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Know Before You Go

If you have chosen one of our self-catering cottages in Ireland, France or Italy there are lots of things to consider when taking your dog abroad with you. Initially it’s always a good idea to chat through your requirements with your vet several months before your overseas holiday, they will be up to date with any local diseases (some can affect people) and can advise how to reduce the risks plus go through all the documentation required.

What to do before you go

What to do before you go

Taking your dog overseas is much easier than it used to be for UK residents but there are still conditions to be met particularly when returning to the UK, so last minute holidays aren’t really an option. There are some cost implications to consider which include a valid dog passport, (the price will vary depending on your veterinary practice), plus any ferry or accommodation charges, although at many of our cottages dogs go free. However it will still work out much cheaper than putting your furry friend into kennels and the extra planning will be worth the effort by alleviating any stress for your dog by being left behind.

Microchipping is law now

Since April 2016, the microchipping of dogs is now law in the UK, you need to make sure your dog’s microchip is up to date with your current details. Even the best trained dog can go wandering or get lost particularly when in unfamiliar surroundings. For any help or advice visit the Dogs Trust website, and sometimes they have events where your dog can be chipped for free, or try Indentichip which has a dedicated team working 24 hours a day right through the year reuniting lost dogs with their owners. As well as the microchip your dog should be wearing a collar with an identification tag with your name, address and contact details. When arriving at your holiday home it’s always a good idea to keep your dog on its lead until you’re all familiar with your new surroundings.

Dog getting checked up by vet

Rabies and worms...

All dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before leaving the UK, a clear blood test and note on your passport will be proof of this. Before returning to the UK your dog will need to be treated for worms 24 hours before departure and recorded on your pet passport. If your passport isn’t updated your dog may not be able to travel with you.

Dog Passport

Your vet will then issue your dog passport under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) and you must comply with their current requirements when returning to the UK. Your unique microchip number will be recorded on your dog’s passport. The passport will remain valid as long as it meets the current UK entry requirements. The cost of dog passports can vary widely visit Money Supermarket to compare quotes.

Tick Treatment

One other thing to consider is Tick Treatment, not compulsory but advisable, you may want to invest in a protective band or collar to help protect against any ticks, mosquitoes and flies, these are easily available to buy in many major pet stores.

Returning to the UK

Your dog must be seen by a Vet at least 24 hours before your intended date and time of departure for the UK, they will sign and date your dog’s passport and administer worming treatment. When checking in with the ferry company they will scan your dog’s microchip and check the passport. If using Eurotunnel visit the ‘pet check’, look out for the sign left of the entrance, before getting your boarding pass. Your dog will be scanned to make sure the microchip matches the passport, they will also check for vaccinations against rabies and treatment against worms. If they don’t meet the current criteria they may not be able to return with you so check and double check again that everything is in order.

Returning to the UK

If flying with your dog you will need to check with the appropriate airline on their requirements but they will all insist on a purpose made travel container. It is essential to purchase one that is large enough to accommodate the animal comfortably, they should be able to stand up and turn around, and give them time to familiarise themselves with it before the journey. A blanket or cool mat should be provided for extra comfort. Allow plenty of time so your dog can exercise and relieve him/herself before the journey. Check with the travel company about available exercise areas.

Driving Abroad

You may have a long journey once you have crossed the English Channel or Irish Sea and keeping your dog secure in the car is very important. A travel carrier is the best idea or specially designed harnesses attached to the rear seat safety belt are advisable. The journey may be hot so stop off lots of times for your dog’s sake and yours, get there safely and not too quickly, make the journey part of the holiday. Avoid exercising your dog at the hottest time of the day and make sure there is lots of water and shade when you do stop. You could even invest in a heat reflective cool coat to help keep them comfortable. A day or two before travelling reduce your dog’s food intake and on the day of travel feed them as early as possible. When returning to the UK check out approved journey routes by the Pet Travel Scheme which will highlight places to stop off and exercise areas on route.

Ferry travel with your dog

Ferry Travel

If travelling by Ferry, making sure you dog is comfortable is important, feed them well before you board, doing so later may make them travel sick, leave water in the car in a non-spill bowl. Exercise is key, give them plenty before you board, doing so will make them less restless in the car. Maybe even leave them some toys to keep them occupied. Make sure the car has enough ventilation, so open a window or two enough so plenty of air can get in the car. Leave your dog some bedding so they feel comfortable and give them plenty of room to move. Companies like Brittany Ferries cater for your dog on board too with kennels and dog friendly cabins on some of their ferries with the added benefit of either an exercise area or a promenade for you and your pooch to get some air. DFDS, Stena Line & Irish Ferries also provide on-board kennels for your pet on some routes.

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