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Travelling with pets?

Can’t bear to be without your beloved pet whilst on holiday? It’s now easier than ever to bring them abroad, but before you pack their passport there are a few things you should know.

  • Cats, dogs or ferrets moving to/from EU Member States must be identified by a microchip. The number on this microchip should match the number on their passport.
  • These pets must also be accompanied by a health certificate stating the animal has been vaccinated against rabies. This vaccination must be administered by a Veterinary Practitioner, made a note of in Section IV. Vaccination Against Rabies on their EU Passport and be signed, dated and stamped.
  • Although it’s not required if you are travelling with them to/from Ireland to/from Britain, Finland, Norway, or Malta, it’s a good idea to get your dog vaccinated against tapeworm.
  • If you’re travelling by plane, research whether your pet is to be carried in the cabin or as excess baggage. As the Department of Agriculture doesn’t require that pets must be carried as manifested freight, it is up to each individual airline to decide where to place your pet. Click here for a list of airlines and ferries that carry pets to/from Ireland.
  • If you’re crossing by water and taking the ferry, make sure to book a place for your pet in advance. Whether you’re bringing your car or travelling by foot, every pet must be crated and situated in the car deck of the ship. Ships have kennel facilities on board so it is imperative that you book a place for your pet or else leave them in your car. For more information, please see Irish Ferries.
  • Every Irish pet travelling outside of Ireland to another EU Member State must have a passport. Private Vets in Ireland will issue these directly to pet owners. Although you don’t need to have your pet’s photograph on their passport, it’s a good idea to bring it with you to the vet. The dimensions of the picture should be 6cm wide and 4cm long and must only show your pet in colour. Make sure to check the passport afterward and that all entries are correct. If any information is incorrect it could lead to your pet being detained when you try to travel.
  • The above requirements also apply to assistance dogs. Although the placement of assistance dogs on planes is entirely up to airlines, ferries allow them to be carried on deck. They must wear their special guide dog harness at all times. You should contact your travel provider a few days in advance so they are prepared to assist.
  • In the days leading up to your departure, make sure your pet has gotten plenty of exercise. Burned off energy means they are more likely to be settled – and you won’t feel as guilty about crating them if they’re ready for a nap.
  • Make sure their collar is loose enough so that you can fit two fingers through it before you leave them. You should remove any stray leashes inside their crate, too. It’s a good idea to leave them some toys to play with, but don’t overcrowd their crate or leave them with anything that could be hazardous during some rough turbulence.
  • If your dog doesn’t normally sleep in a crate, practice the concept beforehand. It’s important not to treat it like a prison – open and close the door for them, showing them that they can enter and exit when they want.
  • It’s a given, but do make sure they’re not travelling on a full stomach or bladder. Provide access to some water – just enough to hydrate them – before you leave.

The idea of bringing your pets abroad with you can certainly seem like a nice idea, but pet-owners should consider the efforts involved.

Many people leave their pets at home while they holiday, and it’s always a worry that you’ll get delayed and incur higher costs if you’re paying to have your pet looked after. With AA Travel Insurance, you’re covered for Kennel and Cattery fees up to €200 per 24-hour period that you are delayed due to a medical emergency.

Click here to find out more about AA Travel Insurance.

Information gathered from The Department of Agriculture and Food, and Irish Ferries.

Image: Flickr