The Law on Transporting Pets


Many of us regard our pets as an extended member of the family and, as a result, like to take them with us on days out or even longer periods away from home and travelling abroad.

The laws relating to pets travelling with us via the various modes of transport are not especially well known, so this article will discuss the different scenarios and what you may have to take into consideration as a pet owner travelling in the UK.

Driving with our pets in the car
There are currently no laws with regards to allowing our domestic pets to travel in the car with us, although there are obvious risks and precautions that owners take into consideration.

Many owners still allow their pets (especially dogs) to be unrestrained and free to roam around the car, which leads to thousands of accidents every year, but the use of restraining mechanisms is becoming more common.

Campaigns have been attempted in the past to make using a car seat-belt, harness, or crate an essential part of travelling with dogs, but these have never come to fruition.

Taking our pets abroad
If you are wanting to take your pets abroad then you have to look into the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which was set up to for an easier and more affordable way of transporting our furry friends to different countries.

In addition to being a way of regulating the travel of domestic pets, the importance of the PETS scheme is to halt the spread of diseases, such as rabies, that they may carry.

This scheme is only related to dogs, cats, and ferrets, and they have to meet the following criteria to be allowed to travel:

  • be fitted with a microchip
  • be vaccinated against rabies
  • wait 21 days from the date of their first rabies vaccination before travelling to another Member State or approved Third Country, or not have visited any non-approved countries or territories for at least six months before entering or re-entering Northern Ireland.

Dogs and cats must also tick the following two boxes…

  • be blood tested with a satisfactory result by a European approved laboratory
  • wait six calendar months from the date the satisfactory blood sample was taken before entering/ re-entering the UK

Finally, just like the rest of us you need to ensure you get a pet passport sorted. These can be issued by a vet, but make sure you sort out this well in advance of your travels.

Travelling by train with your pet
Currently in the UK, passengers are allowed to take, free of charge, up to two pets, provided they are not causing any danger to other passengers and meet certain conditions.

Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, or kept in an enclosed basket, which applies to cats and other small animals as well. The animals or baskets cannot be kept on seats however, and if they are then a charge may be incurred.

Ultimately it is up to the discretion of the on-train staff, who have the right to remove any animals from the carriage if they deem them to be causing any harm among fellow passengers.

One thing to bear in mind regarding this is that it only relates to domestic pets; other types, such as livestock, are not permitted to travel on the passenger trains at all here in the UK.

Featured Image CreditBasiliskSam


About Author

Michael is an animal lover, currently the owner of one rescue centre cat called Satch. He is a freelance writer and pet lover, writing on behalf of MORE TH>N. These are his own thoughts and do not represent the views of MORE TH>N.

1 Comment

  1. Some great tips and advice. I don’t like to admit it but I’ve had more than one close call because by boxer would bump into me while driving. I’ve since installed a caged panel like the inside of a cop car so he doesn’t make me wreck.

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