It can be heart breaking to leave your beloved pet behind when you go on holiday. Why should one of your family members be left out of the fun? Depending on where you go, you may be able to take your furry friend along.
Within the UK: Road and Rail
The easiest places for travelling with pets are those within the UK. You won’t have to worry about any restrictions or medical compliances like you would when going abroad—all you have to think about is the travelling itself.
Your pet has the same needs as you: food, water, comfort and entertainment. If you are travelling by car, you can easily provide these. You’ll also be more able to take regular breaks in order to let your pet go to the bathroom or stretch its legs. The RSPCA say your pet will travel better if they do not have a full stomach; however, be sure to feed your pets if the journey overlaps with their normal feeding times. When it comes to entertainment, let them have their favourite toy with them and make sure you don’t ignore them. Regularly talking to your pet will help them stay calm.
Travelling by train is a little trickier. You will need to research the companies you’re travelling with to see if they allow pets and make sure you alert the staff on your journey to make sure they are aware. For animals other than dogs, you may want to consider purchasing a travelling carrier that will allow you to transport your pet with ease. Just make sure the carrier is big enough for your animal—they need space to sit and stand with ease, with appropriate ventilation.
Most airlines, including British Airways, require pets to be stored in the hold as cargo (with the exception of registered assistance dogs). This means you have to do everything to ensure that your pet stays happy and comfortable. Choose the most direct flights to your destination to reduce travel time and travel during the coolest time of the day. Cargo-handlers will have had plenty of experience with transporting live animals, so don't get too worried—you’ll see them again very soon!
There are a select number of countries that will accept pets. You will need to check if the country you want to travel to is on the list, then get a pet passport for your companion. This can be obtained from the vet and will include a description of the animal, details of ownership and confirmation of vaccinations against rabies, tapeworm treatment and details of the vet issuing the passport. If you don’t follow the rules set out by the UK government and the government of the country you’re travelling to, your pet may be put into quarantine for up to four months. You will need to make sure that your pet has access to water for the duration of the flight.
Travelling can be very stressful for pets, so it may be beneficial to take them out on short practise trips either in the car or in the carrier you plan to take them in. Train them with a certain toy so that they find comfort in it even when they can’t see you. Reward your pet with treats and cuddles when the journey is over to remind them how good they’ve been!