Animal Care

Travelling with Your Pet

petcarrierThe DSPCA want to remind pet parents to take every effort to ensure their pets, (as well as their children), have a safe and happy experience when travelling to and from that holiday destination; whether it’s by road, sea or air.

Remember, travelling can be very stressful for both your pet and your family; however, with thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe, happy and comfortable experience for everyone.

Here’s a few pointers from us:

When you’re all excitedly discussing your travel plans; make sure you remember to get your pets involved. And no, we don’t mean sit down and ask them where they’d like to go! We simply suggest you take them to the vet to ensure they are up to date on all vaccinations and that you have a supply of any medication they are currently taking. 

For all travel:

Obtain a clean certificate of health from your vet and make sure this is dated at least 10 days before your departure if travelling by air or sea.  Check that you comply with the EU Pet Passport rules and regulations details found here.

Ask your vet about any parasites, health risks, etc., to your animal that may be associated with your planned destination.

Make sure your pet wears a collar and ID tag and is micro chipped. Make sure his details are up to date and clearly displayed.

For Air/Ferry Travel:

If required, purchase an approved shipping crate – it should be large enough for your pet to comfortably stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Write the words ‘LIVE ANIMAL’ clearly on at least two sides of the crate and use arrows to prominently indicate the upright position of the crate. Make sure the door is securely closed but not locked so that airline/ferry personnel can open it in case of emergency.

Whenever possible, book direct flights and tell every airline/ferry employee you encounter that you are travelling with a pet in the cargo hold. This way they will be ready if any additional attention is required.

For Car Travel:

In order to make the journey safe and secure, a well ventilated pet carrier/crate, large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in should be provided. Alternatively a pet harness/safety belt should be attached. However,  if your dog is anything like my three dogs, they will probably gnaw through the straps, rendering them useless. So, it’s up to you; you know your own pet so you’ll know the best way to secure them. 

Don’t allow your pet to travel with his head outside the window. This can subject him to inner ear damage and lung infections and your pet could be injured by flying objects. Cats should always be held in a carrier.

Never, ever, leave your animal alone in a parked car. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked car can turn into a furnace and very quickly, in a matter of minutes, heatstroke can develop, causing death.  In cold weather a car can turn into a fridge, holding in the cold, causing the animal to freeze to death. 

Take along plenty of bottled drinking water from your own tap. Drinking water they are not used to could cause the animal’s tummy to become upset.

Bring along a travel bag for your pet and include things like:

·         First aid kit

·         Clean towel

·         Fresh supply of water

·         Paper towels

·         Poo bags

·         Treats

The DSPCA offers a selection of travel products for pets at our online store at or why not drop into our gift and coffee shop Central Bark at our rescue and rehoming centre in Mount Venus Road; we’d love to see you.


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