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Everything you need to know about travelling with pets 

Make your journey fun, safe and stress-free

3 minutes

Taking your pets on holiday can be as much fun for them as it is for you. But just like us, they need a little TLC while they're on the road. Here are our top tips for happy travels with your pets. 

  • Use a pet carrier or harness to secure your pet in the car
  • How to prevent travel anxiety in dogs 
  • Plan your journeys and regular stops 

Don't forget to stop for regular breaks!

Taking your pets on holiday? If you have animals, planning a trip should include factoring in their needs too. 

Here are a few pointers on what to remember when you’re looking at your next pet friendly holiday destination. And wherever you're off to, make sure you’ve got your pet insurance sorted. 



EU and non-EU countries

If you’re travelling within the EU, there are fewer restrictions on your travel. You still need to be aware of the regulations though, and it’s good to give yourself plenty of time to get organised.

Gov.uk has the pet travel information you need for when you’re planning your trip.



Plan in advance how you’re going to travel

If you’re flying out to a sunny location for a couple of weeks to get away, taking your pet may not be possible.

Airlines have rules they need to follow for transporting animals, and unless you’re emigrating or relocating, you don’t want to put your dog or cat through the unnecessary stress.

When travelling by plane, train or ferry, you should always contact the company you’re travelling with to confirm their pet travel policies. Remember, there are different rules for assistance dogs too.

Pets can become very anxious and nervous when travelling. There will be new noises and smells, and you won’t always be able to comfort them while they travel, depending on where they're located.  Consider this before you plan to travel, and chat to your vet for advice. 



Travelling with assistance dogs 

If you’re going to fly, you can take your assistance dog in the cabin of the plane when travelling with an airline that has an operating licence issued by an EU country.
You should plan your journey as early as possible. Routes may change and new ones may be added. Some routes are seasonal or irregular so check availability and all your other proposed travel arrangements with the transport company before booking your journey to the uk. Check the costs, requirements and procedures. Companies may have their own additional conditions of travel.
GOV.UK Advice
Plane, ferry and train companies subject to EU law must accept recognised assistance dogs, so there’s no need to worry about having to leave them at home.

If you do need to leave them behind though, the RSPCA has a helpful guide on what you can do.



Leaving your pet with a friend or family

If you have a dog, and you don’t want to leave them on their own, you can ask a friend of family member if they'll look after them while you’re away.

It’s good for your animal to have contact with someone they trust, just as much as it is for you to know they're safe. Then you can enjoy your holiday without having to worry. 



Investigating pet hotels 

Kennels and cattery boarding, or pet hotels, are an alternative option. They look after your pet, keep them safe, feed them regularly and look after their health and welfare too.

Many centres dedicate time for play, regular walking and socialising with your dog or cat so they don’t get lonely. Ask friends or family for recommendations, or search for kennels and catteries in your area. 



Tips for travelling with pets in the car

If you’re driving to your destination, taking your pet with you is a lot easier. Here are some things to remember:

  • Don’t let your animal have the freedom of the car, keep them restrained with a suitable harness
  • If you have a small animal, use a pet carrier – if you use one, the animal must be able to stand, turn around and lay down inside it
  • Don’t feed them their normal amount of food before you travel, cut it in half but feed them at rest stops
  • Remember, they need the toilet and breaks just as much as you, stop every couple of hours 
  • Dogs and cats can get car sick – get them used to travel with short journeys first and feed them around three hours before you leave to prevent motion sickness
  • Taking them for a really long walk before you travel may also help - this will tire them out and reduce anxiety
  • Boredom can be a problem - try a new toy 
  • Don’t let your dog put its head out the window – they can get hurt by flying objects
  • Never leave your pet alone in the car, animals can overheat quickly – the RSPCA has handy hints and information on this
  • Take water with you, have a drinking bowl ready to use
  • When you stop to stretch, put your pet's lead on before you get out of the car so they can’t make a run for it – they may be anxious from being in new surroundings