General Advice

The following information has been extracted from DEFRA (Department for the Envornment, Food and Rural Affairs) - Protecting the Welfare Of Pet Dogs And Cats During Journeys and should only be used as a guide. Eurocamp recommends you read fully the information covering Pet Travel, on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website:

Whenever animals are transported, including journeys with dogs, the law says that: ‘No person shall transport any animal in a way which causes or is likely to cause injury or unnecessary suffering to that animal.’ You should plan for travelling with your dog well before the journey. Think carefully about the type of journey it is and the effect that it will have on your dog, taking into account how big the animal is, its nature, and how long the journey is.

If you cannot be 100% sure that you can fully protect your animal’s welfare on the journey, you should consider not taking your dog on a Eurocamp Holiday.

You should make sure that you know and understand the carrier’s conditions for transporting your dog, and that you have booked a place for it to travel if necessary. Eurocamp will advise you of the carrier's conditions and will confirm the booking of your dog on your chosen operator. Should you decide to book your own travel arrangements, you must travel on an authorised route with an approved carrier.

Tell Eurocamp beforehand if your dog is a guide dog or an assistance dog, so that they can make special arrangements if necessary.

Make sure your dog is fit to travel

Your dog should be healthy and fit for the intended journey. If necessary, ask your vet for advice before beginning the journey. An animal is not normally fit for transport if it: 

  • is ill or injured (except for minor illness or injury) 
  • is newborn with an unhealed navel 
  • cannot feed itself and is not travelling with its mother 
  • has given birth within the 48 hours before starting the journey 
  • is heavily pregnant and likely to give birth during the journey
  • Animals under about 10 months old cannot enter Ireland under PETS passport scheme.

Before the journey 

Your dog will travel better if it does not have a full stomach, so only provide a light meal about two hours before the journey starts. Make sure water is available at all times. We do not recommend giving a sedative to your dog. This is because it is difficult to predict the effect that the sedative will have on the dog. You should follow your vet’s advice about sedatives. If you do give your dog a sedative, you should carry a certificate which states the drug, dosage, and the date and time it was given. If possible, make sure your dog has been to the toilet just before leaving or before joining your ship. Introduce your dog to its travel enclosure or container before travelling, as this should help reduce the stress of transport. A familiar object (for example, a toy or a cloth) may help the dog to settle into strange surroundings.

How can you recognise overheating?

The first signs are often faster, heavier panting and more activity, with barking or whining. Dogs will look obviously agitated. The dog may produce more saliva than normal, often with drooling and with strands of saliva hanging from the mouth. Extreme panting and dark-coloured gums will follow. The dog’s eyes may become glassy and it may appear to be unconscious. It is important to recognise these symptoms quickly and obtain medical assistance. If left unchecked, overheating can result in death.

Heatstroke in dogs

Dogs differ from people in how they cope with heat. They lose heat mainly by panting and, unlike people, do not sweat a lot. Dogs with snub noses (for example, Pekinese) or dogs with breathing problems are much more likely to suffer from heat stress. Long-haired dogs are more likely to be affected than those with short hair. 

Never leave an animal in a vehicle in direct strong sunshine or high temperatures. Overheating, distress and suffering is likely when the temperature goes above 25°C for more than a few minutes (unless the animals are already used to hot weather). The temperature inside a car in full sun on a hot day can quickly rise to double the temperature outside, leading rapidly to distress for any animal in the vehicle. 

Detecting overheating early and treating it promptly is essential to your dog recovering successfully. Take the dog to a cool shaded place, give it water to drink and spray it with cool water (you can also cool down the dog by blowing cool air from a fan over it). Get advice from a vet immediately if the dog does not respond promptly.

Travelling by vehicle

It is now law in Ireland that when in a vehicle dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you if you stop quickly. In some European countries, the law does not allow dogs to travel loose in vehicles at all.

Your dog should preferably travel in a container. A very small dog should always travel in a container, and the container should be placed where it: 

  • cannot move when you accelerate, brake and go round corners
  • is easy to get to 
  • is not exposed to strong sunlight or cold draughts

If your dog travels loose in the vehicle, it should not be able to escape through any window. When windows need to be left open, we suggest you use ‘window guards’ to prevent the animal escaping. If the dog is travelling in the luggage compartment of an estate car or hatchback, you should fit a secure dog-guard, and the floor should have a non-slip surface. Providing enough ventilation at all times is essential – both when the vehicle is moving, and even more so when it is not moving – particularly in hot or sunny conditions. 

  • Never leave your dog in a vehicle in direct strong sunshine or high temperatures as it is difficult to make sure there is enough ventilation to keep it cool 
  • There will be much less air flowing through the vehicle when it is in an enclosed space during ferry crossings (or on a train travelling through the Channel Tunnel) unless you leave the windows open enough. You should carry water, and food if necessary, and have a way of giving these to your animal

Travelling by ferry

  • Try and get to the port early so that the carrier can give you the most suitable position in the car deck for your dog
  • Travel overnight if possible, when the temperature may be cooler
  • Make sure that the ferry company officials responsible for loading know that there is a live animal in your vehicle, and follow their instructions
  • Before you leave your vehicle, make sure that your dog will have enough ventilation (normally you will need to leave at least one of the vehicle’s windows partly open, but it is also important to make sure your dog cannot escape)
  • Make sure your dog is comfortable and has enough water
  • Never leave your dog in a vehicle in direct strong sunshine or high temperatures as it is difficult to make sure there is enough ventilation to keep it cool. The inside of a vehicle left in strong sunlight on an open deck, or in an enclosed deck where the temperature is likely to be higher than 25ºC for more than a few minutes, will very quickly become too hot for the animal inside and cause distress and suffering
If you are travelling direct to France with Brittany or Irish Ferries, you will need to book a kennel - please ensure you tell our call centre staff of this before you travel. On Brittany Ferries' Cork to Roscoff route you can visit your dog as often as you wish as the kennels are on the upper deck and at check in you are given an access card to use. On Irish Ferries vessels you will need to speak to the Information Desk on board and they will arrange to have someone accompany you to the Kennel Area which is on one of the car decks.
If you are travelling from Ireland to the UK your dog stays in the vehicle. Please let our call centre know of your intentions.

Travelling by train through the Channel Tunnel

Your dog will stay with you on the train, and should remain in your vehicle for the duration of the journey.

Travelling by air

At this stage, Eurocamp Holidays will not book dogs for travel through air operators.

Health and welfare advice whilst overseas

Whilst almost all dogs that travel overseas experience no problems whatsoever, it is worth remembering that should you decide to take your dog out of Ireland, it may be exposed to diseases which are not present in Ireland. As an example, there are some diseases transmitted by the bite of ticks, and parasites such as heartworm and tapeworm.

Your dog will have no natural immunity to such diseases and may therefore be more likely to succumb to them. However, remember that the PETS passport scheme is set up in a way that all efforts are made to minimise this risk. For example, your dog will be required by the PETS passport scheme to have a "ticks and tapeworm" treatment before returning to Ireland. 

We strongly recommend that you consult your vet about your dog’s fitness to travel before you take your dog abroad. Depending on where you are going, your vet may be able to advise you on preventative treatments, on any other precautions you need to take and how to look for signs of ill health in your dog. 

In the very unlikely event that your dog shows signs of illness after returning from abroad, explain where it has been so that your vet can consider the possibility of an illness not normally found in Ireland.

Remember though, thousands of dogs travel overseas every year without incident or illness.