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Your pet while you’re on vacation: will it tag along?

Whether it be far away or close to home, we all love a well-deserved holiday. Perhaps you want to bring your dog or cat with you. Is your pet tagging along? Here is what to keep in mind.

Taking your pet abroad

Are you leaving the country? There are several things to keep in mind. For example, consider vaccinations and a dog or cat passport. Each country has its own set of requirements for you to take into account. Some examples:

  • European pet passport – Travelling in the EU and bringing your dog or cat? They will need a passport. The EU passport for pets is issued by the vet.
  • Chip – when bringing your pet abroad, a chip is mandatory. Make sure the chip is properly registered to your name and address.
  • Vaccination – Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before departure. The vaccination has to be registered in the passport by a vet.

Tip: always check the exact rules of the country of your destination. Countries outside the EU may have additional or different requirements. Plus, not all dog breeds can travel abroad. For example, many countries prohibit Pitbulls, Rottweilers and Staffords. Make sure you find out in advance. Doing a road trip across multiple countries? Make sure you meet the requirements of all of them. Consult your vet for more information.

In the aeroplane

You can bring your dog or cat on an aeroplane. Make sure to check the rules with your airline. Bringing your pet as hand luggage may be an option, but it will usually have to come in a special kennel/cage in a separate section of the plane. Your specific airline may impose certain requirements, such as anti-worm or flea treatment or a minimum age. Make sure you study these rules in advance. When purchasing a kennel, the size is very important; not too large but enough space to stand up, lie down and turn around. Let your pet get accustomed to the kennel in advance. Feed your pet easily digestible food only for the final 24 hours before departure. Be careful about food, some animals will experience motion sickness. Do make sure they have unlimited access to water both prior to and during the flight.

In the car

Going on a road trip? Make sure your pet is used to travelling by car. It is important to provide it a safe spot in the car. Opt for a cage or travel basket. There are special car belts for dogs. The Netherlands does not impose any special requirements when it comes to transporting animals in a car. Some other countries do, such as Germany. Make sure you study these rules in advance. While driving, keep the car at a pleasant temperature but avoid a draft. You can open a window but do not allow your dog to stick its head out the window. This will increase the risk of an eye and/or ear infection. Take breaks on a regular basis to allow your pet to walk and drink some water. Never leave your pet in the car unattended; the temperature may soar, which can be lethal!

with your cat on vacation

Travel accessories

Consider the extra luggage you will need when bringing your pet. For example:

  • Enough food (Check the rules for transporting food per country)
  • Water for the road
  • Toys
  • The right paperwork
  • Tick remover
  • Phone numbers of your vet and a vet at your destination
  • Water and food bowls
  • A basket and a litterbox for cats
  • A first aid kit
  • Medication, if applicable
  • Care products such as a brush, shampoo and nail scissors
  • A pooper scooper and bags

The government website has a checklist available. Check the list to make sure you are well-prepared for your trip.

What if your pet can’t tag along?

Great as it is to bring your pet on your trip, it isn’t always an option. Fortunately, there are several alternatives at your disposal. For example, you can choose to bring your dog or cat to a pet hotel. They will take good care of your pet while you are away. Another option is to get an in-house pet sitter. Your pet will stay in its trusted environment and receive proper care there.

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