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Taking your pet abroad

If you're taking your pet abroad, Saga offers a Pet Travel Extension, which can be added to your Saga Pet Insurance policy for an additional premium. This gives your cat or dog many of the benefits of our cover while abroad, including vet fees of up to £5,000 (£3,000 for Saver), plus third party liability for dogs.

Taking your pet abroad

Under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), cats and dogs can now enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine, provided they meet the rules of the scheme. These rule differ depending on the country or territory the pet is coming from. Here are our tips for travelling with your pet.

Travelling abroad with your pet

Taking your pet abroad means a considerable amount of pre-planning to ensure you meet the legal requirements when you bring them back into the UK.

If you're returning to the UK from the EU or a listed non-EU country, your pet must have been microchipped and vaccinated and have the correct travel documentation. All dogs must also be treated for tapeworm before entering the UK.

It's important to remember that even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination, they still need to be vaccinated after the microchip's been fitted. There is no exemption to this requirement and the length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is 21 days after the first vaccination date.

Please note, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, pets will continue to be able to travel from the UK to the EU, but the requirements for documents and health checks will change. You will need to discuss preparations for your pet’s travel with your vet at least four months before you wish to travel. Find out more about travelling with your pet.

Travelling in the UK with your pet

Although there are no such rules when taking your pet on holiday in the UK, there may be some restrictions that you need to be aware of. For example, some seaside resorts ban dogs on beaches in the summer months and there may be restrictions in campsites and other accommodation.

Common sense and courtesy mean that dogs should be kept on leads where directed - particularly on public footpaths, through farmland and unfamiliar areas. Gates should be secured and mess cleared up and disposed of properly, not least because of the risk of parasitic infections such as lungworm to other dogs.

On the road

Dogs that aren't used to travelling can find long journeys very stressful. So too can drivers, so always use a safe mode of transport for any pet, ideally a carrier or crate.  A fidgeting animal can be a dangerous distraction.

Make plenty of comfort stops where your dog can stretch its legs, make sure there's constant access to fresh water and never be tempted to leave your dog alone in the car, even in the shade with a window open - it can take just minutes for heat stroke to kill.

Check with your travel operator as to their rules on carrying pets - some ferry companies allow dogs on deck with certain restrictions.

In the heat

During the summer it is wise to avoid walking your dog at the hottest time of the day between 11am and 3pm, and certainly don't go on a long hike.  Try to avoid walking your dog on hot surfaces, as they can hurt their paw pads. Keep dogs' and cats' coats in good condition and have them trimmed if needed - it'll help them stay cool.

White cats and dogs, and those with white ears have a higher chance of sunburn, so ask your vet about an appropriate sun block.

Don't forget that conservatories can get very hot so don't leave your pet unattended.

Beware of barbecues - pets should never have meat with cooked bones in, even if they are leftovers so check for discarded food.

And finally, Battersea Dogs Home suggests making ice lollies for dogs by mixing their food with some water and freezing it in a plastic cup (obviously remove it from the cup before giving it to your dog).

As for cats, well they seem to spend their lives being cool anyway!