Taking pets abroad requires considerable research and planning – especially if you decide not to use a specialist pet travel agent.
The aim of this article is to provide an introductory guide to the topics and considerations that pet owners should address before attempting to take their pet abroad.
The exact travel documents you will need vary by destination. A British pet owner taking their dog to Spain, for example, can benefit from the Pet Passport Scheme. Taking pet abroad outside of the European Union, however, can be more problematic and require a range of alternative travel documents.
If you have a particular destination in mind it can be wise to speak to the embassy or consult their website so you can be certain of exactly what documents will be required before travel.
Almost without exception you will require, at a minimum, a certificate of health before travel. This must be sourced from your local vet, who will assess your pet for travel. As a result, it may be necessary to plan ahead with your vet in order to allow such checks to be made in good time.
Check for Importation Rules
As well as the documents required for the initial transportation of your pet, countries around the world have differing requirements for the importation of pets. They may have, for example, specifications for exactly what injections must have been given, rules on quarantine and meet all the requirements of importation.
Plan Vaccinations Early
Some countries – such as Australia – have very stringent rules for vaccinations. For example, if you’re taking your dog to Australia then it must be vaccinated against rabies at least six months before the travel date. This means that the sooner you can carry out your research and begin the necessary vaccinations the sooner your pet can be transported abroad.
Consider Transportation Options
When taking pets abroad there are a number of possible transportation options. Your final destination, the distance being travelled, your budget and your pet’s personality can all have an effect on which mode of transport you eventually opt for.
Pets travelling over short distances – such as from the UK to France – may opt to transport their pet by road. This you can do yourself, or alternatively it can be outsourced to a reputable pet courier. Due to the times involved with such an operation, road transport may not be suitable for longer-distance travel, nor where one expected to travel through a number of countries in order to reach your final destination due to the potential troubles at the border.
Taking Pets on Planes
The most common method of taking pets abroad is on a plane. Pets are generally transported in a special climate and press-controlled area of the cargo hold. Transporting by plane may be one of the pricier options, but it is also quick and efficient.
Note that places on planes for pets are severely limited, and each airline will have its own requirements for accepting pet passengers. Consequently arranging pet flights yourself can be troublesome, particularly when you realize that a number of airlines won’t deal directly with the general public.
Pets on Ferries
If you’re just hopping across the English Channel to Europe then a number of ferry operators are happy to accommodate your pet. In general cats and dogs will need to remain locked in your car for the duration of the journey, but can result in a very cost-effective way to transport your pet short distances. If this appeals then check early on the rules imposed by your chosen ferry provider.
Pet-Safe Travel Crates
One final consideration when taking pets abroad is purchasing – and your getting your pet familiar with – their travel crate. This is why PBS Pet Travel supplies a range of such kennels, and will deliver them in plenty of time for your pet to get comfortable with their housing long before it is needed.