Monday, 16 January 2012

Pets on a ferry?

Take out the stress of finding kennels and catteries this year by taking your pet on holiday with you. Travelling to the continent by ferry with pets has become even easier as there is no longer a requirement for your dog, cat or ferret to have a blood test or undergo tick treatment when you return to the UK. The PETS scheme has changed to that all you need is a pet passport: a document issued by a government-authorised vet that exempts your animal from quarantine. Most vets can do this, which simply involves a blood test, rabies vaccine and identifying your pet with a microchip.

This year alone, ferry companies have taken two rare Oryx, Zara Phillips’ horses en-route to an equestrian event and a gibbon called Lisa, as well as the more usual cats and dogs. Travelling on-board with a pet couldn’t be easier. Depending on the crossing, domestic or international, dogs and cats can travel on-deck, in the car or even in a special cabin and many operators will even carry pets in cars free of charge. Visit for more information.

With more than 3,500 pets travelling with Stena Line between Harwich and the Hook of Holland alone in 2011 (a 6.4% increase compared to 2010), ferry operators are more than equipped for a safe passage for our furry friends. Brittany Ferries reported a 10% increase as they carried more than 43,000 pets in 2011.

LD Lines saw a massive 29% increase on pet travel last year on their Portsmouth–Le Havre route, whilst P&O Ferries carried 19,478 cats and dogs on their Dover–Calais route alone (an increase of nearly 6% on 2010). DFDS Seaways, along with all other continental ferry operators, are expecting to significant increases in the number of pets travelling with the simplification of the scheme. Irish Ferries can reveal that dogs are the most well-travelled pets, followed by cats and (perhaps surprisingly) ferrets.

Whilst the new EU changes are good news for all animal-lovers, pets headed to Ireland will see no change to the already existing ‘open door’ policy. This is because both The Republic of Ireland and the UK who have not had indigenous rabies for many decades will continue to apply no compliance checks on pets travelling between the two countries.

Details can be found about the PETS scheme regulations by visiting

Policies vary depending on ferry companies; contact the specific operator for further information. provides comprehensive details of ferry companies and routes from the UK to Europe, Ireland and the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and Isle of Wight.

Visit – your one-stop-shop for up-to-date information and news about travelling by ferry

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