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Pets in transit

Photographs: iStock

Text: Tarek Abu Sham

Travelling with our pets is something we all dream of doing, but rules and regulations for animal transport can be daunting and challenging to understand, often preventing us from taking our furry family members along on trips.

Travel providers often place several restrictions on pet travel and animal transport in general, including the type of carrier allowed, weight and number of pets, type of pet, etc. Frequently carriers have different restrictions, as do origin and destination countries. If only it were simple to understand!

According to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, travelling with pets is classified as "non-commercial relocation". This means that the pet is being moved because it travels with the owner. In addition/or the pet may not be sold.

Travelling with pets abroad

Travelling abroad with your pet requires advanced planning. First, you should check regulations for both the origin and destination countries, especially any vaccination, pet passport, deworming and veterinary certificate requirements. MyPeterinarian offers virtual consultations, an excellent way to check in with our veterinarians before any planned travel to ensure your pet is healthy and travel-ready. Our veterinarians can also pay a house call to administer any needed vaccines, like the rabies vaccine, which is a requirement for cats and dogs in the EU. Within and to or from the EU, your pet must have an EU pet passport. Check out our website for more info on the EU pet passport and how to get one.

Are you going to fly?

Airlines have different rules for pet transportation. Some allow pets in the cabin; others only allow carriage in the cargo hold. Some, like RyanAir, do not transport pets at all, except for guide or service dogs.

Pets in a cabin (the most common requirements)

The weight of your pet, together with the bag/carrier, must not exceed 8kg.

The carrier must be used explicitly for animal transport (well ventilated, made of robust and solid material and waterproof) and should comply with the airline's dimension requirements. In addition, your pet must be able to stand up, turn around and lie comfortably in its bag/carrier.

Although some guidelines are the same, each airline also has its own. Therefore you should avoid possible complications by reading the specific guidelines of the airline you'll be using before travelling.

"Airlines have different rules for pet transportation."

Pets in the baggage hold (the most common requirements)

The transport box must be made of strong, solid material. In addition, the bottom of the transport box must be covered with liquid-absorbent material such as, e.g. a blanket. Some airlines, such as SAS, also allow newspapers to absorb; others do not (e.g. Norwegian).

If there are wheels on the transport box, they must be removed or locked.

The transport box must be equipped with two bowls for water and food or a bowl divided into two sections.

If your pet weighs more than 14kg, it must be transported in a separate transport box. The pet must be able to stand up, turn around and lie comfortably in the transport box.

If you're like most people, you'd probably want your pet right next to you in the cabin, but this is not always possible, so plan in advance and be prepared!

Even if you do everything according to regulations and guidelines, you still need to keep your pet's wellbeing front and centre. While you may need a vacation, your pet may be better off at home under the care of one of our MyPeterinarian staff members, especially if your pet is young, old, super hyper, or has a lot of travel-related anxiety. We offer a great selection of pet care packages and a wide range of services. So travel with your pets only when it is essential.

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