Going abroad? Take your pet with you!

Many travel enthusiasts have found that the problem of what to do with their furry friend impacts on their plans. You once had just three options: leave the pet with a caring friend or relative, consign them to a kennel or cattery (costly and not to many pet owners’ tastes) or take the animal with you and have to deal with a lot of red tape and six weeks of quarantine for your pet on your return.

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Yet the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) has made it easier than ever to take your animal abroad – especially for short trips to the continent. Eurotunnel reported earlier this year that there has been a sharp rise in the number of cats and dogs using its Shuttle service, which it welcomes. If you want to do the same, here’s a quick rundown of the things you need to think about…

Get your paperwork in order

There are various things you need to do in order to meet the requirements of PETS, but they are not difficult. Full details are available here, but you’ll need a pet passport and to ensure that your animal has up-to-date vaccinations, certified by a vet.

You should also ensure that your pet insurance covers your animal abroad. Cheaper policies may explicitly exclude overseas cover, so make sure you have comprehensive cover – you don’t want to be stuck with large vet bills while you’re away.

Get the right accessories

Excited or agitated pets are not things you want jumping around your car as they can cause a serious accident by distracting or impairing the driver. A strong and sturdy pet carrier is therefore essential, and you will also need some small-sized toys that will entertain your cat or dog and provide some home comfort in unusual surroundings. A water dish and dried food which won’t spoil are also vital.

Prepare your pet

Cats and dogs typically do not like being penned into carriers, and over a long period of time they may become stressed and anxious. To prevent this from happening, it is a good idea to do a few short practice runs before you go; this way your cat or dog will only be anxious for a short period of time, and will be more used to the situation when it’s time for the long journey abroad.