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Friday, August 23, 2013

A Guide to Traveling with Pets & Assistant Animals

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The most common pets to travel with are cats, dogs, and rodents, however there aren't any restrictions on bringing other pets such as birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and rabbits into the UK from other EU countries. The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency have all the details about rules for travelling with animals of these species.

The UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has set up a 'Pet Travel Scheme' allowing cats and dogs to travel between some countries and UK airports without requiring quarantine. Certain routes and transport companies have been authorized and approved, and have agreed to make sure the animal abides by the rules of the scheme. These checks can be done by a third party when travelling by air (Ex. Animal Reception Center in the Heathrow Airport). Each airline may have slightly different rules on the size and weight restrictions of pets that can ride in the cabin, and those that must go into the cargo hold. Airlines may also allow the transport of more than one pet, but have limited space, so it's important to call in advance and reserve your spot. These details are usually provided on the airline's website, or upon contacting an airline representative. Some airlines don't have heating in the cargo holds, so they may restrict the transportation of animals to the warmer summer months. Also, animals with snub-noses may incur breathing problems within the cabin, so their transportation is also often restricted.

As a general rule, cats, dogs or rodents travelling within the EU on approved routes with authorized carriers must have a microchip, a rabies vaccination, a pet passport or official third country veterinary certificate, and dogs must be treated for tapeworm. The rabies vaccination must be completed at least 21 days before travel, and the animal must already have been microchiped. There must also be a blood test proving the vaccination was successful. Animals traveling within the cabin must be able to stand up or lay down comfortably in their kennel. It's important to find out the departure and destination country's exact entry requirements as a failure to abide by these can result in the quarantine of your animal which can be expensive, as well as stressful for your pet.

Assistance animals have less restrictions that normal pets on areas within the plane that they are allowed to be, as well as routes that they may travel. There are usually extra fees associated with travelling with pets, but assistance animals are often able to travel in the cabin for free on flights within the UK, and most international flights departing from the UK. Assistance animals need to wear safety harnesses during take off and landing, a collar alone is not sufficient.

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A work-at-home-mom (WAHM) with  two  lovely kids and a loving husband.  Passionate in writing about  family, product reviews, and  other related articles.  A Mom, a Wife,  a Blogger/Writer, rolled into one.


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