Pet Travel FAQs


What happens if my pet’s microchip will not scan?

If a microchip does not register when scanned, the pet must have a replacement microchip implanted. This should be implanted before rabies vaccination can be performed.

What happens if I already have a passport?

You will be able to travel within Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and to return to Great Britain from Europe. You will not be able to travel to Europe or worldwide with your GB pet passport. If your pet’s passport was issued in Europe or Northern Ireland, you can still use it to travel to Europe and Northern Ireland.

What documents do I need to take my pet on holiday?

The documents you require will depend on what species your pet is and where you are going. Dogs, cats and ferrets can travel within Europe and Northern Ireland with an Animal Health Certificate. More details can be found here. All other species will require an Export Health Certificate for travel to Europe or worldwide. Dogs, cats and ferrets travelling outside the EU will also require an Export Health Certificate. More information can be found here.

Will my pet need vaccinations to travel?

The simple answer is yes! Dogs, cats and ferrets must have had their routine annual vaccinations, and you must carry proof of this with you. These documents will be required for entry to your destination and for return to GB. Other species may require certain vaccinations depending on the destination. Clarification should be sought from the destination country, or from the Export Health Certificate.

What treatments will my pet need before I travel?

Your pet will need to be up-to-date with parasite treatments prior to, during and after travel. This includes treatment for fleas and ticks, roundworms, sand flies if your destination country has them, and tapeworm. Tapeworm treatment must be given before travel to Finland, Malta, Norway, Northern Ireland and Ireland. It does not need to be given prior to re-entering Great Britain from these countries. From all other countries, tapeworm treatment must be given and witnessed by a veterinarian 1-5 days prior to return. It may also be beneficial to invest in some mosquito repellent for your pet!

How will I know my pet is fit for travel?

Your pet must have an assessment by an Official Veterinarian prior to travel. Either an Animal Health Certificate or Export Health Certificate will be required for travel and re-entry to GB, and part of this includes a veterinary examination. If the Official Veterinarian finds your pet healthy, they will sign the papers allowing you to travel. If your pet is not well, has another condition preventing safe travel, or its welfare would be compromised, your pet will not be able to travel.

Where will my pet be during transit?

All methods of transport come with specific requirements for your pet during travel. Please familiarise yourself with these via the government websites well in advance: you may need to purchase a special crate if flying or sailing. Pets should be restrained within vehicles in accordance with the legal requirements of each country. In the UK, dogs must wear a car harness plugged into a seatbelt, or travel in the boot of the car, separated by a dog guard.

My pet gets stressed during travel – can it be sedated for travel?

No, your pet must not be sedated before travel. Sedatives suppress your pet’s essential functions such as breathing and their cardiac output. If your pet had difficulty breathing or another problem developed, they may not be able to respond appropriately under sedation. In extreme cases, this could be fatal. Anxiety relieving drugs that do not cause sedation may be available – speak to your vet about this.

Is travel distressing for pets?

Many pets cope extremely well with travel, and really look forward to going on holiday with their owners. However, the real excitement is being with you: it wouldn’t matter if you took them 2 miles away or 200 miles away! You must bear in mind that your pet’s welfare is paramount. If you are travelling a long way, you should stop at least every 3-4 hours to allow your pet to eat and drink, to rest and to stretch properly. Make sure they know you are with them and care. Airline and shipping companies are well versed in animal comfort and have strict rules to follow during transit. There will also be a veterinarian on-site at all airports and ferry terminals over-seeing pet travel and welfare.

What could go wrong when my pet travels?

There is, unfortunately, a plethora of adverse scenarios that could affect your pet. Some pets may become very distressed during travel, and may require veterinary intervention. Others may be calmed and able to continue after a short break. Delays at airports, ferry terminals and on roads can add long hours to your pet’s confinement. This could result in hunger, dehydration, soft tissue injuries and severe stress. Some pets experience significant travel sickness – it is worth testing your mode of travel before setting off on holiday! Anti-nausea medication will be available from your vet in these cases. Your pet could also develop diarrhoea from a change of water, so keep some rehydration sachets handy.

What do I do if my pet is ill when we are abroad?

You should seek veterinary help from the nearest clinic if your pet is ill whilst you are away. Check where the nearest vet will be before you are travelling. If you are driving or going through several places, make sure you look up several clinics along your route. The vet will need to see your pet’s travel documents (AHC or EHC, vaccination history, microchip or identification details) when you arrive, so keep these safe. You will also need these to get back into Great Britain, so make sure you get them back! If the illness is severe and your pet needs hospitalisation or treatments, your pet insurance company may cover the cost. Check your policy before you travel.