General Advice

The following information has been extracted from DEFRA (Department for the Envornment, Food and Rural Affairs) - Protecting the Welfare Of Pet Dogs And Cats During Journeys and should only be used as a guide. Eurocamp Holidays recommends you fully read the DEFRA documentation. Download the full DEFRA document here. Whenever animals are transported, including journeys with dogs, the law says that: ‘No person shall transport any animal in a way which causes or is likely to cause injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal.’ You should plan for travelling with your dog well before the journey. Think carefully about the type of journey it is and the effect that it will have on your dog, taking into account how big the animal is, its nature, and how long the journey is. 

If you cannot be 100% sure that you can fully protect your animal’s welfare on the journey, you should consider not taking your dog on a Eurocamp Holiday. 

You should make sure that you know and understand the carrier’s conditions for transporting your dog, and that you have booked a place for it to travel if necessary. Eurocamp Holidays will advise you of the carrier's conditions and will confirm the booking of your dog on your chosen operator. Should you decide to book your own travel arrangements, you must travel on an authorised route with an approved carrier. Tell Eurocamp Holidays beforehand if your dog is a guide dog or an assistance dog, so that they can make special arrangements if necessary.

Make sure your dog is fit to travel

Your dog should be healthy and fit for the intended journey. If necessary, ask your vet for advice before beginning the journey. An animal is not normally fit for transport if it: 

  • is ill or injured (except for minor illness or injury) 
  • is newborn with an unhealed navel 
  • cannot feed itself and is not travelling with its mother 
  • has given birth within the 48 hours before starting the journey 
  • is heavily pregnant and likely to give birth during the journey
  • Animals under about 10 months old cannot enter Great Britain under PETS passport scheme.
Before the journey Your dog will travel better if it does not have a full stomach, so only provide a light meal about two hours before the journey starts. Make sure water is available at all times. We do not recommend giving a sedative to your dog. This is because it is difficult to predict the effect that the sedative will have on the dog. You should follow your vet’s advice about sedatives. If you do give your dog a sedative, you should carry a certificate which states the drug, dosage, and the date and time it was given. If possible, make sure your dog has been to the toilet just before leaving or before joining your ship. Introduce your dog to its travel enclosure or container before travelling, as this should help reduce the stress of transport. A familiar object (for example, a toy or a cloth) may help the dog to settle into strange surroundings.

How can you recognise overheating?

The first signs are often faster, heavier panting and more activity, with barking or whining. Dogs will look obviously agitated. The dog may produce more saliva than normal, often with drooling and with strands of saliva hanging from the mouth. Extreme panting and dark-coloured gums will follow. The dog’s eyes may become glassy and it may appear to be unconscious. It is important to recognise these symptoms quickly and obtain medical assistance. If left unchecked, overheating can result in death.

Heatstroke in dogs

Dogs differ from people in how they cope with heat. They lose heat mainly by panting and, unlike people, do not sweat a lot. Dogs with snub noses (for example, Pekinese) or dogs with breathing problems are much more likely to suffer from heat stress. Long-haired dogs are more likely to be affected than those with short hair. 

Never leave an animal in a vehicle in direct strong sunshine or high temperatures. Overheating, distress and suffering is likely when the temperature goes above 25°C for more than a few minutes (unless the animals are already used to hot weather). The temperature inside a car in full sun on a hot day can quickly rise to double the temperature outside, leading rapidly to distress for any animal in the vehicle. 

Detecting overheating early and treating it promptly is essential to your dog recovering successfully. Take the dog to a cool shaded place, give it water to drink and spray it with cool water (you can also cool down the dog by blowing cool air from a fan over it). Get advice from a vet immediately if the dog does not respond promptly.

Travelling by vehicle

The United Kingdom (UK) ‘Highway Code’ states: ‘When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you if you stop quickly’. In some European countries, the law does not allow dogs to travel loose in vehicles at all. 

Your dog should preferably travel in a container. A very small dog should always travel in a container, and the container should be placed where it: 

  • cannot move when you accelerate, brake and go round corners
  • is easy to get to is not exposed to strong sunlight or cold draughts

If your dog travels loose in the vehicle, it should not be able to escape through any window. When windows need to be left open, we suggest you use ‘window guards’ to prevent the animal escaping. If the dog is travelling in the luggage compartment of an estate car or hatchback, you should fit a secure dog-guard, and the floor should have a non-slip surface. Providing enough ventilation at all times is essential – both when the vehicle is moving, and even more so when it is not moving – particularly in hot or sunny conditions. 

  • Never leave your dog in a vehicle in direct strong sunshine or high temperatures as it is difficult to make sure there is enough ventilation to keep it cool 
  • There will be much less air flowing through the vehicle when it is in an enclosed space during ferry crossings (or on a train travelling through the Channel Tunnel) unless you leave the windows open enough. You should carry water, and food if necessary, and have a way of giving these to your animal

Travelling by ferry

  • Try and get to the port early so that the carrier can give you the most suitable position in the car deck for your dog 
  • Travel overnight if possible, when the temperature may be cooler 
  • Make sure that the ferry company officials responsible for loading know that there is a live animal in your vehicle, and follow their instructions Before you leave your vehicle, make sure that your dog will have enough ventilation (normally you will need to leave at least one of the vehicle’s windows partly open, but it is also important to make sure your dog cannot escape) 
  • Make sure your dog is comfortable and has enough water 
  • Never leave your dog in a vehicle in direct strong sunshine or high temperatures as it is difficult to make sure there is enough ventilation to keep it cool. The inside of a vehicle left in strong sunlight on an open deck, or in an enclosed deck where the temperature is likely to be higher than 25ºC for more than a few minutes, will very quickly become too hot for the animal inside and cause distress and suffering 
  • For safety reasons, you are not normally able to visit the vehicle decks while the ferry is at sea. However, you can arrange this if it is essential. The ferry company should tell you about its access policy. You shouldn’t need to check on your dog on shorter ferry crossings (less than two hours). However, if this is essential (for example, in severe weather conditions), you can ask permission from staff at the information desk. 
  • On longer ferry crossings (two hours or more) you should arrange (usually at the information desk) to visit your dog at suitable times to check on it and, if appropriate, to give it more water and food and an opportunity to exercise and go to the toilet. 
  • On very long ferry crossings (24 hours or more), or long voyages on other vessels, it is likely that the company will need to transfer your dog from your vehicle into a container in a special area of the vessel. The company should give you information about its policy (including who provides the container), and the procedure for visiting and looking after the animal during the voyage.

Travelling by train through the Channel Tunnel

Your dog will stay with you on the train, and should remain in your vehicle for the duration of the journey.

Travelling by air

At this stage, Eurocamp Holidays will not book dogs for travel through air operators. 

Health and welfare advice whilst overseas

Whilst almost all dogs that travel overseas experience no problems whatsoever, it is worth remembering that should you decide to take your dog out of the UK, it may be exposed to diseases which are not present in the UK. As an example, there are some diseases transmitted by the bite of ticks, and parasites such as heartworm and tapeworm. Your dog will have no natural immunity to such diseases and may therefore be more likely to succumb to them. However, remember that the PETS passport scheme is set up in a way that all efforts are made to minimise this risk. For example, your dog will be required by the PETS passport scheme to have a "ticks and tapeworm" treatment before returning to the UK. 

We strongly recommend that you consult your vet about your dog’s fitness to travel before you take your dog abroad. Depending on where you are going, your vet may be able to advise you on preventative treatments, on any other precautions you need to take and how to look for signs of ill health in your dog.

 In the very unlikely event that your dog shows signs of illness after returning from abroad, explain where it has been so that your vet can consider the possibility of an illness not normally found in the UK. Remember though, thousands of dogs travel overseas every year without incident or illness. 

To take your dog abroad on a Eurocamp holiday, you must obtain a PETS passport. This passport allows for your dog to return to the UK without the requirement for quarantine. The PETS scheme consists of a rigid process and timescale of veterinary requirements which can be performed by your local vet. These are:

  • Step 1 - Have your dog microchipped. Before any of the other procedures for travel are carried out, your dog must be fitted with a microchip so it can be properly identified. 
  • Step 2 - Have your dog vaccinated. After the microchip has been fitted your dog must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your dog has a current rabies vaccination. Rabies boosters must be kept up to date. The length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is 21 days afte the first vaccination date. A waiting period is not required for subsequent entries into the UK, provided rabies boosters are kept up to date. If the vaccination is in 2 parts the 21 day wait will be from the date of the 2nd vaccination.
  • Step 3 - Get travel documentation. For animals being prepared in an EU country, you should get an EU pet passport. If you are preparing your animal in a non-EU listed country or territory you will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate (although note that Croatia, Gibraltar, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland are also issuing passports). 
  • Step 4 - Tapeworm treatment. Before your pet enters the UK it must be treated against tapeworm. Treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before it is checked in with an approved transport company for its journey into the UK. There will now be no mandatory requirement for tick treatment. 
  • Step 5 - Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route. Your dog must enter the UK from a listed country or territory travelling with an approved transport company on an authorised route. These steps must be performed in the required order.

Health and welfare advice whilst overseas

Whilst almost all dogs that travel overseas experience no problems whatsoever, it is worth remembering that should you decide to take your dog out of the UK, it may be exposed to diseases which are not present in the UK. As an example, there are some diseases transmitted by the bite of ticks, and parasites such as heartworm and tapeworm. 

Your dog will have no natural immunity to such diseases and may therefore be more likely to succumb to them. However, remember that the PETS passport scheme is set up in a way that all efforts are made to minimise this risk. For example, your dog will be required by the PETS passport scheme to have a "ticks and tapeworm" treatment before returning to the UK. 

We strongly recommend that you consult your vet about your dog’s fitness to travel before you take your dog abroad. Depending on where you are going, your vet may be able to advise you on preventative treatments, on any other precautions you need to take and how to look for signs of ill health in your dog. 

In the very unlikely event that your dog shows signs of illness after returning from abroad, explain where it has been so that your vet can consider the possibility of an illness not normally found in the UK. 

Remember though, thousands of dogs travel overseas every year without incident or illness.