Instead of the cost and stress of finding a kennel or cattery, consider taking your pet on holiday with you.
Under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), all you need is a passport, issued by a government-authorised vet, that exempts your animal from quarantine. Getting your pet into globe-trotting mode involves a blood test, rabies vaccine, a microchip ID implant and, for dogs, tapeworm treatment. All this must be done at least three weeks before you travel. You can expect to pay between £150 and £250, which compares favourably with the cost of kennels.
Ferry companies are used to carrying animals – they’ve transported Zara Phillips’ horses as well as orangutans, alpacas, lions, giraffes, pigs, frogs, lizards, parrots and even a snow leopard.
Brittany Ferries carries about 45,000 animals each year while Stena Line carries about 3,500 between Harwich and the Hook of Holland, so transporting you cat or dog will be a walk in the park.
Pets heading to other parts of the British Isles don’t need to carry documentation. This includes Ireland, whose ‘open door’ policy reflects the fact that neither country has had indigenous rabies for many decades.
Depending on the crossing, dogs and cats can travel on-deck (Caledonian MacBrayne has special dog-friendly deck areas), in pet-friendly lounges (on Red Funnel’s newly refurbished Red Falcon, for example), in your car or even in ozone-friendly cabins. Many operators will carry pets free of charge.
Contact your ferry company for further information.