Dog Travel

Rise in Pet Owners Holidaying Overseas Prompts Reminder to Always Check Pet Passports Before Travelling

New research out this week revealed that over a third of vets have highlighted a rise in pet passport requests over the last 12 months and that  one-in-10 owners now take their pet abroad with them, according to Direct Line Pet Insurance.

While popular destinations across France and Spain attract dog owners, no doubt due to their sunny climates and relatively easy journey from the UK, fellow pet owners who have encountered problems while travelling with their dogs have highlighted to us their top tips to anyone travelling with their pet this Summer.

Marie-Laure Lowe from West Sussex owns a Yorkshire Terrier named Leo. She recounted a story for us where she recalled being refused passage when boarding at the French Eurotunnel to travel back to the UK because their pet passport did not have matching stamps applied by the French vet where they were living and the two stamps had one day difference.

She says they had to stay over in Calais and go to the vets for the second time in two days and wait a further 24 hours to be allowed to travel across to UK. This happened nine years ago and in those days the time between the animal going to the vet for the tablet to take and the crossing was 24-48 hours before travelling.

In her years of travelling since then, she has also seen other pet owners encounter similar problems which she puts down to European vets not seeing pet passports often enough and therefore not fully being aware of the latest regulations.

Her advice to fellow pet owners is "Please do not automatically assumed the vets have not made a mistake. There are many pages in the passport which need tobe filled or checked by them and the visit will cost you a fee. Nowadays we always check what the vet has stamped on the passport."

Fionna Ashman from Kidwelly, South Wales, who also runs Lizzie's Barn Animal Sanctuary, told us about her experiences when travelling with her chocolate Chesepeake Bay Retriever, Syd to Spain by Ferry telling us that she was refused entry back to the UK after it was discovered her vet had failed to complete the passport correctly. She says she was able to leave the UK with the same passport but has to obtain a replacement passport to return.

Her advice to others travelling is similar to Marie-Laure, she says, "Be aware of DEFRA's veterinary guidelines yourself. Check you know what you have to comply with. If travelling by ferry, it's well worth looking into the pet friendly cabins for your journey. Syd loved it."

Fionna's advice echoes findings from the research Direct Line have released which revealed that awareness of what pets need to travel is widely varied among dog owners.

While owners are extremely aware that they have to have their dog microchipped (87 per cent), one in eight are not aware that their dog has to be treated for tapeworm before returning to the UK, despite it being an official requirement for re-entry.

What you need to know to travel overseas with your dog

The rules when bringing dogs and cats back into the UK are clear.

They must have been microchipped, have a pet passport (or third country official veterinary certificate), have been vaccinated against rabies and dogs must also have a tapeworm treatment when returning from a number of different countries.

Your pet must also arrive in the UK no more than five days before or after the owner. If owners do not comply with these rules, they risk their pets having to be quarantined when re-entering the UK.

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line said: “Our pets are such a big part of our lives that it’s not surprising we are willing to tailor our holidays to accommodate taking them away with us. When taking pets abroad, planning in advance is vital.  Owners need to have the right documentation, up to date vaccinations and know that where they are staying is accepting of their pets. Getting a tapeworm treatment in the country you are visiting can often be a particular challenge, especially if you don’t speak the language, so do your research beforehand and make sure you know what facilities are available.”

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