Top Tips for Comfortable Road Trips with Your Pet
Whether or not your pet is a good traveller, there are a few steps you can take to help ensure the safety and happiness of your dog or cat whilst on the road.
- Liquid in: Be sure to travel with extra water, kept cool if possible, and a travel bowl. If you're short on space, there are nifty, rubber collapsible bowls that flatten to save room when not in use.
- Liquid out: Frequent stops are necessary to give your pet a chance to relieve themselves.
- Travel on an empty stomach: Dogs and cats do better in the car if they have an empty stomach. Avoid feeding within two hours of driving, if possible
- Seatbelts aren't just for people: Be sure your dog or cat is secured in a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dogguard in cars. Not only will this help prevent driver distraction or injury to your pet in the event of a quick stop or accident, but it's required by law.
- Keep cool: Never, ever leave your pet in the car unattended. Within minutes, the temperature inside a car can rise to cause heatstroke and even death, even on a cloudy day with the car windows left open. For more information see the RSPCA's advice.
- Towel: Not a necessity, but a spare doggy towel can sure come in handy to keep your car clean if you've got a wet and dirty dog
EU Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)
In order to travel with your pet to the EU, you'll need to follow the rules of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). That means you'll need to arrange for a pet passport from your vet and also make sure your pet is:
- Vaccinated against rabies (must occur at least 21 days before travel)
- Microchipped (must occur before the rabies vaccination so the vaccination can be recorded and linked to the microchip)
- Treated for tapeworm (between 24 and 120 hours before return to UK, for dogs only) unless you're coming from Ireland, Finland, Malta or Norway
Note: While Brexit is on the horizon and may cause headaches for those travelling with their pet in the event of no deal, this summer you can travel as normal. For more information on what happens if we leave without a deal, see the government's advice.
Whether you're in the market for pet insurance or you already have a policy in place, be sure to check your Policy Wording to find out any restrictions or limitation on cover in the EU. For example, there is typically a limit on the number of days you can be away. We've seen maximum trip lengths ranging from 30 days up to 365 days (essentially unlimited). If you're planning a trip longer than 30 days, be sure to check this condition.
In addition, some companies may only cover emergency vet fees for conditions that were not present before you left the UK. Other companies include extra benefits such as money to help you pay for a lost pet passport or quarantine fees, should your pet be quarantined. On the other hand, some companies don't provide any cover for trips to the EU. Even if you think you have cover it's always worth checking directly with the insurer, especially since sometimes you have to pay extra to get cover abroad.
Wherever your travels take you, be sure to bring lots of treats and take lots of photos!