Taking Your Pets On Holiday – Animal Sitting

  • In the excitement of preparing for a holiday or weekend away, don’t forget to make arrangements for your pets. It can take time to sort out their care, so you should always do this well in advance.
  • Consideration should always be given to your pet’s welfare. Whether you are at home or on holiday with your pet, under the Animal Welfare Act you have a legal responsibility to ensure their welfare and to provide for your pet’s needs. You should carefully consider taking your pets on holiday with you, especially taking them on holiday abroad.
  • Many animals can find the change in routine and environment and the experience of travelling very stressful, so you should carefully consider whether taking your pet on holiday with you is the best thing for them. If you cannot guarantee their safety and whether their needs will be met, it may be better to leave your pet in the care of a responsible person such as a pet sitter whilst you are away.
  • When taking your pet on holiday always make sure that your chosen holiday destination has all the facilities necessary for your pet’s requirements.
  • Always check with your vet that your pet is healthy and safe to travel. If your pet has a medical condition this may not be the case. If your pet requires medication, but is safe to travel, make sure you take this with you. Always make sure that your pet is fully vaccinated, and has had up-to-date flea and worming treatments.
  • You should also make sure that your pet wears a collar with an identity tag with your name and holiday address and contact details on, so if they get lost you can be reunited as quickly as possible.

Taking your pet abroad

  • Subject to the transport company’s agreement and terms, pets can be taken anywhere within the British Isles, including between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
  • If you are planning to take your dog, cat or ferret out of the UK and travel within the European Union (or to certain, non-European countries), it is a legal requirement that each individual pet have a pet passport to avoid quarantine restrictions when you come back to the UK. Information on the rules of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) (including approved countries, carriers and routes), and regulations regarding bringing pets back into the UK, are detailed under PETS or you can call the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Helpline 08459 335577.
  • Further information on the rules and regulations which apply when taking your pet abroad is available from Defra.
  • If you intend to travel abroad, your pet will need to be vaccinated against other diseases than those in the UK, including rabies. Always ask your vet for advice. Furthermore you should be aware that if you take your pet abroad, your pet could be exposed to diseases and health risks that we do not have in the UK. Information on exotic diseases in cats and dogs can be found under the Defra Dog and Cat Travel And Risk Information (DACTARI) Scheme.
  • Further information on diseases your pet may encounter abroad can be found in the British Veterinary Association (BVA) Animal Welfare Foundation leaflet, ‘Taking your pets abroad’

Transporting your pet

For information on the different methods of transporting your pet and how you can help him/her to have a safe, stress-free journey, please see our Transporting your pet factsheet (PDF 92.6 KB)

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