Thanks to the UK Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) four-legged friends can fly anywhere in the world and avoid a lengthy, and no doubt traumatic, stay in quarantine upon return.
Paws for thought – here’s our handy guide to making a passenger of your pooch. (The gorgeous image, above, is by Scarleth White)
Well in advance of your flight…
In order to protect the UK from rabies, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has strict rules controlling the entry of animals in the country. Make sure your dog meets these requirements a few months ahead of the trip.
Before your dog can travel s/he needs to be…
• vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before departure.
• given his/her own passport
• treated for tapeworm
Booking your flight…
When buying your ticket, check with each individual airline to see what their policies are in regards to transporting animals. Making enquiries via email ensures conversations are documented. Don’t travel at the hottest or coolest parts of the day. And, where possible, select a direct flight, which are usually shorter and avoid the ordeal of changing planes.
In the lead-up to your flight…
Taking your pup to the vet before the trip to make sure s/he’s well. It’s not advisable for any puppy younger than 3 months, elderly dog, pregnant dog or dog in ill health to fly, and nervous or skittish dogs don’t make good travellers either. In addition, some destinations require a certified health check 24-48 before travel.
Few airlines allow dogs to travel inside the cabin (and in those cases the dog has to be very small). Most dogs have to travel in a crate inside the cargo hold. Once you have your ticket, get clear details on the kind of crate that your airline requires.
A vet can advise on the best-sized crate for your dog – big enough to comfortably lie down, stand up and turn around.
Add food and water dispensers that attach to the front of the crate – they’re less likely to spill and have the added convenience of being refillable from the outside.
Get your dog used to the crate at home. You can put some comfy bedding inside it and maybe even use treats to encourage them to try out the crate. Putting them in the crate for a night or two before the flight helps with acclimatisation.
Include a feeding schedule for a 24-hour period and any medical information on the crate in case of delays.
Double check your dog’s flight information corresponds exactly with your own. It’s worth inspecting every piece of documentation attached to the crate to rule out oversights and errors. If something looks wrong, contact the airline straight away.
On the day of your flight…
If your destination airport has an Animal Reception Centre (few airports do), fax your dog’s pet passport and flight details there.
To reduce travel sickness, don’t feed your pup for at least two hours before the flight.
Right before you leave for the airport, go for a long walk so your dog is well exercised, relaxed and relieved.
Put a luggage tag on your dog’s collar displaying your name and home and abroad contact details.
Provide food and water with your dog’s crate.
Guide dog owners can find further information on the UK Guide Dog website.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…