Accidents, injuries and illness can happen to your pet at any time, so find out how to travel safely with your furry friend and what type of insurance you need to keep them protected.
Your own travel insurance policy won’t include cover for your pets or their medical expenses. Instead, pet travel insurance is designed to give you financial protection if something unexpected happens to your pet while you’re away.
It’s not a legal requirement to have cover, but it can give you reassurance that your pet will be looked after if they become injured or ill.
While you can’t usually buy standalone pet travel insurance, some pet insurance policies include cover for travelling abroad or you can buy it as an optional policy extra.
Pet travel insurance is designed to help if things don’t quite go to plan with your pet on holiday.
For example, it can help cover the costs if your pet needs urgent treatment or if they suffer an illness or injury that affects your travel plans.
A typical policy might include cover for:
If you already have a pet insurance policy, you might find this includes cover for travelling abroad. If it doesn’t, you may be able to buy this cover as a policy extra.
As with any pet insurance, the costs will also depend on the type of policy, the type and breed of your pet, your pet’s age and any pre-existing conditions.
It’s always best to compare policies to see whether pet travel insurance is included as standard, and if not, how much it would cost to add it on.
To help you get the right cover for your needs, look at pet insurance policy wording carefully and check the following:
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is designed to stop the spread of rabies and other diseases making it easier and safer to travel abroad with pets.
The scheme allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets to be taken in and out of participating countries, including the UK, without having to put them in quarantine.
To be eligible for this scheme your pet needs:
The requirements may differ depending on the country you’re travelling to, so it’s always best to check in advance.
You'll need to wait 21 days after any primary vaccinations before you travel, so bear this in mind when you’re planning your trip and visit to the vet for the animal health certificate.
It’s no longer possible to use a pet passport that’s been issued in Great Britain to travel from the UK to the European Union (EU) or Northern Ireland (NI).
Instead, you’ll need to use an animal health certificate.
To get one of these, you’ll need to take your pet to the vet no more than 10 days before you travel - you should contact them at least a month beforehand to arrange this.
To be eligible for the certificate your pet also needs to:
You can use your pet’s animal health certificate for onward travel within the EU and it will be valid for four months.
Be aware that your pet will need a new one every time you take them from Great Britain into an EU country or NI.
If you’re travelling with your pet to a non-EU country, you’ll need an export health certificate for them.
You’ll also need to complete an export application form if you’re in England, Scotland or Wales.
When you’re planning your trip, check the rules of the country you’re travelling to in case there are any other restrictions or requirements you need to follow.
As pet travel insurance generally either comes as part of your pet insurance policy or is bought as an optional extra - you’re likely to receive the same level of cover abroad as you do in the UK for any of your pet’s pre-existing conditions.
But it’s always best to contact your insurance provider to check before you purchase any extra cover.
If you’re taking out new cover, you’ll need to declare any issues your pet has or had when you apply. If you don’t, you could invalidate your policy and your premiums could go up when you try to take out cover again.
This will largely depend on your airline, the type of pet you want to take and where you’re travelling to.
Not all airlines will let you take pets and those that do usually only allow cats and dogs.
In most cases, if you’re allowed to take your pet on the plane, it’ll need to be kept in the hold during the flight.
Usually, the only pets allowed to fly with you in the cabin are registered assistance dogs.
While you might have a preferred airline, not all operators allow pets so you may need to do your research to find the right carrier for your destination.
Some of the commercial airlines in the UK that are pet-friendly and allow you to travel with pets in the hold include:
Whether you want to use an internal flight or take your pet out of the country, some airlines will only allow assistance dogs to travel with you.
Airlines that don’t allow pets include:
Pets will usually need to be carried in the plane’s cargo hold when they’re taken on a flight - this means they’ll need to be transported in a pet carrier or container.
To make sure your pet’s safe and has enough space while it’s travelling, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has strict guidelines on the containers that can be used.
For example, the pet carrier needs to:
Airlines will usually only accept IATA-approved containers, so always check to see what your airline’s specific requirements are.
No, unfortunately Eurostar trains aren’t pet friendly, so the only pets permitted are guide dogs and assistance dogs.
However, you can travel with your pet if you go via the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle.
This way you can travel in the comfort of your own car and stay with your pet for the whole 35-minute crossing. You’ll need to take your pet’s animal health certificate and any other required documentation with you.
This will depend on the type of pet you have. Every UK ferry operator has their own pet policy - most will accept dogs, but some will also allow cats and ferrets to be taken on board.
Typically, most pets will be required to stay in your car or vehicle during the crossing. However, some ferries have pet-friendly cabins, lounges and kennels that you can book in advance.
If you’re keeping your pet in the car, you might want to arrange a mid-voyage visit to check on them, but this isn’t always possible.