deck kennels. Bringing dogs onto a ferry usually incurs a small fee.
Like humans, some dogs may experience sea sickness, use above tips for car journeys to help reduce sickness.
If you do decide to take your dog’s abroad, there are many aspects to think about first. If the climate is considerably hotter or colder than what they are used to, some pets may suffer and find it hard to adapt. Make sure your pet meets all requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme which means being microchipped, having a pet passport, being vaccinated against rabies 21 days before travelling, and having tapeworm treatment 1-5 days before travelling.
Methods of flying with pets vary between airlines, some require dogs to travel in cargo, and others are able to travel in the cabin up to a certain weight. It is advised that all pets along with a microchip carry a full ID tag, as well as the pet carrier. It is also recommended that when travelling to use a harness instead of a collar, pets are less likely to escape if frightened.
Whatever method you choose to travel with your pet, we wish you happy holidays and safe journeys!