The needs of your pets when you travel abroad

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Whether you take your beloved pet on holiday with you or pop them into a local kennels or a cattery, you need to make sure their needs are sorted well in advance, says vet Dave Cumber

Holidays usually mean there are 101 things to think about, but your pet’s needs should be near the top of that long list. Planning in advance is very important. Reliable neighbours or friends may be prepared to help with feeding cats, rabbits and goldfish, but more thought is required when it comes to caring for your dog whilst you are away, or if you are making plans for taking them with you.

If you are booking your beloved animals in to a kennel or cattery, and it’s the first time you have done this, take the time to visit the facilities well in advance. Are you happy with what you find? Check for bright clean surroundings, warm sleeping quarters and adequate exercise areas. It’s also worth asking around for personal recommendations. Any good cattery or kennel will want to check your vaccination certificates, so make sure your pet’s are bang up to date and don’t run out in the middle of your break.

If your dog is coming on holiday with you and this involves a car journey a car safety harness for medium and large dogs and a carrier for small dogs are strongly recommended. At 30mph an unrestrained Border collie size dog would be hurled forward with the force equivalent to the weight of a polar bear, so the damage can be significant and sometimes fatal. Always carry plenty of fresh water and a bowl. Have frequent stops, at least every two hours, and make sure your dog is on the lead BEFORE you open the car door. Finally don’t let your dog stick its head out of the window during car journeys, this can result in eye injuries from stones and insects.

When booking your accommodation double-check that dogs are definitely welcome. Are there any restrictions on the size, breed or number of dogs allowed? Finally what is the cost? Dogs don’t always go free. Make sure your pet is insured, not just for accidents and illness, but also for third party liability and that they are microchipped (now compulsory in the UK) and your contact details associated with it are up to date. This will help reunite you with your pet should they stray.

If you are planning to take your pet abroad then you need to check with your vet regarding the legal paperwork and rabies vaccine requirements. All of this can take time to sort, so don’t leave it until the last minute. The Pet Travel Scheme and Pet Passport process can be a lengthy and time consuming process.

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Pet passport - What is required

1. Your pet must be microchipped

2. Rabies vaccination (must be done at least 21 days prior to travel)

3. You will be issued with an EU passport for your pet

4. In addition protect your pets against parasites which are common in mainland Europe these include the following:

• Leishmaniasis - often fatal and spread by sand flies

• Canine Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis -spread by ticks

• Heartworm - invades blood stream and causes heart failure

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Need to know more?

Pop in to see us: Dave Cumber Vets in Weymouth: Unit D1, Link Park, Chickerell Link Road, DT3 4FL or Dorchester: 86, Mellstock Avenue, DT1 2BH. Full details can be found at or at

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