Do you wish to bring a dog, cat or budgie along for a trip abroad?
The restrictions can vary considerably depending on the airline and which countries you are travelling between, but there are some general rules to bear in mind. The following is important to consider for you and your pet.
If travelling with a dog or other smaller pet, it must be kept in a cage or equivalent enclosure as stipulated by your airline. If you have a pet with you, we ask that you sit in one of the train's mid-train carriages, identified on the outside with a pets-permitted sticker, so as not to cause discomfort to persons with allergies. This does not apply, however, to guide dogs for those with visual impairments who may naturally ride in any carriage.
Many airlines allow you to bring smaller animals into the cabin with you in a special bag that functions as your hand baggage. Find out the permitted size of the bag to ensure that your pet has enough space, and remember that animals are never allowed to roam freely in the cabin during the journey.
If your pet requires more space than the permissible bag size, it must travel in the cargo hold. In this case, the pet is checked in as luggage in a special, illuminated area of the cargo hold where both the temperature and air pressure are regulated just as they are in the cabin. A tip is to allow your pet to get used to the cage or bag well before the journey, so that it can feel as safe as possible when the time comes.
Not every airline has aircraft with heated and illuminated cargo holds, and different airlines have different regulations in place for how old your pet must be. Always check what is applicable with your airline. If the rules it applies are unsuitable for your pet, you may simply need to look for a ticket with a different airline.
Different countries have different laws, regulations and vaccination requirements and it is important you are aware of what applies in your destination. To ensure that your journey is as stress-free as possible, make sure that you have all of the necessary documents ready for your cat or dog to be able to fly, including vaccinations documents, prior to making your trip. All animals travelling both within and outside the EU now need their own passport. The passport shows that the animal has been chipped and meets all of the requirements for travel within the EU. However, hamsters, budgies and other small animals do not require passports. For these animals, other regulations apply.
If you are unsure of what is applicable for your destination, you can get in touch with the embassy of the country of your destination to find out what is required. Make sure to also check what is applicable for your home journey to avoid being surprised by customs and risk your pet being put into quarantine.
Before you travel, it is a good idea to visit your vet to run a health check-up on your pet and make sure that all vaccinations are still valid. All animals are different and factors such as their ability to handle stress, age and general health can determine how wise it is to fly with your pets. This applies regardless of whether your pet will travel in the cabin or alone in the cargo hold.
Prepare for the trip well in advance.
Make sure your pet has had plenty of exercise before you travel, and avoid giving it food immediately before travelling.
Use a collar with a name tag. In the unlikely event that your pet breaks loose, it is important that your phone number and the dog’s name can be located on the name tag.
Pack some of your pet’s favourite treats and toys as well as water. It is a good idea to be able to give your pet a special reward when you have landed.
Don’t forget to report to customs in Sweden when you return home.