Pet travel – Tips & Guidelines

dogs-on-beach

Pet travel – Tips & Guidelines

More of us are taking our pets on holiday or in some cases emigrating with our pets for a new start with all the family. Whilst it’s great that we don’t have to leave our furry companions for the summer anymore there are still rules we have to abide by to move our pets between countries. In addition there are a few things you can do to avoid stress and potential illness whilst you are abroad with your pets.

Legal requirements

  • Firstly if you wish to travel to the EU you will need your animal microchipped. By June 2016 it will be a microchippinglegal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped. This provides a form of unique identification as well as allowing your animal to be reunited with you, should they go missing. The procedure is quick and easily performed by your vet in a consult.
  • The next stage is vaccination against rabies virus. All animals travelling to the EU need to be immunized against rabies virus as it is endemic to Europe whereas the UK is a rabies free country. However there is no longer a mandatory blood test following the rabies vaccination. Instead you pet must wait at least 21 days post vaccination until they can travel.
  • Once microchipped and vaccinated, a Pet Passport can be issued. This is a government document with details of your pet and their vaccinations. Your vet is the only person able to issue and complete a pet passport and the vet must be an Official Veterinarian licensed by the government. The passport also needs to be signed by the owner and photocopied by the practice before it can become valid.
  • On returning from the EU your dog or cat will need to be examined by a veterinary surgeon in the country you are travelling from. This is to apply a treatment for ticks and worms in order to prevent introduction of foreign parasites into the British Isles. These treatments must be carried out no more than 5 days and no less than 24 hours before returning into the UK.

More information on pet passports and travel can be obtained from the Animal and Plant health agency or www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad

 

General Hints and Tips

Getting used to the car and movement: Take your pets in and out of the car regularly when it is stationary. For dogs make it a fun and rewarding experience with treats, getting them to sit and wait in the car with a door open. With cats they can be placed in a carrier and placed facing forward on the passenger seat.

Then start with small journeys of a few minutes each, gradually building up time and all the while rewarding them with treats or toys. Do this from a young age if possible.

bowl-waterWater: Always provide water throughout a journey. When making stops offer water and you can even use ice in their bowl during a journey which will melt slowly and not be as messy.

Regular Breaks: Animals should have a break from the constant movement of the car every 2 hours at the most. They need to cool down, take a walk or simply just have time to relax. Plan ahead of time and look for convenient rest stops on the way.

Stress aids – There are some pheromone sprays and calming supplements that can be used in the lead up to travelling.

Feliway is a spray and diffuser that can be used before travel and during travel to reduce anxiety. It is non odourous to us but sends relaxing signals to cats to aid in reducing general stress levels. A similar product is used for dogs called Adaptil. This also comes in a collar that can be worn all the time.

Zylkene is an oral supplement that should be used at least 2 weeks before travel in order to build up its stress reducing properties. A natural product and non sedative it is safe and has been seen to produce good results.

As always, please consult your vet when it comes to travelling and what is required in order to travel as each situation is different.

Enjoy the summer and safe travels to all.
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Kristina Kirk - B Vet Med MRCVS

Originally from Manchester but lived in Yorkshire as a child. I was schooled in Harrogate and went to university at the Royal Veterinary College where I earned my degree in veterinary medicine, graduating in 2011.

My first job was in mixed practice in Cornwall where I spent 2 years looking after everything from rabbits to horses and cattle. After gaining some valuable skills and knowledge as a new graduate I decided to move back to the capital and further my skills in small animal practice at Runnymede Hill Veterinary Hospital, focusing on medicine in particular. I hope to specialise in feline medicine and run a feline clinic one day.

View my other posts

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