Travelling from UK Airports with your Pets

For those planning to relocate abroad it seems there are millions of things to do and sort out.

It may be onerous enough a task organising travel for all the family members without the realisation that you have to find out what to do if you are planning to take your pet with you.

We’ve put together a guide which will help you along the way and hopefully make the whole thing less stressful for you and your pet.

Before you go

In recent years it has been made easier with the relaxation of some quarantine laws to travel to Europe with your pet although there are still many countries that follow strict rules on the import and quarantining of animals.

For this reason it is essential that you check your destination country’s regulations before you go. And as quarantine for some animals can still be for up to six months in some countries you may need to begin preparations some months before you travel.

How does your pet travel?

One of the first things to consider is whether your pet travels well. What we mean by that is – if your animal is unaccustomed to travelling in a carrier or other means of restraint inside a moving vehicle, now’s the time to get them used to it.

An animal which is unused to being restrained or carried may be prone to feelings of panic and stress when suddenly confronted with a cage or carrier box of any kind. Make doubly sure that the carrier, cage or harness which you use to transport your pet to the airport is strong enough to contain the animal.

In the case of cats, birds or other small animals it may be advisable to place a cover over the carrier in order to keep them calm on the journey. Another point to consider is food and water, both when you get to your destination and for the journey.

On short haul flights the airline or holiday company will often insist your pet be fed and watered prior to the journey but not during. For long haul flights you will need to establish how and when your pet is be fed and watered and if necessary, provide your own food.

Pack some of your pet’s regular food for when you get to your new home to avoid any upset to the animal’s digestion and to provide continuity.

Veterinary considerations

Secondly, you need to look at all the veterinary requirements that enable your pet to be imported into another country. Different countries have different requirements and we will look at these later in this article.

In general though, consider whether your pet is prone to stress. Many animals when placed into a strange environment can become panicked. If this is the case with yours then it would be a good idea to discuss with us ways to calm your pet to allow it to cope with the journey.

If your animal is taking any long term medications or if it has special dietary needs make sure you have enough of these to last until you reach your destination and make sure the airline carrier is made aware.


Finally, arrange for all your pets vaccinations to be up to date and also make appointments for your pet to receive any additional vaccinations, flea and worming (tapeworm treatment within 5 days of travelling is usually compulsory) treatments which are specific to the country of your destination.

Two of the biggest concerns for countries which allow the importation of pet animals are rabies and Avian Flu, both of which can affect humans. Rabies vaccinations must be administered 21 days before travel.

Remember also to arrange appropriate quarantine accommodation if deemed necessary and locate, and register with if possible, an approved vet in your new country.

With regards to paperwork, all pets travelling within the European Union area must be vaccinated, microchipped and have a pet passport, (the EU Vet Health Certificate) which will state the microchip and vaccination details of the animal and will contain a vet’s letter declaring the animal to be in good health.

Travelling to other countries

In general, find out which vaccinations and treatments are required and appropriate for your destination. Our vets will be the best source of information on this.