Publication - Advice and guidance

Pet animal transport: guidance

Published: 20 Aug 2014

Guidance for owners and carriers on the welfare of pet animals in transit.

Pet animal transport: guidance
Transport options


A vehicle containing an animal should be located in a position where sufficient ventilation will be provided throughout the journey and where access to the animal is possible. Passengers with pets travelling on one of the longer ferry routes are advised to arrive at the port early so that their vehicle can be positioned in the best part of the car deck for the welfare of the pet. The interior of a vehicle stowed in strong sunlight on an open deck, or in an enclosed deck where the ambient temperature is likely to exceed 25ÂșC for more than a few minutes, will very quickly become overheated, with consequent distress and suffering to the animal inside.

Staff responsible for directing vehicles into position on the vessel should ensure that, when a passenger vacates a vehicle with a pet animal inside, windows have been left sufficiently open for ventilation, and the animal cannot escape, and the doors are locked.

Sufficient ventilation of the vehicle deck should be maintained at all stages of the voyage.

The passenger should be given written advice about how to request and gain access to the pet animal at appropriate times and intervals. Providing that appropriate measures have been taken, access should only be necessary on voyages that last longer than two hours.

On-board staff including vehicle deck patrols should pay attention to each animal that is being carried, and report any cocnerns (e.g. should a pet appear to be in distress) to the appropriate senior officer as soon as possible, and the pet owner should be contacted.

On very long ferry crossings (e.g. those of 24 hours or more), or long voyages on other vessels, it is recommended that no pet animal is left confined in a passenger vehicle - but is transferred into a container of suitable size, design and construction. This container should be located in a suitable secure area of the vessel where:

  • ventilation and shade is adequate to maintain the interior of the container at an appropriate temperature and environment for the animal
  • access is available (by arrangement at suitable intervals) for the pet owner to tend, water and feed the animal
  • there is the facility for a dog (during a voyage of more than 24 hours) to be exercised on a lead, and to urinate and defecate outside its container.

Rail - Eurotunnel

A pet animal will remain with, and in care of, the passenger during the transit on the shuttle, and should be kept confined within the vehicle.

On-board staff should pay attention to each animal which is being carried, and discuss any concerns (e.g. an animal in apparent distress) with the owner, and if appropriate, report the details to the appropriate senior officer as soon as possible.


Transport of animals by air must by law be in accordance with the IATA Live Animal Regulations.

Airlines should check that the container is appropriate for the animal and meets IATA specifications before accepting the shipment.

Every pet animal travelling to Great Britain by air must be carried in accordance with the provisions of its animal health documentation and/or import licence. In most cases this will require your animal to be transported in the aircraft hold as manifest freight.