Travelling with pets
Whether you get your new dog from the neigbouring country or don't want to leave your cat alone: There are many reasons to travel with pets. To manage this as smoothly as possible, some things should be considered. The ECC has an overview for you.
Within the EU, you are obliged to have a pet passport for dogs, cats and ferrets. Furthermore, those pets need a microchip for clear identification (since 3 July 2011, a tattoo is no longer sufficient unless it was done before this date).
Get information about the respective rules at your destination in advance. Many countries request a valid rabies vaccination, some EU Member States also a special ticks and tapeworm treatment. Such services may take some time, so you should make sure that you know about these requirements as early as possible.
The respective embassies or consulates will give you information about entry requirements for pets. Your vet or the University for Veterinary Medicine in Vienna provide the necessary treatments. Find more information on the website of the Ministry of Health and Women's Affairs (BMGF) as well as on help.gv.at.
The European Commission also informs about rules regarding travellings with pets (and plants) within the EU.
Caution: If you don't meet all entry requirements of your destination, your pet may be put in quarantine.
Every means of transportation has different rules regarding the carriage of animals. Keep required documents, e.g. the pet passport and vaccination certificates, close at hand.
Travelling by train or car: If you plan a long ride, take some time in advance to get your pet accustomed to the train or car and, if necessary, to the transport box. Make some short test drives. Always carry enough water and food and take several breaks. Your vet will be happy to advise you and can prescribe a sedative in case of need.
Make sure that your pet is adequately secured and does not pose a risk for itself or you.
Dogs should be strapped with a belt or put in a transport box in the trunk. A net or mesh prevents that the dog is skidded through the car during an accident. Automobile clubs can give you advice on the best option for you.
Smaller animals should always be kept in a transport box.
Make short test drives. Avoid travelling in great heat or on very busy days with traffic jams. Don't leave your pet alone in the closed car. If you plan on a long journey, get your pet accustomed to the transport box and the car.
Every railway company has its own rules on the carriage of animals. Usually, smaller pets have to be kept in transport boxes and dogs must be kept on a lead and wear a muzzle. Some pets need their own ticket. Get the information at the respective rail company beforehand.
Flying might be fast in comparison, but it's also rather complicated. Once again, every company has its own rules. You should consider carefully if your pet is capable of handling the stress of such trips and discuss this with your vet.
Some airlines request that you declare that you are checking in a pet already during the booking of the flight. Others accept a later declaration, but you should be aware of the respective deadlines. Some airlines deny transportation of pets or only carry specific animals.
Most airlines make exceptions for assistance and guide dogs and allow them to travel in the passenger cabin, even though they don't meet the allowed measurements (size and weight). Caution: The space for such dogs is limited, so contact the airline in time!
Carriage of a pet on an airplane requires a transport box which has to fulfil the following rules:
- The animal has enough space to stand, turn and lie down.
- It is adequately ventilated but closed (the animal can't get out).
- The floor has to be solid and leak-proof.
- It has containers for food and water, with outside access for filling.
Whether your pet is transported in the passenger cabin or in the cargo hold depends on the size and weight of the animal and the transport box.
Some airlines only allow a certain amount of pets per box and passenger as well as they have rules regarding the age of the animal. Young animals who are not yet weaned from the mother and pregnant animals are often excluded.
The fees vary according to distance, size, weight, flight zone etc. Ask the respective airline for more information.
The IATA (International Air Transport Association) developed rules for the carriage of animals on board that European airlines have to apply.