Going on holiday with your pets

Would you take your four-legged friends overseas?

Young woman sitting on the beach with her dog, she is dressed in bikini and straw hat and watching relaxed the boat in the sea,

One in 10 dog owners now take their pets with them on family holidays, according to new research from Direct Line Pet Insurance.

And dogs are not the only pets getting to go on holidays with their owners. Many cats across the country are also taken on overseas trips.

Direct Line's figures show that 38% of vets in the UK have reported an increase in demand for pet passports over the last 12 months, with the average vet supplying 26 dog passports and six cat passports in the last year.

But what do you need to do to ensure you and your pets have a great time away? We've taken a closer look so you and your animal friends can enjoy stress-free holidays.

Travel documents and requirements

To travel between European Union countries, your pet must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies (for at least three weeks prior to travel), and have a pet passport issued by your vet.

If you pet is not yet microchipped or vaccinated, you can expect to pay around £200 to £300 to have it prepared for travel.

Some countries, including the UK, also require dogs to have had tapeworm treatment, while others require blood testing for certain diseases.

You may also have to place your pet in quarantine if you are travelling further afield. This could be anything from a five-minute check up to a six-month stay.

Travel costs

Flying to far flung destinations with your pets is rarely a good idea unless you are relocating permanently.

Not only can it prove a stressful experience for your pet, it could also ruin you financially.

When I looked into taking my dog to Tahiti for a six-month placement, the total cost worked out at more than £7,500.

That's because the cost of the flight is as high or higher than the cost of a seat in economy.

To fly a large dog to Australia, for instance, you might pay £3,000 one way. And there may well be quarantine charges to pay on top.

Fortunately, travelling by road within Europe, is much cheaper. Brittany Ferries, for example, charges from £16.50 for a dog or a cat that stays in the car during the voyage.

For trips to Spain, it charges £69 return, including kennel accommodation, while P&O Ferries charges £15 each way per dog or cat from Dover to Calais.

Once again, "all pets must stay in the vehicle during the trip", meaning that you cannot travel with a pet as a foot passenger.

Pet insurance

Some pet insurance policies will refund the cost of cancelling your holiday if your pet develops a life-threatening illness.

However, while some will also cover your pet for treatment overseas, many only include treatment in certain European countries - and others offer no protection at all outside the UK.

Before setting off, it therefore makes sense to call your insurer to check what is and is not covered.

To avoid your pet being ill on the journey, meanwhile, P&O Ferries's tips include feeding at least a few hours before boarding and keeping their bedding and a few toys in the car to make them more comfortable and less restless.

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