travelling with dogs

DestinationsTravel Tips

Travelling With Pets – 10 Things To Know When Bringing Pets Abroad


Planning a holiday overseas with your four-legged friend? My top tips for travelling with pets should help.

Whether you are planning a holiday with your pet, visiting a family member and want to bring your pet along, or relocating to a new country, my top tips for travelling with pets should help. I’ve got tips for travelling by plane and ferry, as well as the documents you need for travel within the EU or further afield.


If you fancy holidaying in Ireland with your pet, check out these posts:

Read: 40 hotels in Ireland that allow dogs

Read: Dog friendly Airbnbs in Ireland



1. Get a pet passport

travelling with pets overseas

Before you even think about travelling with your pet – get a pet passport. You will need one to travel overseas, and they are surprisingly straight forward to obtain.  Your pet needs:

  • A veterinary health certificate – contact your vet or the Regional Veterinary Office at least two-months in advance of travel to ensure that necessary documentation can be certified by department officials.
  • A microchip
  • An up to date rabies vaccination. Your pet will need to be vaccinated at least 21 days prior to travel and your pet must be at least 12 weeks of age before a rabies vaccine can be administered. Therefore the earliest that a pet can travel abroad is 15 weeks.



European pet passports are valid for life, once your pets rabies vaccination is in date. European pet passports are available for dogs, cats or ferrets only and are available from any authorised vet (permitted by the relevant authorities to issue pet passports).


What is a pet passport?

According to the website: A pet passport is a document, which follows an EU standard model and is essential for travel between EU countries.

It contains a description and details of your pet, including its microchip or tattoo code, as well as its rabies vaccination record and contact details of the owner and the vet who issued the passport.

See more here



2. If possible travel within the EU

travelling with pets

EU rules (above) make it easy to travel to another EU country (27 EU countries + Norway and Northern Ireland) with your dog, cat or ferret.
A separate treatment against tapeworm is required for entry to most EU countries, however as Ireland is free from tapeworm this is not required for travel out of Ireland, but will be required for return to Ireland – see below.

Note: The EU rules described above apply to private journeys with pet animals which do not involve a change of ownership or sale.



3. If travelling with pets to a Non EU Country, you need an EU animal health certificate

traveling to the USA with a pet

If you are travelling to or from a non-EU country, your pet must have an EU animal health certificate issued by an official State vet in the country of departure, not more than 10 days before your pet arrives in the EU.

The certificate is valid for travel between EU countries for four months from this date, or until the anti-rabies vaccination expires, whichever lapses first.


What is an EU animal health certificate?

The EU animal health certificate is a document that contains specific information about your pet (identity, health, rabies vaccinations) and is based on an EU standard model.


In addition, you should also complete and attach a written declaration to your pet’s EU animal health certificate stating that its relocation is for non-commercial reasons.

See pet travel requirements for the UK here and USA here.



4. Check individual country requirements before you book

bringing pets abroad

While requirements are standard in most EU countries, there may be specific conditions attached. The website has a handy search box where you can enter the country you are leaving from, and it will tell you what the requirements for travelling with pets are. 

See more here



5. There are 2 ways to fly with you pet – In the cabin or in the hold.

pet travel
Image by rafi ben haim from Pixabay

If you pet is small they may be able to travel with you in the cabin – although policies vary between airlines. There are limits to the number of pets that can be in a cabin on one flight – so early booking is vital.


Snub-nosed pets may have trouble breathing during the flight and may not be allowed to travel in the hold. Dangerous or banned dog breeds are not accepted by most airlines, and maximum weight limits apply to containers.



6. Polices vary between airports, airlines and aircraft type.

pet polices vary between airlines

Pet-friendly airlines like KLM allow one cat or dog in the cabin when travelling within Europe. Your pet should fit in a closed pet travel bag or kennel with a maximum size of 46 x 28 x 24 cm, because they’ll need to travel underneath the seat in front of you.

Together with your pet, the travel bag or kennel can weigh no more than 8 kg. You’re not allowed to take your pet out of the kennel during the flight.


Air France, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines have similar policies and will allow pets travel in the cabin. 

Read: What airlines allow pets on planes

However, this may only be possible if travelling within Europe or on selected international flights. In Business Class on selected routes it is not possible to put a kennel underneath the seat in front of you.

KLM allow up to 3 pets in the hold and they can even share the same kennel depending on size. Price varies from €75 – €400 one way.


IAG airlines such as Aer Lingus and British Airways allow pets in the hold only,  and use a pet agent to organise their travel arrangements. See Aer Lingus pet-policy here.


Ryanair do not allow any pets on board, with the exception of assistance / guide dogs. See Ryanair’s pet policy here.

Note: Airlines have exceptions too – some aircraft’s cargo holds are not sufficiently ventilated, so even with pet-friendly airlines,  is not always possible to bring a pet on board.


Top Tip: If booking connecting flights make sure you allow plenty of time for your pet to be transferred from one aircraft to another – a minimum of 3 hours is recommended. Make sure to discuss your requirements directly with the airline before booking as some airports don’t allow transfers of pets from one aircraft to another.



7. Think about the ferry when travelling with pets

travelling with pets by ferry

Although the same rules apply regarding pet passports for travel by sea, this may be a less stressful way to travel with your pet. If travelling as a foot passenger you will require a pet cage to transport your pet, however if travelling by car there are more comfortable options available.


Stena Line allow cats and dogs to travel free of charge in kennels or in your vehicle between Ireland & UK. For travel to or from France they can avail of heated onboard dog lodges for an additional fee. The new Stenaline ship, Stena Vision, which will be sailing from Rosslare to Cherbourg this summer, will have 42 pet-friendly cabins.

Lodges and cabins are subject to availability and must be pre-booked. Dogs can be exercised under controlled conditions when staying in dog lodges. If staying in your vehicle you can visit your pet during allotted time.


Irish Ferries allow cats and dogs to travel free in your vehicle or in kennels between Ireland and the UK. There is an additional fee for sailings to France.


If sailing to France your pet will be housed in their dedicated onboard kennels. You will be allowed to visit your pet during the crossing and bring them for a short walk. A crew member will accompany you to the kennels. Prices vary from €30-€60 depending on kennel / pet size.


Brittany Ferries allow pets to travel in your car, in a kennel, or in their pet-friendly cabins. The choices available depend on which ship and route that you travel on – see more here. Dogs must be muzzled when outside of your vehicle.

Guide / assistance dogs are welcome in most areas of ports and ships – see individual websites for more details. 

Read: Top 10 accessories for travelling with pets



8. Travelling with guide or assistance pets


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A post shared by Irish Guide Dogs (@irishguidedogs)

Airlines operating within the EU are obliged to allow disabled passengers and those with reduced mobility to bring their recognised assistance dogs in the cabin of the plane. All dogs travelling in a cabin of an aircraft must be fully compliant with the rules for pet travel. 


It is a matter for airlines whether or not they will allow animals providing other types of assistance/services, such as emotional support, to accompany passengers in the cabin of the plane.

This rule applies for travel within the EU only. For instance, guide or assistance dogs are NOT accepted on flights to and from Morocco or Israel with Ryanair.


The EU Pet Passport or veterinary health certificate must be supported with documentation confirming that the guide/assistance dog is affiliated to one of the following organisations to enable pet travel.

  • International Guide Dog Federation
  • Assistance Dogs UK
  • Assistance Dogs International (ADI)



Guide/assistance dogs must sit on the floor at your feet. In some cases airlines will have a maximum number of guide / assistance dogs allowed per flight so early booking is essential.


If you are travelling to or from a non-EU country, rules will vary depending on the country. You MUST provide advance notice of your intention to bring your service dog into Ireland, at least 24 hours before your departure time.



9. Remember to check trains, taxis and pet-friendly hotels.

dog friendly hotels

When you have the flight or ferry booked for your pet, don’t forget to pre-book your airport transfer and hotel accommodation in advance. Uber Pet offers pet-friendly airport transfers, and there are many hotels and Airbnbs that cater for your four-legged friends.


You can filter your search on Airbnb and to select hotels and apartments that allow pets, while worldwide hotel chain Kimpton are renowned for their pet-friendly policy – they invite all dogs, regardless of size or breed to stay at their hotels free of charge.

Bring Fido is the TripAdvisor for dog owners. It has over 500,000 places to stay, play, and eat with your dog.



10. D0n’t forget about the entry requirements for returning to Ireland

bringing dogs to Ireland

Pets arriving into Ireland must meet the requirements for entering Ireland from that country – as if it was a pet from that country.

As well as having a pet passport, (and EU animal health certificate if travelling from outside the EU), your dog needs to be treated for tapeworm by a local vet between 1-5 days before your return flight.

See more here




Travelling with other pets

European pet passports are issued for dogs, cats and ferrets only. If you are travelling to another EU country with any other pets, such as birds, ornamental aquatic animals, reptiles, rodents or rabbits, check the national rules of the country you are planning to visit for information on the entry conditions.



Selling a pet or travelling with pets you don’t own:

If you are travelling to sell your pet, please contact See more information about travelling with pets that you do not own, or if you are travelling with more than five pets here


While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, information, airline and country rules regarding travelling with pets can change at any time. It is important you check the up to date requirements for pet travel on and with your local vet.

Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.


Holidays in IrelandTravel Tips

Top 10 Accessories For Travelling With Pets

bringing dog on holidays

Safety harnesses, travel beds, feeding bottles, life vests, seat protectors, first aid kits and lots more – I’ve hand picked 10 accessories for travelling with pets.  

One of the benefits of holidaying at home is that you can bring your four legged friend along with you. I was surprised to discover just how many accessories for travelling with pets were available in Ireland. 

With this in mind I have teamed up with Irish owned, who are Ireland’s number one online store for all your car and travel essentials. They have a wide selection of camping equipment, bike racks, roof racks as well as pet travel accessories – many of which are available to order with next day delivery. There are so many pet accessories to choose from, but I have highlighted ten of my favourites below.

1. Seat protectors and covers

car accessories for travelling with dogs

Seat protectors are essential accessories for travelling with pets. There are many varieties to choose form but most are heavy-duty, water repellent and tearproof. Boot covers are also available, as well as pet hammocks!

See more here

2. Safety seat belt harnesses

safety harness for travelling with pets

Irish pet laws state you must restrain your dog while driving, so it is vital that you invest in a good safety belt harness. There is a wide selection to choose from depending on the size and weight of your dog.

The Trixie Car Safety Belt Harness is comfortable to wear and contains soft inner cushions on the chest area to alleviate any unnecessary discomfort or irritation to your dog when they pull on a leash, or if you need to brake suddenly. This also comes with a tape leash and be used when walking – and can be more comfortable for your dog than a leashed collar.

It is important to note that this Dog Car Safety Belt and Harness is designed to prevent the movement of your dog in your vehicle and provide an increased level of protection if an accident occurs. However, it does not guarantee safety during an accident. Please drive with care while transporting animals and help protect your pet while on the move.

See more here

3. Pet life vests

life jackets for dogs

If you are planning on bringing your dog to the beach, or on a boat or paddle board this summer, a life vest is essential. Strong currents are common and your pet can get caught out easily. This pet vest is bright and comfortable and comes with a zipper and handle on the back, in the unfortunate event that you need pull your dog from the water. 

Read: Inflatable paddle boards – how to choose the right SUP board 

See more here


4. Travel feeding and drinking kits

 accessories for travelling with pets

Your pet will love the selection of water bottles and feeding sets available. I like this Travel Food and Water set because it can be used for food storage and feeding – there are two separate bowls for feeding, one for water and one for food. This is a great space saver and ideal for road trips and hiking.
Priced at only €7.99, this is great value  – and the bowls are dishwasher proof too!

See more here

5. First aid kit for travelling with pets

accessories for travelling with pets

Splinters and cuts can happen easily when travelling with pets, as animals are not used to the territory, and make find themselves in places they shouldn’t be! The Trixie First Aid Kit for Cats and Dogs is a handy kit that comes in a portable pouch that can be attached to a belt or rucksack, and is ideal for hiking, or walking.

The kit includes a wound compress, bandage packs, adhesive tape, alcohol swabs, a disposable syringe, a tweezers for removing ticks, gloves, a muzzle loop, flea and lice comb, and a book with tips for administering the correct first aid to your pet.
This is a steal at just €9.99 – and is an essential accessory for travelling with pets.

See more here

6. Car seats and travel beds

pet travel accessories

MicksGarage have a selection of car seats and travel beds to keep your pet comfortable when you travel. This handy 2 in 1 pet carrier and seat protector can be attached to the car seat using strong straps. It is easy to clean, and waterproof and is suitable for most cars. It is also great value too, priced at just €25.87.
See more here


7. Herbal anti anxiety kids – accessories for travelling with pets

travel tablets for pets

Calm-Eze Anti Anxiety Travel Tablets are ideal for use with anxious or nervous dogs and cats. These tablets are a natural dietary supplement that were designed and created by veterinary practitioners. They help to calm nervous pets when travelling, and can also be used during thunderstorms, fireworks, or stress caused by separation anxiety.
See more here

8. Pet carriers and crates

pet carriers for travel

MicksGarage has a selection of pet carriers and crates to suit dogs of all sizes. Choose crates that are designed to be used in the boot of the car, or heavy duty canvas carriers that are ideal for indoor, outdoor and travel use.
See more here

10. Pet door anti-scratch protectors

car accessories for travelling with pets

This two pack of anti-scratch protectors is suitable for most cars and is fitted with multi-function pockets. Protect your door panels from scratches and dirt while on the move, and they can be easily washed with water and a brush.
See more here are Ireland’s number one online store for all your car and travel essentials. They have a wide selection of camping equipment, SUP boards, bike racks and roof racks, many of which are available to order with next day delivery. Rated 4.7 on Trustpilot, should be your first port of call for staycation essentials this summer.

This post on accessories for travelling with pets was sponsored by I hope it helps you plan a trip away with your four legged friend soon. 


Like this post? You might like:

10 staycation essentials that you should be buying now

How to choose a roof rack in three easy steps




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