Pet Travel Safety Day

Whether it’s a quick trip to the local park, a ferry crossing to the continent or a worldwide adventure – our pets are travelling further than ever before. Did you know there’s even a National day for it? 2nd January was National Pet Travel Safety Day. Whether it’s local or long distance travel, we’re here to help with some tips for keeping your pets happy and safe.

On the roads

It is now a common sight to see dogs travelling with their owners in cars and other vehicles. However it is a legal requirement that dogs or other animals travelling in motor vehicles are suitably restrained either using a seatbelt harness, dog guard or dog crate to avoid the driver becoming distracted. This is under Rule 57 of the Highway Code and if this is not adhered to you could be looking at a fine anywhere from £100 to £5000.

Furthermore, if your animal is not properly restrained, your car insurance policy may be invalid and any claims made may not be covered. From a safety point of view, there is a huge difference between your pet’s weight when stationery to when they are involved in a vehicle crash. For example, a 32kg dog, travelling at 30mph in a crash can weigh up to the equivalent of 100kg, leading to much more damage to you and your pet.

 

Before travelling with your pets always consider the following points;

  • Dogs and other animals can die in hot cars. Never leave an animal in a vehicle on a hot day and ensure they always have enough ventilation whenever they are in the vehicle.
  • Travel sickness can be a problem for many pets when travelling. It is a good idea to withhold food for 2 hours prior to travel if possible to try and avoid this. If you are going on a longer journey, consult your vet first to decide if your pet needs anti-nausea medication. Long periods of vomiting could lead to your pet becoming dehydrated. If you have a new pet, take them for short journeys in the car and build it up gradually. Starting from a young age, usually will help your pet become used to travelling.
  • Always take regular breaks for toilet stops and to allow your pet time to have a drink. If you can exercise your pet prior to a journey, and if needed on a quick break during the journey they should settle more during the ride.
  • If your pet becomes anxious when travelling then try building it up gradually. There are herbal remedies such as DAP, Feliway or Pet Remedy which may help to calm your pet or speak to your vet if you feel a sedation drug is needed. Consider if your pet really needs to go on the journey, if it causes them so much stress.

Dogs and other animals, as long as well restrained and well behaved, may be allowed on buses. It is always down to the discretion of the driver. There may be a charge for them and if they cause a nuisance, you may be asked to remove them from the bus.

On trains and tubes

Dogs, cats and other small animals are allowed on trains and most train companies will allow two well behaved pets per person free of charge. If your animal takes up a seat however, you will be charged a normal fare. Like the buses, if your pet causes a nuisance then you and your pet will be asked to leave the train. Dogs must be suitably restrained and other animals must be contained within a basket. Only Guide or Assistance Dogs are allowed in the Restaurant carriage.

On the Tubes, dogs are allowed but must be carried on escalators. If Guide or Assistance dogs have been trained on escalators then they are the exception to this rule. Black cabs are also regulated by TfL so allow Guide and Assistance dogs to travel free of charge. Pet dogs are carried at the driver’s discretion.

By Air

When travelling outside of the UK, your pet must have a Pet Passport and comply with all the requirements of the country you are travelling to.  This also include ensuring the requirements of re-entry to the UK are met too. Only assistance dogs are allowed in the aircraft’s cabin but this must be discussed with the airline to see their individual conditions. Other dogs and pets are in the hold. It is important to discuss travel plans with your airline, travel company and vet as soon as possible. Sometimes the vaccinations, blood tests and paperwork required can take several months. Your pet will need a crate and bowls for food and water as required. Consider your pet carefully before deciding on travelling with them. It is not advisable to travel very young, very old or pregnant pets.  Similarly if your pet is likely to become stressed then consider if they should travel or if sedation is needed from your vet.

By Sea

Pets can travel on some ferries but it will be up to the individual company to decide on their policy. There may be a charge. Like with air travel, if you are leaving the UK then you will need to comply to the regulations for pet travel abroad.

Pet Passports

Currently to travel within the EU your pet requires a Pet Passport, rabies vaccination and parasite treatment depending on the destination country. This may change depending on Brexit and could require instead a health certificate based on blood tests after a pet’s rabies vaccination. This is to prove your pet has mounted enough of an immune response to be covered by the vaccination. If you are planning on travelling with your pet abroad then always discuss plans with your vet well in advance of your travel.

 

Thanks for reading and we wish you all happy and safe travels with your pets.