Here’s the Lintbells guide on how to travel with a dog or cat. With a little bit of planning and prep, you’ll be making some amazing memories for all the family…
Happy holidays for pets and people
In 2016, it was estimated that over 40 * of the UK population share their lives with a pet. So it comes as no surprise that more and more of us are taking our dogs . So – in plenty of time to book that summer break – here’s the Lintbells guide on how to travel with a dog or cat. With a little bit of planning and prep, you’ll be making some amazing memories for all the family…
How to travel with a dog or cat
Practically speaking, there are a few things to consider before your pet joins you on holiday. Where can you go? How will you get there? Can you find accommodation that welcomes pets? And will a happy holiday for your pet be good fun for people, too? Let’s take a look at the considerations one by one...
Where to go – Margate, Marbella or Martinique?
Travelling with pets is much easier than it used to be. With more and more pet friendly holiday cottages, campsites and even hotels welcoming furry friends, a UK-staycation is a great option if you don’t want to wave goodbye to your furry family member. And thanks to the Pet Passport scheme, travelling overseas is more possible than ever before, too.
What’s a pet passport?
Dogs, cats and ferrets can now get their own passport to travel within the EU, and to a surprisingly large number of other countries – from Antigua to the US Virgin Islands! You can find the full list here. But before you book flights or ferries, think about your pet’s temperament and physical fitness – how will they find the destination temperature and lifestyle? And will they be OK on the journey?
How will you get there?
If you’re planning on travelling within the UK, transport’s easy – jump in the car, or book your seats on the train. There’s ideas, tips and advice for a great trip in our blog Travelling with dogs - our top tips for happy journeys. But what if you’re planning something more exotic…?
Cats and dogs by ferries and channel tunnel
The easiest way to travel within Europe with your pet is to take a short ferry crossing or use the Eurotunnel. As you'll be travelling in your own car, they simply stay in their travel box or crate in your car during the crossing. For longer crossings, it’s sometimes possible to book dog-friendly cabins – with access to a deck for short walkies and toilet breaks. Some ferries also have on-board kennels, but these can be quite an unnerving experience for more sensitive dogs – do your research and be sure your pet can cope before booking their place. For cats, don’t forget to take their litter tray to keep them comfortable in your car.
Pets on planes
Both dogs and cats can travel on planes, though different airlines have different rules about how and where in the plane – cheapflights regularly updates this overview guide. Smaller pets (under 8kg including carrier) are sometimes allowed in the cabin with you, though in many cases, pets have to travel in the hold as ‘cargo’. If your dog is older, or of a nervous disposition, this isn’t always the kindest option. Weigh up the options, and think about whether your pet may be happier staying home with family, friends or a pet sitting service, or having a little holiday of their own in kennels.
Is it possible to travel with a dog on public transport?
Yes. But you'll need to be committed and organised, and your dog will need to be confident and outgoing. Unfortunately, you can’t take a dog on the St Pancras foot-passenger Eurostar, but you can book a kennel on some foot-passenger ferry services, including DFS.
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) overseas
BSL varies from country to country, so be sure to check the rules before you book your holiday. Restrictions vary from country to country, and sadly often includes popular breeds like Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and English Bull Terriers. However, your dog may still be able to join you on hols – they just might have to stay on-lead and wear a muzzle. The best place to find more details is your destination country’s government website or embassy.
Where to stay – pet-friendly accommodation
There are more pet-friendly accommodation options out there than ever before. Accommodation search sites now usually an include a ‘pet-friendly’ filter, so you’re no longer limited to self-catering from pet-friendly specialists like Dogs Trust Cottages.
AirBnB can also be a great place to find unique pet friendly accommodation, and we’ve had some brilliant stays through Canopy and Stars – from quirky shepherd's huts to more luxe treats. It’s also good to know that some major chains have a pet-friendly policy too. In the UK, Hotel Du Vin properties, and many Best Western hotels are dog friendly. Travelodge are also pet-friendly, though you’ll pay £20 a night extra. The rather brilliantly named PetsPyjamas offers a concierge service if you’re feeling flush, while at the other end of the scale, check out Pitch Up’s dog friendly campsites.
Having fun travelling with dogs and cats
Perhaps the most important thing to consider before including your furry best friend in your holiday plans is will you all have fun? This depends on what you enjoy doing – and your pet’s ure. If you’re an outdoorsy sort with an outgoing dog, it’ll be happy holidays all round.
Equally, if you’ve got a confident cat who enjoys exploring new places, the pleasure of being with you will outweigh potential stress. However, if your ideal holiday is a bustling city break and your dog is nervous in traffic, they may be happier staying home.
Holiday happiness in 6 steps
- Check your pet insurance – if you’re going to take your pet overseas, you may need extra cover for any vet expenses.
- Be health-aware – research local vets near your destination, be up to date on vaccinations, and take a copy of their medical history and vaccination record in case of emergencies.
- Bring home comforts – a bed, blanket or favourite toy that smells of ‘home’, plus a spare collar and lead just case.
- Don’t forget dinner – dogs and cats don’t adapt to dietary changes as well as humans, so to avoid tummy troubles, bring food from home.
- Ask for advice – why not ask for top pet-friendly destination recommendations on our Facebook page? There’s a community of nearly 10,000 pet-parents ready to suggest great beaches, lunch spots and local pet-friendly gems in the UK and beyond!
- Check out our general travel tips –and plan a pet-friendly journey.
Our last word on travelling with your dog or cat? Alway plan ahead and be prepared! Though we live in an increasingly pet-friendly world, there are always eventualities it’s hard to plan for, so always keep food and water handy, pack a pet first aid kit. There are supplements that can support travelling pets, too.
Keep calm and travel on!
You may also consider supporting your dog with a calming supplement like YuCALM Dog. Dogs can find new things a little stressful, and the clever combination of scientifically proven ingredients make a tail-wagging difference, by supporting natural calming pathways in the brain. It’s an effective way to help reduce stress and support dogs to become more happy and playful. What's more, it's all natural – To see best results, start 4-6 weeks before you set off.
It’s also worth packing some YuDIGEST Plus for Dogs – and cats, actually! Just like people, pets can don’t always thrive if they eat something they shouldn’t or aren’t used to. so everyone can quickly get back to having a happier holiday!
Do you travel with your pet? What are your top tips for happy travels with your dog or cat? Please do leave a comment below – or say hello on our Facebook page.