So you’ve decided that you want to take your pet to Europe but you don’t know where to start?
Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
This article will talk you through the process of pet travel to Europe so you know exactly how you can take your pet abroad with you.
Types of Pet Transport to Europe
Generally speaking, there are three ways in which you can get to Europe; ferry, plane or Eurotunnel. Let’s take a look at each option in turn to help you decide on which option might be most appropriate for your needs.
Taking Pets on Ferries
Arguably the easiest method of all for transporting your pet to Europe is to make use of the ferry. In this way your pet can remain within your vehicle at all times where – with suitable ventilation and drinking water – he or she should be perfectly happy. Simply drive onto the ferry, enjoy the ride and then disembark at the other end. No mess, no fuss.
Most ferry companies charge a small fee for accepting dogs but this is rarely very expensive. For short trips, such as visiting France, taking the ferry may be the cheapest and most practical option available.
Taking Pets on Flights
You might be surprised to hear that a number of airlines that service Europe will accept pets if planned far enough in advance. At present no UK airline allows pets in the passenger cabin (though a few US airlines will). Instead, your pet will be transported in a pressurized and air-conditioned section of the cargo hold.
Flights for pets can be rather more complex than taking the ferry. You will need to book your pet on well in advance as space can be very limited. In addition, you will want to make sure that you too can take the same flight to receive your pet at the other end. In addition, it will be necessary to house your pet within an airline-approved travelling crate for the duration of the flight. Unsurprisingly air travel for pets can also be more expensive than travelling by sea.
So why consider taking pets on flights? For longer journeys – such as those to Spain, Greece or Portugal – keeping your pet cooped up in the boot of your car really isn’t feasible. Frankly, you’re asking your pet for a lot of patience.
Taking your pet on a flight significantly cuts down this travelling time for your pet – making it a far less stressful experience. It also means that you have less to worry about on the journey so you can drift off and sleep or watch movies during the flight without worrying about your pet.
Taking Pets on the Eurostar
Sadly at present Eurostar does not allow any pets on its services so it isn’t possible to transport pets to Europe on the Eurostar.
Understanding the Pet Travel Scheme
While pet transportation to Europe is much easier than it used to be there are still a few points you will need to be aware of. Arguably the most important of these is the pet passport scheme which enables seamless movement across borders for pets within Europe.
While we have a detailed page outlining the pet passport scheme here the following represents a basic introduction to the scheme and how your dog or cat can qualify…
Firstly you will need to get your pet microchipped if it hasn’t already been done.
Secondly you will need to have your pet vaccinated for rabies no less than 21 days before your planned date of travel
At this point your vet will be able to issue you with a passport for your pet which clearly indicates both the microchip number and that your pet has been suitably vaccinated. This passport, much like your own, can be re-used time and again, facilitating repeated travel to Europe if required.
Before you travel one further document will be required; essentially shortly before transportation your pet should be health-checked by a vet who will provide a letter stating that in their professional opinion your pet is healthy and ready for travel. With these two documents in hand you will then be able to take your pet to Europe.
Arranging Pet Transport to Europe
When travelling to Europe on the pet travel scheme it is essential to plan your itinerary as early as possible. Particularly with regards to flights spaces for pets can fill up fast – especially in the summer and around major holiday times (Christmas and Easter for example).
Note that many of the low-cost airlines do not accept pets of any form so if you opt to fly it may be necessary to either take a more expensive airline so that you can both travel on the same plane. Alternatively you could make use of a professional pet transportation company who can arrange separate flights for your pet.
Generally speaking, while we might be a little bit biased, we believe that pet travel companies are the best way to arrange pet flights to Europe for a number of reasons:
- Some airlines won’t deal direct with the public but instead only with pet transport companies
- A pet travel agency can provide a suitable pet travel cage for your dog or cat ensuring that they are airline-compliant
- Pet shipping firms deal with the paperwork-side of the matter every day so they will be able to check over your documentation to ensure it is fully compliant
Looking for pet transport to Europe but don’t know where to start? Why not call our helpful team here at PBS Pet Travel for a chat about your options and a no-obligation quote. You’ll be surprised just easy taking your pet abroad can be when you deal with the professionals.