Sailing to EU with dogsThe holiday season is fast approaching in the UK and thoughts turn to the practicality of taking the family pet with us. If we are travelling in the UK then the choices are easier, but if we’re going to the EU with dogs, time might now be short in order to be prepared for the trip.

Dogs travel on trains free of charge in the UK and should always be on a lead. The big warning though is that any travelling dog should not endanger or inconvenience any passengers or staff. Short trips are more straightforward, but on longer trips perhaps better to use some form of crate to give your dog a safe identified space. The bad news is, other than assistance dogs, you can’t travel with your dog on Eurostar.

Travel to the EU with a Dog

If you want to travel in the EU then check out the approved routes from the government website . There is also a wealth of other helpful information there. Essentially, your dog needs:

  • A pet passport issued by vets
  • Be at least 15 weeks before travelling
  • To be microchipped
  • Vaccination against rabies
  • Tapeworm treatment administered 1-5 days before returning to the UK

Crossing the Channel with a Dog

Arrangements vary depending on which route you choose to cross the Channel. Each has slightly different policies and check-in times for those travelling with pets. Some ask for early check-in at a dedicated area; others do it as a matter of course in the car.

On the crossing, Eurotunnel will allow an owner to remain in the car with the dog. Ferry companies do not permit this and the dog travels alone. In this case it is always better to be able to use a suitably sized crate, provide water and to consider how to ventilate the car. But some ferry companies will issue tickets for accompanied visits to the car deck during the voyage. So it’s worth considering what type of traveller your canine friend is to minimise distress

For ferries with longer crossings, dogs may be transported in different areas. Some offer dog-friendly cabins or dedicated kennels. Those may come with a requirement to muzzle your pet, when they are outside of a contained area for example to and from the car to kennel. This does not mean it needs to be muzzled at all times.

Whichever way you travel to the EU with your dogs, make sure your pet is well-exercised, has a source of dry food and drink and has been trained for whatever crate or muzzle is needed. Then you’ll both enjoy the trip.