Almost 75,000 pet passports were issued last year. This is a 50% increase on 2010. The figures come from the Animal and Plant Health Agency. In 2015, for the first 6 months, 55,000 have been issued.
More than half of pet owners take their animals on holiday with them because they are part of the family according to a survey by an insurer. One third said that they travelled with their pets because they did not want their companion animal to miss out on the experience of travelling. Around 20% of pet owners travelled with their companion animals because it was cheaper than paying for a kennel or boarding cattery.
Most people who use the pet passport do so to take their dog with them but one third take a cat.
Some people holidayed with their goldfish; 3% did this and 1% took a turtle with them. France, Spain and Germany are the most popular destinations for people holidaying with their pets. Some travel further afield to countries such as the United States and Australia.
We don’t know whether cats and dogs suffer from jetlag but it is almost certain that they do, in my opinion. Although cats are probably more flexible than humans because of their renowned sleeping habits.
In order to acquire a pet passport, pets must be micro-chipped and given a rabies vaccination. Dogs must also be given a tapeworm treatment on their return to the UK.
Most airlines (except easyJet and Ryanair) accommodate animals for a fee. Thomas Cook allows pets weighing less than 6 kg to travel in the cabin for a fee of €15 (£10.50) while those weighing more go in the hold for a fee of €50.
A spokesperson for the insurance company conducting the survey said:
“It is important to acknowledge the possible dangers were taking animals out of the country. When planning to take a dog or cat on holiday, ensuring vaccinations are up-to-date, getting appropriate pet insurance and a pet passport should be top of the to-do list.”
What does this trend tell us? It may be because people are becoming more and more connected to their companion animal treating pets as family members and therefore find it very difficult to leave them behind. An alternative reason might be that people are more aware of the pet passport scheme and make good use of it. In addition there are more cats and dogs in the UK which must be a factor. I see it as a good development.