Up, up and away!


Family holidays, and by family of course we are including your cherished dog, are fantastic in the UK but why stop there?

With some planning, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t look further afield, and jet off to foreign climes with your four-legged friend.

Let’s explore what you’ll need to consider for a dog-friendly experience overseas…


Your dog’s personality


Of course you want to share your wonderful holiday experience with your dog, wherever in the world you travel to, but your dog’s wellbeing is going to be your priority. Every dog is different and you know your dog the best.

Do you think your dog will be comfortable with a plane journey and the conditions in the country you visit?


Pre-holiday pet checks


Make sure that wherever you are going has everything that your pet will need, including access to an emergency vet and an out of hours vet service.

Visit your vet at least a month before you are planning to travel, to ensure that your dog is in good health and that their vaccinations, flea and worm treatments are up to date. You could combine this health check with your health certificate vet visit, if it’s within 10 days of your travel date.


Vaccinations and treatments


Depending on where you are travelling to, your pet will need to be vaccinated against any diseases we don’t have in the UK, like rabies.

Your dog needs to be at least 12 weeks old to get the rabies vaccination, and your dog can’t travel for at least 21 days after they’ve had the rabies vaccination.

Even if your dog has had the rabies vaccination before, it’s important to check that it hasn’t expired.

If you are travelling to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Finland, Malta and Norway, your dog will need to get a tapeworm treatment between 24 hours and five days before you arrive in one of those countries.


Travelling to the EU or Northern Ireland


Pet passports are no longer valid. You’ll need a new animal health certificate (AHC) issued by your vet every time you visit Europe or Northern Ireland, whether your pet has been there before or not.

The certificate can only be issued within 10 days of your travel date, so make sure you book your appointment with your vet well in advance. The last thing you need is to be running around last minute trying to get an appointment if they’re really busy.

Your AHC will be valid for four months for onward travel within the EU, and four months for re-entry to Great Britain.


Travelling to a non-EU country


If you are travelling to a non-EU country, you will need to get an export health certificate (EHC). If you are travelling from England, Scotland or Wales, you will also need to complete an export application form (EXA).

An EHA checks that your pet meets the health requirements of the country you’re travelling to.

You must nominate an official vet who will be sent the EHC, for them to confirm that your dog meets the correct health and identification requirements before you travel.

Well ahead of your trip, check the rules of the country you are travelling to, for any additional restrictions and requirements.




Few countries these days require quarantine when your dog arrives in their country. Australia, New Zealand and Singapore do, for example, but many destinations across North America, South America, the EU and much of Europe and Asia do not. Check your chosen holiday country for their specific quarantine rules.


Furry plane passengers


Due to government regulations, UK airlines cannot allow pets to travel in passenger cabins. The only exceptions to this rule are registered assistance dogs.

There are specialist companies who will arrange for your dog to travel by air, as comfortably as possible. They have the dog’s best interests at heart and do everything they can to minimise the stress of the journey for your precious cargo.

Your dog will travel in a special area of the aircraft’s hold, where it is heated and pressurised. It is dimly lit to help your dog to settle calmly.

Because toys and chews are classed as choking hazards, these are not allowed, but your dog can have a small piece of clothing, towel or bedding that smells familiar and comforting.

Your pets can share a dog-friendly crate (divided by mesh) if they are under 14kg each, of similar size, and used to co-habiting.

Each crate is big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down.

Pet shippers suggest that you don’t feed your pet in the few hours before they travel, to minimise the chance of them needing a poo. They should, however, have access to water at all times. It is in most dogs’ nature to ‘hold it in’ when they are in a crate, but the pet shippers use veterinary bedding and an absorbent pad to keep your dog’s environment as pleasant as possible for the whole journey.

It’s understandable that you might feel nervous about your dog being in the hold of a plane, without you, for the duration of the flight.

It is hopefully reassuring to hear that, when researchers studied dogs’ behaviour on a plane with cameras, the dogs spent 75% of their time lying down and were mostly active at take-off and landing.


Alternative foreign travel options


Some non-UK airlines, like Air France, KLM and Lufthansa, for example, do allow small pets in aircraft cabins on flights out from the UK but when they fly back into the UK they have to fly as cargo.

If you don’t want your dog to travel as cargo, you could consider flying back to a European airport with your dog in the passenger cabin with you, then travelling onward to the UK across the Channel by ferry.


Making your dog feel comfortable on holiday


Yay you’ve arrived! Here are some tips to make your dog-friendly holiday as successful as possible.

Try to keep your dog on the same diet they are used to at home, and to their regular routine of mealtimes, walks and toilet breaks.

Take familiar-smelling blankets and toys from home with you, to help them feel secure in an unfamiliar place.

Give them a chance to explore their surroundings and don’t leave them alone for a long enough time that they may get distressed.

And, in the busyness of having a great time gallivanting about on holiday, remember to give them plenty of time to rest – undisturbed – somewhere quiet, cool and comfortable.

Keep an eye on your dog, looking out for any changes in their behaviour that could mean they’re bored, unwell or anxious.


And finally


Make sure that your dog is microchipped before you travel, and that it is wearing a collar, complete with an identity tag that has your up-to-date contact details on it, at all times.

We wish you a safe and smooth journey and a very pleasant dog-friendly trip!




This article is brought to you by Cherish Studios, passionate dog lovers sharing helpful tips and advice with our fellow dog lovers. For medical advice, please speak to a trained vet.


Contact Cherish Studios


Experience that incredible feeling you get every time you look at your gorgeous dog, by capturing them in the most beautiful photograph that you can display on your wall and enjoy each and every day.

Our studio is in Crouch End, north London, which is where the magic happens.

Take a look at our work on this website, or find us on Instagram at @cherishstudioslondon.

You can also call us on 0207 155 9725 or email our founder, Paul Toeman. We would love the opportunity to talk through your ideas and answer any questions you may have.


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