Things to Know Before Travelling with Pets: Part 1
Travelling can be fun and exciting, but it can also seem a little overwhelming, especially if you have pets. While some pet owners look towards pet sitters while they are away, others are a bit more hesitant about leaving their furry friend at home while they go on vacation. Travelling with pets, especially if you are flying, requires a lot of planning, but it is not at all impossible. Besides the legal requirements such as documents and health certificates, there is also your pet’s health and comfort to keep in mind.
If you are flying with your pet, here’s what you need to consider:
Type of Animal
When travelling within the EU, only dogs, cats, and ferrets are eligible for an EU Pet Passport, whilst other animals aren’t. If you are flying to your destination, your airline may also restrict which animals are accepted, especially with regard to those allowed in the passenger cabin – these are usually just cats and dogs.
Number of Animals
Perhaps it’s not just one furry friend that you want to vacation with, but maybe two or three. EU regulation allows you to travel with up to 5 pets that are eligible for an EU Pet Passport except in specific circumstances, such as when participating in a competition. Otherwise, your pets may be considered commercial imports.
Check with your airline as to how many pets you can travel with. Whilst EU law allows up to 5, airlines may not. They may also restrict the number of animals in one carrier as well as the species.
Your Airline and Accommodation have their own Requirements
Each airline and accommodation have their own regulations as to whether they allow animals, so inform them about your intention to travel with your pet as soon as possible.
Airlines have strict rules on whether your pet can be allowed into the passenger cabin or whether they have to go in the hold, depending on their weight and what type of animal they are. If your pet will be flying with you in the cabin, your pet cannot restrict your movement or that of any other passenger for safety reasons for both the passengers and the pet. This means that the carrier your pet is in must be placed underneath the seat in front of you, as opposed to on your lap or in the aisle. For this same reason, you might be restricted to where you sit, for example, making you unable to sit in an emergency row or close to the exit.
Similarly, your airline will have restrictions and requirements if your pet flies with you in the hold as checked baggage. These may include what type and the number of animals allowed; booking your pet into the hold a certain number of days in advance; providing certain information and contact details; carrier size and weight; as well as providing certain documents, forms, booking confirmations and health certificates. Make sure to be in line with all requirements, as the airline may choose to offload your pet in case of failure to comply.
Pet Fees Come Extra
Whilst you may consider the carrier your pet will be in as hand luggage or checked-in baggage, extra fees apply when carrying a pet. Budget for this expense too when planning your trip, in order to avoid any nasty surprises.
Requirements at your Country of Departure as well as at your Arrival Destination
Although you may be leaving a country with your dog, there are still some requirements that need to be held. Check what EU regulation is necessary depending on your country with Your Europe. Similarly, check with your arrival destination for any specific requirements. Failure to comply with requirements could mean that your pet can be refused entry into a country and returned to his country of origin, put into quarantine at your expense, or in a worst-case scenario, even be put down. If you are travelling to Malta, note that:
- your pet must be at least 15 weeks old;
- you will need to inform the Departure of Agriculture about your arrival so that one of their vets can examine your pet on-site; and
- you must also fill in and submit this online form
Health Requirements for your Pet when Entering Malta and the EU
If you are travelling with pets into or within the EU, your pet will need
- A microchip with updated information or a readable tattoo
- Proof of the rabies vaccine administered when your pet was 12 weeks old, given not less than 21 days from the date of entry.
- A blood test taken between 30 days and 3 months before the date of entry, if not arriving from an EU state
- A Valid EU Pet Passport or
- A Health Certificate if you are travelling from outside the EU
- Proof that your pet, if a dog, has been treated for worms (Echinococcus multilocularis) 1-5 days before entering
For more information on what to do when travelling with your pets, look out for Part 2!