Some Pointers for Bringing Your Pet Abroad on Holiday………..
Thankfully we live in a time where there is much more awareness of animal welfare and an understanding of how important animals are in peoples’ lives. For some their presence is vital, guide dogs come to mind, but there are also those who provide emotional support. A topic for another day perhaps.
For the moment we will look at what to do when you opt not to leave your pet at home but to bring them with you on your holiday. After all they might like to ‘get away’ too!
The U.S. is one of the most popular destinations and it is well known that its border control is one that checks down to the last detail. This will apply just as strenuously to your pet. Cats and dogs must be rabies vaccinated and it is mandatory that they have a health check to ensure that they are fit and healthy enough to fly. It is advised to vaccinate against rabies at least a month before the holiday.
Essential for any destination of course is evidence of identification. Your pet should wear a collar, an id tag and be micro-chipped, also providing the temporary vacation address. What a nightmare to lose your little (or big!) darling animal in a foreign and unfamiliar terrain. The American Navy favours microchipping to such an extent that the Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia has made it mandatory, ‘chip your pet or don’t own one ‘! In the U.S. The Centre for Disease Control lays down the guidelines although some states have their own peculiarities eg. ferrets are not welcome in California. All birds require a 30 day quarantine on arrival in the U.S. Pets do not need passports to enter the country but in many instances you will need special Import Permits.
If you are flying to the European Union whether you fly with your pet in the cabin or assign him/her to the cargo hold is an airline pet policy and differs with every airline. Low-cost carries including Easy Jet and Ryanair do not allow live animals on their carriers, although certain exceptions are made for guide dogs. On Aer Lingus flights, no animals are allowed on short haul trips but you can take them on most other flights where they will be transported in the cargo hold. Other airlines like KLM will allow you to take cats and smaller dogs into the cabin with you, once they are kept in a suitable kennel or pet travel bag. Travel by boat may be a more comfortable and less stressful way for your pet to travel as they can be kept in the car or in on-board kennels on ferries.
European Union pet passport applies throughout the European Union and you must ensure that you have the correct documentation for your pet.
Wherever you decide to travel with your pet, you must use an authorised route and where applicable an approved transport company. Eurotunnel and some ferry companies welcome pets on board. Typically, airlines require health certificates that are no older than 10 days even if the receiving country accepts an older one. Some countries, however, require a health certificate to be even less than 10 days. This is an essential point to check.
Also important is to make sure your destination has dog-friendly accommodation. Some hotels will offer an entire ‘pet programme’ with toys for pets, walking and grooming services and even veterinary services. Know in advance what you will be doing while you’re there as you may need to leave your pet in the care of the staff at the hotel while you are engaged in activities they can’t take part in. Also make sure to do some research into how dog-friendly the area is that you intend to visit. This should include a list of dog-friendly attractions, beaches, parks and restaurants in the vicinity. If you are taking a holiday property make sure to bring separate towels for your dog to wipe off dirty or sandy paws from all those frolics beside the sea. Check the holiday home for any loose wires or unsafe objects, and that all windows and doors are secure and closed or locked. It is a good idea to enter the property first without your pet and monitor all rooms. This has the added advantage of leaving your familiar scent in the atmosphere thereby enabling your pet to settle in more quickly.
In most hot countries ticks can transmit nasty diseases to your pet such as canine Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis. They can cause dogs, and cats, incurable damage, necessitating lifelong administration of drugs. If you notice a tick on your pet (do check) it is suggested that it should be doused with alcohol or spirit. This makes the tick contract and allows you to pull it out whole. Leaving a portion of the tick inside their body is likely to cause an abscess. Various forms of tick prevention are available.
Finally do proper research before your trip to find out the contact details and address of emergency animal clinics/vets near to where you are staying. Always scrutinise the requirements of the particular country you intend to visit. Destinations vary and special treatments may be required, eg tapeworm safeguard for dogs. Never take anything for Granted!