5 Tips For Fun Pet Friendly Holidays

The allure of pet friendly holidays is undeniable. As many of us envisage our ideal break, there’s one companion we’d love to have by our side: our cherished pets.

Whether you’re off exploring the UK’s breathtaking countryside or travelling abroad, here are five top tips to help ensure your pet friendly holidays run smoothly, covering everything from getting pet travel certificates such as the Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to having familiar scented bedding and toys to alleviate anxiety.

Key Points

  • A surge in pet owners (27%) are planning holidays with their furry friends.
  • Dogs are popular travel companions, with 39% of owners planning trips.
  • Staycations in the UK are preferred (21%), while some (9%) opt for abroad adventures.
  • The Animal Health Certificate is vital for European trips with pets.
  • Proper preparation, from insurance to health checks, ensures smooth pet travels.

Choosing Pet Friendly Holidays

A dog running

The fondness for taking pets, especially dogs, on holiday is growing with a staggering 6.9 million dog and cat owners looking to holiday with their furry friends.

When it comes to destination choices, many are favouring the familiar terrains of the UK. 21% of pet owners are opting for a staycation.

However, there’s also an adventurous bunch as 9% of owners are taking their pets abroad, utilising pet passports for their journeys.

5 Tips For Fun, Smooth Pet Friendly Holidays

A dog looking out of a car window

As Alex Cross, Insurance Director at Tesco Bank, commented: “Once you’ve booked your pet friendly holidays accommodation and travel, it can be all too easy to overlook the additional considerations for your pet”.

And to keep the mood happy and ensure you do have a fun holiday, here’s five top tips on what to consider before taking your pet on a staycation or holiday abroad this year:

  1. Mapping Out Your Pet’s Plan
    • The last-minute rush can wreak havoc on a holiday.
    • If overseas travel is on the cards, ensure your destination is pet-welcoming. Consider what pet travel certificates you need, for example an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) or Export Health Certificate (EHC) – see the Government website for more information.
    • For UK breaks, a pet carrier or guard for road trips might be essential.
    • When leaving your pet, daily boarding costs or seeking aid from friends or family is a must-consider.
  2. Budgeting for Additional Costs
    • Make sure you build into your pet budget an element for any pet friendly holidays – they can certainly bring some unexpected expenses!
    • Beyond the obvious like accommodation, keep an eye out for transportation, food, and bedding costs.
    • A little foresight in budgeting can prevent surprises.
  3. Ensuring Comprehensive Protection
    • Unexpected health issues can be both emotionally and financially draining.
    • Research is crucial.
    • Look closely at buying pet insurance, weighing flexibility and budgetary considerations.
  4. Timely Health Checks
    • Inform your vet about your travel plans.
    • Depending on destinations, vaccinations might be necessary and certificates to enable travel, for example the Animal Health Certificate for travel into Europe.
    • Ensure that microchipping details are updated.
  5. Stress-Free Travel for Your Pet
    • Familiarise your pets with their carriers.
    • As well as taking familiar bedding, make sure there are favourite toys too to help ease the transition.
    • If leaving you pet at home but maybe in boarding, familiar scented items can also alleviate separation anxiety.
    • Familiar items can also be invaluable if you’re putting your pet into in kennels for part of your holiday journey, for example when travelling on a on a ferry from the UK to France.

What is an Animal Health Certificate?

A short haired black and tan puppy

As pet friendly holidays to Europe grow in interest, it’s essential to stay updated with the necessary documentation, the most vital being the Animal Health Certificate (AHC).

If you’re planning to venture into Europe this certificate has, post Brexit, replaced the older Pet Passport system for UK residents.

The AHC is a document that confirms your pet is healthy and fit to travel.

It is issued by an official vet and is valid for:

  • 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland
  • 4 months for onward travel within the EU
  • 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain

It’s crucial to note that for each trip to the EU, a new AHC is required, even if your previous one is still technically valid.

How to Get an Animal Health Certificate (AHC)

Holding a pet dog

Securing the right documentation is crucial for a seamless European adventure with your pet.

There are though simple steps you can take to obtain the Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for your family pet:

  1. Visit Your Vet
    • Ideally, contact your vet at least a month before your planned travel.
    • This will ensure you have enough time for any necessary vaccinations or treatments.
  2. Proof of Microchipping and Rabies Vaccination
    • Before issuing an AHC, your vet will need proof that your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.
    • Remember, pets must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated.
    • You must wait 21 days to travel after your pet is vaccinated.
    • You do not need to wait to travel after a booster vaccination if there has been no break in the vaccine cover
  3. Tapeworm Treatment (For Dogs)
    • If you’re travelling with a dog, depending on the country it might need a tapeworm treatment. For example this is the case if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway.
    • The treatment must have been given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you arrive.
    • You must wait for 24 hours before re-entering Great Britain and return within 120 hours or you’ll need to get another treatment abroad.
    • Find out more details on the Government website.
  4. Costs and Considerations
    • There is a fee involved in obtaining the AHC, which varies depending on your vet.
    • Consider the added expenses of any treatments or vaccinations your pet might need.

Embarking on pet friendly holidays is a delightful proposition, blending adventure with companionship.

But it requires planning and consideration. With these insights, pet owners can chart out memorable and hassle-free journeys, ensuring they’re well-prepared for any unforeseen events.

Safe travels – and one last thought, of course whilst we’ve focused on the needs of pet friendly holidays, don’t forget to plan and sort all the human holiday needs too, whether that be your own travel insurance, travel money or what swim costume you need to take, or maybe buy new!

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