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Humans have been indulging in air travel for a fair few years now; and for a while, our furry friends and cuddly companions were able to travel in the cabin with us. However recently times have changed, and most airlines insist that pets should be confined to the hold for the duration of the flight. If you’re sending a pet overseas, or they are accompanying you during a trip abroad, there are a few things to consider: read our handy guide here for more information.

Read up on country-specific regulations

Depending on where you are headed to, you may find there are regulations and sanctions in place which prevent you from bringing your pet with you altogether. Within the EU, it is easier to transport pets; further afield countries are often strict yet do receive animals, provided they are subject to medical checks and imposed quarantine on arrival. This can be stressful for you and your pet – so it’s worth weighing up whether you want to go through this or whether your pet is best left at home on this occasion. In unfortunate cases, unauthorised unexpected pets can be put down by authorities if they are found to be poorly or do not meet exacting travel standards – so it is very important that you check the rules on pets and animals at your destination prior to travel.

Pet Passports

In order to travel, your pet will need a passport. This is issued by a vet, who will take a look at your pet and ensure they are fit to fly following a full medical review. Your pet will not be able to travel without a pet passport – so it’s vital that you obtain one well before you need to travel as having to get one last minute could delay your departure.

Medical certificates and jabs

In line with country-specific regulations, your pet may need certain medical checks and vaccinations before they travel. These can be checked with the destination country. It’s also worth remembering that there are also regulations which apply when returning to the UK. For example, your pet must be micro-chipped, vaccinated against Rabies and treated for Tapeworm. You will also need to travel within 5 days of your pet – otherwise you may be subject to a more complicated process.

Check out airport specifications before you fly

Transportation of animals is now commonplace in most cargo terminals; however some are better equipped to receive pets than others. Heathrow Airport are currently investing in a ‘pet terminal’ complete with comfortable living quarters and a play area for their non-human passengers. However at other airports, pets are usually processed with the rest of the cargo, so it’s unlikely they will be able to leave their box or receive special attention if staff are busy. If you’re especially concerned about the welfare of your pet, it might be worth flying from an airport with appropriate facilities which will better suit their needs.

Ensure a comfortable ride for your pet

Invest in a good quality cage for your pet which is safe, comfortable and secure. All too often pets arrive at the airport in battered old cages, or hard crates which offer them no buffer against knocks and bumps they may experience during transportation or in the hold of the aircraft. Travelling is incredibly stressful for pets, because often they are separated from their owner and are unaware of what is happening to them, surrounded by new smells, strange people and loud noises. Try to minimise this stress by providing them with a comfortable, safe box to travel in which is not too large or small; and remember that stressed pets can chew and hurt themselves in a box which is not up to scratch.

For more information on the transportation of unusual or specialist shipments, please take a look at our services page or get in touch.

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