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Taking your pet on holiday

Information sheets

Going on holiday with your pet is not always straightforward. It is not just a piece of luggage and it might not be used to travelling. Here is some practical advice on how to look after your animal on the journey and ensure that you both make the most of your holiday together.

Taking your pet on holiday

During transport

  • If it is not used to travelling, an animal can feel sick during transport. Avoid feeding it at least 6 hours before departure.
  • Just before departure, go for a walk or play with it so that it can stretch its legs as much as possible.
  • Prepare a sufficient amount of water to avoid dehydration.
  • For small- and medium-sized pets, such as cats and small dogs, use a comfortable cage. Most cages are made from perforated rigid plastic to allow for good aeration. No part of the animal’s body should protrude from the cage. The cage should be big enough to allow the animal to stand up, turn around and lie comfortably. Cover the bottom of the cage with something absorbent such as a blanket. Large animals must travel with a lead.
  • For birds, cover their cage with a towel or piece of fabric during transport. It will help the bird be calm and less noisy, which could bother you or other passengers.
  • If you travel by car, put your pet in the boot. If possible fold down the back row of seats for large animals. You could also install a net or a metal guard to keep the animal in place if it’s unsettled. Keep the window half open during the journey and never leave the animal alone in the car in the sun, even with water.
  • There are strict rules for taking animals on public transport. Nearly all pets, except guide dogs, have to be paid for. Here is a summary of animal travel conditions for each mode of transport:
  • By plane: the animal must be declared at the time of booking and its species and breed specified. Dogs and cats of a small size are generally accepted in the cabin as hand luggage, but bigger animals will have to go in the hold (pressurised, heated and ventilated). It is harder to find airlines that accept birds, rabbits and hamsters. It is advisable to show up well in advance at the airport to complete the formalities for the animal.
  • By train: dogs must be muzzled (except guide dogs). Be careful not to disturb the other passengers, who are entitled to complain to staff if they are. The animal has to stay in the corridor or at the end of the carriage. On night trains, you have to book a whole compartment for you and your pet.
  • By bus: coach companies generally agree to transport small pets as long as they are in a cage. However, big dogs are often refused.
  • By boat: depending on the chosen company, animals can generally travel in a reserved area. It is also possible to leave your dog in the car if it is on the boat as well. In this case, the journey is free for the animal.
  • By taxi: with the exception of guide dogs, taxi drivers are entitled to refuse animals in their vehicle. It is often easier to book a taxi that accepts animals. A small extra charge is usually applied to transport animals.

At the holiday destination

  • Very few hotels accept animals straight off. For big dogs, it is essential to enquire and warn at the time of booking. Small animals are more easily accepted. An extra charge is sometimes applied.
  • Certain holiday rentals, guest houses, bed and breakfasts and resorts accept animals. Here again, it is necessary to warn in advance and to specify the type of animal.
  • With rare exceptions, campsites generally accept animals if they are on a lead, vaccinated and tattooed/microchipped.
  • Out of respect to the owner and to ensure a trouble-free holiday, follow the specific rules of each holiday establishment that you stay at.
  • On outings, avoid making your pet do much more physical effort than it’s used to. Avoid the hottest hours and remember to make it drink water regularly. Do not remove its lead unless it is a very obedient animal.
  • Although the animal’s diet should not change on holiday, you can increase the amount it eats slightly if it is doing significantly more physical effort than usual.
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Your holidays
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