Taking your pet on holiday? This is what you need to know

In 2023, more people than ever want to take their pets on holiday with them. Research by Stena Line, the ferry company, has shown that 95% of dog owners say that their dogs’ needs are important to them when planning a holiday, and this often leads on to taking their pets with them, rather than leaving them behind at home.

Taking your pet with you involves different needs, depending on where you plan to travel.

Travelling within Ireland

  • Get your pet used to travelling in the car – do plenty of short trips around your home area so that your pet feels comfortable with the idea
  • When driving, stop every 30 mins to allow your pet some brief exercise, along with the chance to have a drink of water and go to the toilet
  • Plan every day of your trip in advance – there are now plenty of pet friendly activities, hotels and restaurants in Ireland, but you need to book them in advance, so that you don’t find yourself stuck somewhere where pets aren’t allowed

Travelling outside Ireland

The same guidelines exist for travelling within Ireland – getting your pet used to the concept of travel, and planning in advance

As well as this, you need to get the documentation right for cross-border travel with your pet. This is a simple enough process, but as with everything involving officialdom, you need to be absolutely sure that you have it all right.

These are the most important steps to take:

  • Make sure that your pet – dog or cat  – is microchipped
  • Make an appointment with your vet to be issued with an EU pet passport. This is an official document that most vets keep in stock, ready to complete and hand out to pet owners.
  • Get a rabies vaccine for your pet: this usually needs to be given once every three years
  • The pet passport becomes valid (your pet is able to travel) three weeks after the rabies vaccine has been given.
  • Book your travel: ferry travel is the easiest and most economical way to take pets overseas, whether to the UK or to continental Europe
  • Stena Line has recently launched new pet friendly options on all of their routes out of Ireland

Travelling back into Ireland at the end of your holiday

  • All dog and cat owners need to visit a vet in the country they are visiting in the 48 hours before the return trip to Ireland, so that a special tapeworm tablet can be given to their pet by the vet, and this must be recorded in the pet’s passport. If this is done, the animal will not be allowed to return back into Ireland. This should be planned in advance.
  • The reason for this special wormer is that there is a tapeworm in other countries that is not present in Ireland, so worming of all pets ensures that the worm is not accidentally introduced into this country.
  • Once you have this recorded in your pet passport, you can travel back to the UK on the ferry, as normal.



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