21 Dec Travel with pets – Can I travel with my dog?
Whether you’re driving home for Christmas or setting off on a mini border-crossing adventure, there’s lots you need to consider if you want to travel safely and legally with your beloved pooch!
As well as health and safety concerns, you also need to consider how factors such as an impending Brexit might limit or change your requirements if travelling with a furry friend.
We’re answering lots of the most commonly asked pet travel questions to help you prepare for your journey.
Can dogs travel in cars?
In short, yes, afterall, who doesn’t love a road trip with their best mate? However, there are rules which many drivers are seemingly unaware of. The Highway Code Rule 57 states: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.”
So, how do we do that? Sometimes this can mean a cage or crate secured in the boot, if you use a dog walker, you’ve probably seen these in action. If you prefer to have your dog closer, you can opt for an in-car harness to secure your dog. It’s really important to remember that this isn’t just to stop them distracting you and wandering around, it’s also to keep them safe. Should you have your dog walking around the car they could impede your ability to concentrate, cause an obstruction to your line of vision and cause a crash, but also, a dog walking free is much more likely to suffer injury if you have an accident or need to stop suddenly.
Can I use a lead or walking harness to secure my dog for travel?
While it may be tempting to settle for a ‘quick fix’ for short journeys, please don’t be tempted to opt for an improvised restraint. Each piece of kit you buy for your dog should only be used for its intended purpose. In using things like leads or walking harnesses in places of the proper style of car harness, you are putting your dog’s life at risk with things that aren’t rigorously safety tested.
Can I take my dog to Europe?
Yes, you can, but you need to do your research! Read on for what you need to have to take your furry friend across to Europe with you.
What do I need to take my dog to Europe?
If you want to take your dog to Europe by car/ferry, no problem – you just need to ensure your dog is microchipped, has an up-to-date rabies vaccination and a valid pet passport. The vaccination must be done at least 21 days before travel, so you need to factor that into your plans. This advice is for now, while the UK remains in the EU – things will change once we leave the EU.
Always check with your vet for latest travel regulations – your pet’s medical history may also impact your travel options and decisions.
What happens with pet travel after Brexit?
Travel requirements will change depending on what kind of Brexit deal is agreed. Any current pet passport may no longer be valid after Brexit. You will still need to have your dog microchipped and vaccinated, but you will be required to have a blood test at least 30 days after the vaccination and wait a further three months from a clear blood test result before you can travel. You will need a copy of the results and an Animal Health Certificate. There’s lots more advice on this available at gov.uk, but while negotiations continue, you can also check in with your vet about the latest advice. In light of these changes you need to speak to your vet at least four months prior to any intended travel.
Can I take my dog on a plane?
The good news is, where there’s a pet flying will, there’s a way. Most airlines will allow assistance dogs, but you will need to check their individual rules on this. For the rest of the pets, the usual rules mean they need to go in the hold (again, check with your airline).
A lot of the same rules apply whether you’re driving or flying – you still need the rabies vaccination (ringworm too), microchip and pet passport, but as most airlines will only permit dogs to travel in the hold, they will need a suitable travel crate. There are some exceptions for small pets (usually those weighing under 8kg with their carrier included).
So, there you have it….some food for thought if you can’t bear to be without your four-legged friend! Always remember your pet will need insurance just like you do. You can find out more about the policy to suit you, here.