Travelling with Pets

I love going on holiday as much as the next person but since getting my beloved Boston Terrier a year ago my trips away are always a little more difficult because I hate the thought of leaving him at home.

Years ago the idea of taking your pooch away on holiday was impossible with strict quarantine laws meaning you’d have to wait months to be reunited (not much good if you were just having a fortnight away!) However, the Pet Travel Scheme now makes it pretty easy for your furry friend to join you by the pool sipping on a pina colada (or maybe a bowl of milk.)

If you are travelling from the UK to another country cats and dogs can re-enter the UK as long as they follow the rules of the scheme, which differ depending in where you are travelling from. If you are travelling back to the UK from the EU or from one of the listed non-EU countries there are simple guidelines of what you need to do to ensure your pet can disembark (no pun intended) and be waiting for your in baggage claim without any hitches. Here are the rules…

  1. Have your pet microchipped. Unless your pet is microchipped so that they can be properly identified they won’t be going anywhere so get this done first.
  2. Have your pet vaccinated. Your pet MUST be vaccinated against rabies, boosters must be kept up todate and you must have a record of this. There is a 21 day waiting period after the first vaccination date, after this a waiting period does not apply for subsequent trips to the UK.
  3. Get your pet travel documentation. For animals travelling from an EU country you should get an EU pet passport. If you are travelling form a non-EU country you need to obtain a third country veterinary certificate (Croatia, Gibraltar, Norway, Switzerland and San Marino also issue pet passports.)
  4. Tape worm treatment (only applies for dogs.) All dogs must be treated for tapeworm by a vet no less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before your arrival back to the UK.
  5. Arrange for your pet to travel with an approved airline on an approved route. This is the tricky bit! You need to contact the airline you wish to fly with to find out what their policies for transporting animals are. Some may allow small dogs in the cabin (usually under 8kg) and some may only let them in the hold. Airlines may only deliver pets back to certain airports in the UK so make sure before you book your plane ticket that you are catching the same flight as Rover! Some airports will only accept pets back into the UK Monday to Friday too so no weekend jaunts! It really is just best to call up and ASK!

So I checked all this out and looked in to the possibility of taking my furry friend away on my next trip to Florida. I know he’d love the sunshine, the sea, the big juicy burgers…but could I get him there?

Virgin Atlantic (the airline I’m travelling with) accept dogs on their flights to Orlando but only from London Heathrow (I live in Manchester.) No problem, they allow dogs to fly alone as long as they are in a secure travel box, there could still be a chance of getting him to the Sunshine State… if it wasn’t for his squished up face that is…Virgin Atlantic (along with several other airlines) do not accept ‘snub’ or ‘pug’ nosed dogs like Boston Terriers, Pugs, or Pekingese because they can struggle to breath in the cabin air. So, it looks like my dreams of lazing by the pool with my Boston have been shot, he’ll just have to settle for 2 weeks in the country at his favourite holiday home and I’ll have a break from early morning walks… maybe it’s not such a bad thing!

If you do want to take your furry friends away with you check out our holiday homes in Spain and Florida for some pet friendly options.

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