Taking Your Pet With You By Ferry

Travel by ferry or Eurotunnel with your vehicle and take ALL of the family, thanks to PETS, the Pet Travel Scheme

Travelling With Your Pet

For those of us who hate the thought of leaving our beloved pets at home while we go on holiday, the PETS Travel Scheme has been great, allowing us to bring the whole family on holiday. To go in or out of the UK you'll need an EU Pet Passport. The passport shows that your pet has been microchipped and had a rabies vaccination/booster.

The PETS scheme allows you to bring your pet with you providing you have all the necessary documents and vaccinations for them. You and your furry friends can enjoy your time onboard and avoid potentially costly kennel fees at the same time. Please note: the information on this page only refers to travelling with your pets; it is important that you make sure your holiday venue is pet-friendly before you book.

Make sure your pet has been microchipped and vaccinated against rabies 21 days before you travel. All dogs, cats and ferrets must have a pet passport (or third country official veterinary certificate) to enter or re-enter the UK. You get this from your vet.

To travel out of the UK, your pet will need:

  • Pet passport or third country certificate confirming that they have been microchipped and an up-to-date rabies vaccination / booster. Your pet can not leave or re-enter the UK until 21 calendar days after the date of the rabies vaccination - the animal must be a minimum of 12 weeks old before being vaccinated, and rabies boosters must be kept up-to-date.

To return to the UK from the Continent, your pet will need:

  • Dogs - A pet passport or third country certificate showing the dog has been treated against tapeworm not less than 24 hours, and not more than 120 hours before arrival in the UK. The vet MUST stamp the relevant page to show that treatment has been given (with date and time). Tick treatment is no longer required.
  • Cats and Ferrets - A pet passport or third country certificate. Tick and tapeworm treatment is no longer needed.
  • At the port or Eurotunnel terminal, you need to visit the Pet Control Centre to have your pet’s chip read and the Pet Passport scrutinised.

Tapeworm Treatment for Dogs

As mentioned above, dogs returning to the UK from France must have a tapeworm treatment from a vet a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 120 hours (5 days) before boarding the ferry or train back to the UK. It is a good idea to look into at least 2 vets clinics that will be easy for you to visit in this time frame on your return journey before you set out from the UK in the first place. Also be aware that just like in the UK, veternary clinics in Europe are more likely to be shut at the weekend and after about 5pm on weekdays, so it is probably a good idea to head to the vets with a couple of days to spare. Bear in mind that since your dog can not board the return ferry for 24 hours after receiving their tapeworm treatment it may be a good idea to find a vet that is local to your holiday destination, rather than one near the ports and get there a couple of days before you are due to return. This is a map of recommended vets in Europe - https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zTPBDq9Df4L4.kSm3eLuvVb2g but please note that we provide this link for assistance only, and make no guarantee that it is up-to-date or accurate, so please check into the vets listed before you set out. Also important to note is that you must make sure that the vet stamps the record of this treatment in your pet's passport with an accurate note of the time and date before you leave their surgery. This information will be checked at the Pet Control Centre at the port/terminal and any inaccurate or missing information could mean that your pet is not allowed to travel.

On the Ferry or Eurotunnel

Eurotunnel is a great option for those travelling with pets; there are exercise facilities at the terminals as well as Pet Control Centres, and the journey time is very short so your animal should have no problem staying in your vehicle. However, ferry companies are increasingly aware that people want their pets to travel in comfort no matter how long the journey, so here are a few ideas for keeping them comfortable during your time onboard.

  • Plan ahead - if your pet isn't used to long car journeys, take them out in the car a few times before the crossing, to let them get used to it.
  • Be certain there is adequate ventilation in your vehicle, NEVER leave your pets inside a car without making sure the windows are open a little way
  • If travelling at hot times of the year, consider travelling overnight if possible, as the temperature tends to be cooler
  • Leave your pet enough food and water for the duration of the journey
  • Exercise your dogs as close to embarkation as possible in order to minimise restlessness and toilet accidents!
  • Supply absorbent bedding if possible
  • Make sure your pet can move around as freely as possible
  • Leave them plenty of familiar toys so they feel at ease
  • If you are able to take your dog on to the ferry decks (you will need to check the ferry company's terms to see if this is allowed), for larger dogs we recommend you bring a muzzle. Not all ferry companies require this, but many do so it is a good idea to bring one.

Vaccinations and Chips - At the Vets

The first step to taking your pet abroad is to visit your vet and get them the required microchips, vaccinations and tests. Your vet will be aware of what is required, but get in touch with them well before you travel.

  • A microchip. This must be done before any inoculations. If your dog had a rabies injection before, you'll have to get another one after.
  • Rabies vaccination. Have your pet vaccinated against rabies after having a microchip. There is no exemption - it doesn't matter if your pet has already had a rabies vaccination before.
  • Dogs entering/returning to the UK need a tapeworm treatment. If you are coming back to the UK, before you take your pet on the ferry you must get it treated against tapeworm. This is a simple inexpensive procedure but very important. You must do this not less than 24 hours before you check in and 1-5 days before you check in. The check must be recorded in your pet's passport. If you are going on a day trip with your pet, you will will need to have the treatment carried out in the UK 1-5 days before they are checked in for the return journey.
  • Blood test. A blood test is only required if you are departing from countries not listed below.

Getting a Pet Passport

In the UK you must visit a Local Veterinary Inspector (LVI), a government-authorised vet. Your local vet will probably have a resident LVI but if not, they will tell you where to find the nearest one, or you could contact your local Animal Health Office to find the closest LVI.

Your vet must record in your pet's passport:

  • Your pet's vaccination record and blood test result.
  • Evidence of the date your pet was microchipped, and their microchip number.

For more details about what is required, visit the Gov.co.uk website

Add Pets to your Ferry Booking

So, now your pet has been to the vet and you have your pet passport the next step is booking the ferry and going on the journey. With Cheap 4 Ferries you can add pets to your booking with your initial search for ferries. Using the booking form, select your route and once you have done this, if pet spaces are available on that route, the option to add dogs or cats will appear in the "passenger" section. The cost of your pets tickets is included in the total price.

Any other operator specific information about taking pets with you on ferries or Eurotunnel trains can be found on the individual ferry operator pages.

Countries that you can go to with your pet as part of the PETS scheme

The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man:

There are no requirements if you are taking your dog or cat to the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man from mainland UK as long as you don't go outside those countries on your journey.

Countries in the European Union:

Austria, the Azores, the Balearic Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Canary Islands, Ceuta, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the Faroe Islands, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Gibraltar, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Melilla, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

Countries Outside the European Union:

Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Chile, Croatia, the Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico Monaco, Montserrat, Netherlands, Antilles, Singapore St, Lucia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, St Helena, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & The Grenadines, San Marino, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, USA, Vanuatu, the Vatican, Wallis & Futuna.