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Vet's Clinic with Liam Moriarty

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Travelling abroad with your pet

It's coming up to holiday time, so here's everything you need to know about travelling abroad with your dog! Next week we will give you the lowdown on Staycations with your pet!

Vet Liam Moriarty

Taking your pet with you on holidays.

Obviously taking your pet with you in Ireland is quite straight forward. There are many hotels, bed and breakfasts and holiday homes that are pet friendly.

Make sure to phone ahead to warn them that you are bringing your dog. For long car journeys take regular rest stops and make sure your dog has something to drink. Make sure to leave your windows slightly open if you must leave your dog in the car - dogs can very easily die in hot cars. Remember they can't take off their coat so can overheat much more easily than humans.

A car safety harness is a must, it is also possible to get non spill drinking bowls for the car - otherwise a bottle and regular stops will do. If you have a van or a hatch back a travel crate can be quite comfortable for your pet. Your cat should always be restrained. Most pets can travel fine but for long journeys a prescription to stop vomiting might be an idea. There is a new medication that stops vomiting without causing sedation so you can ask your vet about this.

Dogs generally love to travel with their owners - however they are not welcome everywhere - there are some good websites available with pet friendly locations.

Most dogs can swim quite well but if you are going boating with your dog it may be worthwhile to consider a life jacket - these can be obtained from online pet shops.

Make sure your pet is properly identified with a tag on its collar. If you are going abroad get a tag with your mobile number and the international dialling code on it.

Travelling to the UK is quite straightforward. There is no pet passport required and you can travel on the ferry with your pet. For both Ireland and the UK it is wise to make sure that your regular vaccinations are up to date but there are no special vaccinations needed.

If you are travelling to the continent you will need to get a pet passport. Your vet will need to apply for a pet passport from the Department of Agriculture. For this you will need to have a microchip implanted into your pet for identification. Your pet will need to be vaccinated against rabies and will also need to have a blood test to prove that the vaccine has worked.

On your return from the continent you will need to have your pet treated for ticks and tapeworms within 48 hours of getting the ferry/plane. This is very important and your pet may be quarantined if this is not done. Animals in European countries can carry certain diseases such as rabies, echinococcus (a horrible tapeworm that can infect people and cause serious illness) and also some tick-borne diseases. Ireland (and England) do not have these diseases and we don't want anyone's pet to bring them back from holidays - so this is why there are so many precautions.

Travelling beyond Europe varies widely from country to country - usually pet owners travelling further a field only bring their pets if it is a one way trip. The rules are set by the country you are entering so you need to check with their authorities what you need before you travel with their pet. We have had clients who have moved to Australia with their pets - this can involve quite a bit of preparation and expense (in total about 3000 euro according to one client). Australia takes disease control very seriously - there is a period of quarantine when your pet arrives as well as a number of blood tests and checks to be done before you travel. Talk to your vet in good time if you are thinking of moving country.

Other countries have different infectious diseases that we don't have. For example in the USA regular treatment for heartworm is essential. Make sure when you are travelling with your pet that you find out what veterinary services are available locally. Also check with your pet insurance company that your pet is covered while you are away.

Flying with your pet - this can be very expensive. Not all airlines allow pets to fly so the best thing to do if you intend to bring your pet is check this before booking your own flight. Clients regularly inform me that flights for the dog were more expensive than their own, or that the dog had to take more than one flight because some airlines wouldn't allow them to fly.

Air travel can be stressful for your pet. A DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) collar or some kalm-aid may be useful to de-stress. If your pet is a really nervous traveller your vet may prescribe anti-anxiety medication.

A health check before your pet travels is essential - this is particularly important for older pets. If your pet is used to travelling it usually will do fine, however if you have an older pet who has never been away from home before maybe you should consider a staycation, a house minder or finding a good local boarding kennels or cattery - we'll have more on that next week!