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Considerations

When you have made the decision to take your pet abroad, the next decision is where to go? There are hundreds of destinations to choose from and each has its own charm. At the same time you do need to consider the welfare of your pet whilst in these countries.

Temperature

The UK experiences all the seasons, but other parts of the world have very different weather. It is a good idea to check what the weather will be while you are away. It can be very uncomfortable for pets abroad if the heat is more than they are used to. It can also cause some pets to fall ill through dehydration. In the same way if you are travelling somewhere that is very cold, will your pet be able to cope? A Chihuahua would probably not be happy in the Alps, just as a St Bernard would not be comfortable in the Gobi desert.

To help you plan suitable destinations, the Met Office has details of world climates and forecasts for coming months in locations all over the world. www.metoffice.gov.uk

Pet Friendly

There are many hotels and cottages throughout the world that are more than happy to accept pets. But there are also many that won’t. When you book your holiday make sure you let your travel agent know that you want to take your dog or cat with you. This will help to avoid any nasty surprises when you arrive at your destination. You should also be aware that having your pet with you may restrict the activities or places you are able to go.

Make sure you know what you can and can’t do at your chosen destination so you have a great holiday and you can plan your activities in advance.

Food & Drink

Just as we avoid the water in certain countries, we should also do the same for our dogs and cats. They can become ill from drinking water that they are not used to. Always give your pet bottled water. This will reduce the risk of illness.

You also need to consider what food is available for your pet. Can you get your dog's or cat's favourite food in another country? If the answer is no you should find out the alternatives available. If in doubt, pack enough of your pet’s food to last the duration of your holiday. This way you can be sure that your pet doesn’t fall ill whilst you are away. If you are going to take your own food, you should check to make sure there are no restrictions for importing food types into the country you intend to visit.

PETS

The Pet Travel Scheme can seem daunting. There are many rules and regulations you must follow in order to travel abroad with your pet. But this should not put you off. The rules are there to protect both you and other animals in the UK and abroad. As long as you know what you have to do and you are prepared in advance, your holiday will be without any problems.

Below are the main points you must adhere to in order to travel abroad.

Before leaving the UK your pet must be:

  • Microchipped
  • Vaccinated against rabies
  • Blood tested to confirm that the vaccine has taken effect. This must be at least six months before your pet is going to come back to the UK
  • Covered by an official PETS certificate confirming that all requirements have been met

Before coming back into the UK your pet must be:

  • Treated for certain parasites and ticks by an official veterinary surgeon between 24 and 48 hours before the pet re-enters the UK
  • Covered by a certificate signed by the vet to show that this treatment has been carried out

You need to check to make sure that the country you are going to, or passing through, doesn’t have its own rules and regulations that you have to meet. Some may require further vaccinations or confirmation of your pet being clear of certain diseases. Your vet should be able to tell you about anything you may need for your chosen destination.

From time to time regulations do change. Always consult DEFRA for the latest information about travelling abroad with your pet.