There are many pet courier services available to transport your cat or dog between the UK, EU and other worldwide destinations. Whatever your country of origin and destination, you’ll find a local animal transport company available to transport your cat, dog or other pet by air or road. If you’re relocating abroad with your pet to a foreign abode, this may be one of the best options for you and your furry family member. Moving to a new country can be complicated enough, and when you add a pet into the equation, it’s a whole new ball game! So perhaps a special pet courier service is the most efficient method for your pet travel needs. Many pet cargo organisations work in partnership with airlines to transport cats and dogs in the hold of the aircraft. Whereas, others courier cats and dogs in specially constructed vehicles by road. And some pet couriers even offer a service that includes transport for the human family members too! So, your choice of pet courier depends very much on the method of transport you want to use to relocate your cat or dog.
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What to look for in an Animal Transport Company
First and foremost, the safety of our beloved pets is top priority, so here are some tips for finding an experienced, reputable, pet friendly courier:
- Above all, speak to your vet and ask for their recommendations for an experienced pet courier. It’s likely they will be able to suggest an organisation or two in your local area. Ask if they have had any dealings with the company, and if their experience was positive.
- Check how long the pet travel company has been in operation, the longer the better as they will be more experienced in transporting pets safely.
- Look for user reviews on our website for the pet courier you are thinking of using. Feedback from past customers are always a useful guide to the authenticity of any organisation.
- Ensure your chosen pet travel courier has special climate controlled vehicles if they’re transporting your pet by road, so that your pet will travel in a comfortable environment.
- Check that the company incorporates exercise and toilet breaks for dogs during transport. Note that there’s no toilet breaks for pets flying in the hold of a plane.
- For air travel, ensure that the pet courier adheres to International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards.
- Look at the company’s policy on feeding your pet, and make sure they have a schedule in place.
- If your pet needs regular medication, speak to the pet courier and find out if this is a requirement that they are used to handling, and that they have set procedures in place to ensure medication is administered correctly and at the required times.
- When you receive a quote, check if it is comprehensive, or if you will encounter additional charges such as hotel costs, ferry tickets, or road tolls.
Pet transport with humans included!
If you’re worried about your beloved canine or feline travelling alone, some pet couriers will even take you along for the ride too. However, this is a very expensive pet travel option as hotel costs and other incidentals need to be taken into account. We were quoted around £2,500 for both of us and Django to go back to Glasgow from the Algarve. Plus hotel costs for the 4-5 day journey!
If you really want to use a service that enables you to stay with your pet during road transport, you can search our directory for local pet couriers, or check with your vet for a recommendation.
Pet Couriers travelling by road
Let’s say you’re relocating with your pet between the United Kingdom (Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland) and an EU country such as Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy, France or Holland. If you opt to transport your pet by road using a specialist animal courier, they will usually collect your pet from you at your home, then begin the journey to transport your cat or dog to their new location.
Your pet will journey in their travel kennel within a special ventilated vehicle, together with other cats and dogs. During transport, they’ll be given regular toilet breaks, food and water. In order to cross The Channel with your pet, the courier will normally opt for Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, although a pet friendly ferry is also an option.
We haven’t used a pet courier ourselves, however, there are many abandoned animals here in Portugal that are re-homed in the UK, Holland, Germany and Scandinavia using pet couriers. It all seems to run pretty smoothly and safely, and results in a golden basket for many rehomed cats and dogs. As several animals can travel in the courier’s vehicle at the same time, it’s also a more cost effective method for the charities to relocate a group of pets at the same time. Happy days!
Pet couriers that operate by road between the UK and continental Europe include:
Airline Pet Cargo Transport
Relocating pets by air is often the most feasible and efficient way to relocate one or to animals. There are many global pet cargo couriers that work in partnership with airlines such as British Airways, TUI and Virgin Atlantic to manage the transport of animals flying in the aircraft hold.
When an airline doesn’t accept cats or dogs flying as checked-baggage in the hold, but they do accept pets travelling as cargo, it is the cargo company that is responsible for transport. In this case, your chosen airline will refer you to their preferred pet cargo partner, who will then manage everything from the initial booking to reuniting you and your pet on arrival at the destination.
The airline will direct you to their agreed pet cargo partner, but popular cargo companies for cats and dogs travelling by air in the hold include:
Pet Cargo Agents
The following companies are IATA accredited pet cargo agents, and can take your flight requirements then arrange the most suitable flight for you and your cat or dog: