43% of us in the UK own a pet of one kind or another. For many of us, myself included, a pet often becomes part of the family. Freud, the father of psychotherapy, famously mourned for seven months after the death of one of his first dogs. So, what could be better than to share our holidays with our animal companions? For me, a family holiday wouldn't be the same without our Irish Terrier, Toby. In fact, sometimes it seems we have more pictures of Toby than the famous sites we're meant to be visiting. And, of course, we don't have to worry about how he might be treated if we left him alone in a kennel while we were off enjoying ourselves.
One thing to note is that, despite having their own passports, most pets still aren't allowed to travel on their own!
There are no requirements if you are taking your dog or cat to the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man from mainland UK as long as you don't go outside those countries on your journey.
Other countries are listed below:
Countries in the European Union:
Austria, the Azores, the Balearic Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Canary Islands, Ceuta, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the Faroe Islands, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Gibraltar, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Melilla, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
Countries Outside the European Union:
Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Chile, Croatia, the Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico Monaco, Montserrat, Netherlands, Antilles, Singapore St, Lucia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, St Helena, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & The Grenadines, San Marino, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, USA, Vanuatu the Vatican, Wallis & Futuna.
As you can see, many countries are part of the scheme and there is a good chance that you can take your pet with you. The next step is paying a visit to your vet to get all the vaccines and tests. Don't worry though, they'll be well aware of what you need. After that you'll need to get your pet's passport sorted out.
When my children were young, I'm sure the thought of a pet passport would have made them giddy with delight. However, pet passports are a vital part of taking your pet abroad. It's your responsibility to make sure you have everything up to date.
To go in or out of the UK you'll need an EU Pet Passport. The passport shows that your pet has been microchipped, had a rabies vaccine and a satisfactory blood test showing the vaccine worked.
In the UK you will need to find a government-authorised vet known as a local Veterinary Inspector (LVI). There is a good chance that your local vet has a resident LVI but if not, they should be able to tell you where the nearest one is. You can also contact your local Animal Health Office to find the nearest LVI to you. DEFRA doesn't charge vets for passports so if you are charged a fee for this, it shouldn't be too steep.
Once you have your Passport you'll need to get it filled in. Sections I-V of the passport are the ones that you'll need to get your vet to complete.
What your vet will need to fill in your pet's passport:
For more information on everything you need, check out the DEFRA wesbite
So, now your pet has been to the vet and you have your pet passport the next step is booking the ferry and going on the journey. Using the AFerry.co.uk booking form you can book tickets for your pet online with the following ferry companies:
All you have to do is choose the number of human passengers in the booking form in the top left corner and then select your pet options on the next screen.
However, these aren't the only companies that you can book pets with. For companies not on the list above please contact us before you make your booking. Call us on 0844 5765503 (this is a national rate line) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More operator specific information about taking pets on ferries can be found on the ferry company pages above.
Despite having their own passports, most pets still aren't allowed to travel on their own!
So now you know the ins and outs of taking your pet abroad and on board. Now there's no need to leave your dog or cat at home - real family holidays include the family pet!