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Travelling with pets

If you eat, sleep and breath eventing, booking a holiday is a rare occurrence. However, if there is the luxury of a free weekend or a week without eventing, would your pet take the trip with you? We take a look at some of the companies helping the whole family on a happy holiday.

Recent surveys show that at least nine in 10 pet owners want to take their pets away with them. With so many dog owners looking for holidays, it is not surprising that numerous companies are starting to see the value in catering to their needs.

Chief among these is PetPyjamas.com, a lifestyle website with a Pet Concierge service, who will help you arrange the perfect break for the whole family. The website initially launched with a comprehensive list of dog-friendly accommodation across the UK, before developing a booking portal in 2014.

“When we launched, we just listed hotels that were pet friendly and promoted them, but then we had so much enthusiasm for that side of the business that we decided we would book holidays as well, so we’re like a pet travel agency now,” explains Denise Elphick, PetPyjamas Creative Director and Founder.

“We started out by signing top hotels up to the site and it grew from there. We have since added lots of holiday cottages and B&Bs and now have more than 600 properties on our books.

“People can call us and say ‘I’ve got three dogs and two children and we want to go somewhere in Cornwall, near a beach’ and our team will find the right place.” 
 

OVERSEAS ADVENTURES 


But what if you want guaranteed sunshine during your break and travel with your dog abroad? Thankfully you aren’t confined to the UK just because you have a dog – just check the government’s Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) online for a list of the paperwork and vaccinations you need before taking your pet abroad.

Transportation to Europe won’t be an issue either. EuroTunnel will allow your pets to travel (although EuroStar currently doesn’t), while most ferry companies will also allow passage. Brittany Ferries actually saw 57,670 pets travel in 2014, which was five percent up on 2013.

Christopher Jones, Brittany Ferries’ Communications Manager, said: “Demand has risen now that the pet passport scheme is well established and has been simplified to make it even easier to manage. Taking our pets to France and Spain is now normal – a way of life for many of our customers. We’ve responded by providing better facilities on board, with kennels and pet-friendly cabins for example.” 
 

HAPPY HACKING


Of course, it’s not just small animals that become part of the family − horses do too. The thought of hacking through new landscapes or across beautiful beaches is one of the many joys of owning a horse − so why not take your horse on holiday? Travel within the UK is just dependent on having a suitable horsebox and finding somewhere to stay.

If you’re struggling to find accommodation, the British Horse Society website (bhs.org.uk) is the best place to look. Their Horses Welcome scheme lists holiday homes and cottages with stables or livery available, so you can enjoy riding through new landscapes and scenery.

And international travel isn’t out of the question either. Providing your horse’s passport is up to date, you have a recent Defra health certificate and they’ve had all the required inoculations for your destination, you shouldn’t have a problem. Both EuroTunnel and a number of ferry companies allow horses passage, while a large number of livery yards and stables are happy to take short-term occupants.
 

DON’T FORGET

  • Your pet’s paperwork: all animals need a pet passport issued by an official vet, plus evidence of microchipping and vaccinations. Insurance will also be required. Check gov.uk to make sure you have everything you need.
  • Vaccinations: ensure your pet has had its rabies jab in particular, otherwise it might not be allowed to travel overseas.
  • A microchip: this makes it easy for the authorities to identify which animals are coming and going from the country, and will also help to find your pet should it escape during your break.
 
Extract from full article originally published in AGA Living magazine. Image credit: Austin Kirk