Pet Transport

There was a time when taking your dog on a foreign holiday was unthinkable. International pet travel was possible but impractical because it involved months of quarantine and stress.

Thankfully, since the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) and the Pet Passport, travelling abroad with your dog is much easier. But, it’s still not as simple as jumping in the car and heading off across the channel on your holidays.

The rules about taking a pet abroad are understandably quite strict. There are certain things you “must” do before you travel within Europe. Within the PETS scheme, there is a list of countries you can travel to and from, and specified routes and transporters you can use.

If you’re travelling further afield or relocating to a country not covered under the scheme there are stricter rules to follow.

DEFRA are the Government department responsible for the safe passage of pets in and out of the UK. Before travelling, we would recommend you spend some time going through the information on their website.

You’ll see there is a lot of information; this is one of the reasons most pet owners turn to transportation companies for help.

Why use a Dog Transportation Company

There are many reasons to use a dog transportation company, not least convenience. If you think about it, they are the experts when it comes to moving pets around the world.

They understand the rules of international pet travel, and can help you with the necessary paperwork and have a selection of services designed to streamline the whole process and reduce the stress on your dog.

Dog Transportation Scams

In recent years, scammers targeted the international pet transportation industry. Their main focus has been on scamming people who try to buy puppies online (which you should never do).

Therefore, it’s imperative you do your homework when it comes to choosing a transport company. We’ve already mentioned it, but it’s worth mentioning it again – use the DEFRA website to find a registered company.

Dog Transportation Companies

Companies fall into two groups, European and worldwide. Although many of them overlap on the services they provide.

The main difference between the two, other than the obvious destination differences, the former generally travel over land, rail and sea, which means less stress for your dog. Whereas the latter concentrate on long haul air transfers.


Doing a quick search, it’s soon apparent there is an endless list of services available. Understandably, they’re trying to win our business, so the more choice they offer the better, but it does confuse matters.

Rather than recommending one particular company or service, here is an overview of some of the options:

Travelling by Land and Sea

  • All companies offer advice, planning and travel organisation as part of their service. You will either be dealing directly with the business owner or a named agent who will assist you and your dog at every stage.
  • Chauffeur Driven Cars – You, your luggage and your pet can be taken to Europe in a private car. These companies are licenced by DEFRA and are a good option if you have a timid dog.
  • Many companies have invested in purpose-built or ex-police vehicles. This way, they can transport a number of pets at once.
  • For overnight trips, some companies have sleeping areas on the van so your pet is never left alone, whilst others organise dog-friendly hotels.
  • Dogs are given plenty of exercise during their trip, and some offer grooming and veterinary services.
  • Using social media and technology, most offer real-time updates so you can track your dog, many will send you photos during the trip.

Travelling by Air

  • As with overland travel, you will receive full travel planning advice, support prior to, during and after the journey.
  • Many air transfer companies have relationships with airlines, meaning they can deal with the booking process as part of their service; this could save you money as they block book pets on flights.
  • Many companies have premises on or near airports to reduce travel time and stress on your dog.
  • If quarantine is necessary, a company representative will assist you at home and abroad.
  • Regular updates can be given throughout the journey via social media.
  • For the ultimate dog transport service, you can hire a private jet, meaning you and your dog can travel together in luxury.

As you can see, working within the rules of international pet transport, there are a vast array of options available, far too many to list here.

It’s sensible to shop around, collect a number of quotes from different companies then compare the services they offer.

In one respect, it’s confusing, but in another, it means if you have the budget, the sky literally is the limit when it comes to transporting your best friend.

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