Guidance on International Travel

It is advisable that guide or assistance dog owners review the following topics before embarking on international travel with your dog.

It is first worth considering if it is necessary or essential to make an international journey with your guide or assistance dog. Whilst international travel has become easier, it is still something that potentially needs extensive planning before being undertaken.

Any dogs travelling out of the UK will need to comply with the European Pets Travel Scheme (PETS) and importation rules of other countries outside the EU.
Advice about the Pets Travel Scheme can be found on the ‘Guidance on the Pet Travel Scheme’ page of this website:

Also advice about the Pets Travel Scheme can be found via:
•    an OV (Official Veterinarian) at a local vet practice.
•    Through the Pets Travel Helpline or e-mail run by the UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs;
-    Pets Travel Helpline: 0370 241 1710
-    E-mail: pettravel@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk
•    On Defra’s webpage ‘Pet travel: information for pet owners’

It is advisable that you talk to:
•    Your Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI)
•    Your Dog Welfare Adviser in your local Guide Dog Mobility team,
•    Training or Welfare staff at the assistance dog organisation which trained your dog.

This should be helpful when ensuring that:
•    A dog is temperamentally able to cope with prolonged international journeys.
•    Appropriate training or acclimatisation can be factored into pre-journey support.
•    The dog’s welfare is considered in environments and climates significantly different from our own.
•    Accessibility and cultural issues are taken into consideration with regard the affective use of a guide or assistance dog in other countries.

Ideally, you should contact the operator you are travelling with, well in advance of your journey. You should do this no later than 48 hours before your journey, although Operators will try to make every effort to accommodate you, especially on turn up and go services.
You should contact your:
•    airline and airport,
•    coach operator,
•    ferry or cruise company,
•    rail operator,
to ensure that your terminal or transport operator is aware that you are travelling with a guide or assistance dog, so that they can make appropriate accommodation for the dog. This may be done by contacting the operator directly or may be done as a part of the booking process through a booking agent, tour operator or travel agent.

It is advisable to contact the Embassy or Consulate of the country you are visiting to ensure awareness of factors, which could impact on the use of your guide or assistance dog in that country. Embassies and Consulates may also be able to advise on dog welfare issues and disease control, specific to their country, which is outside the scope of the Pets Travel Scheme and the advice given by UK Guide Dogs and assistance dog organisations.

You should also give thought to veterinary procedures to comply with the Pets Travel Scheme before re-entry into the UK or Europe. You will need to find a qualifying veterinary officer in the country being visited, who can provide the support and procedures needed to comply with the Pets Travel Scheme prior to departure back to the UK or Europe.

It may also be helpful to contact guide or assistance dog training organisations in the country being visited, to obtain advice and support before and during a visit. However, some organisations may charge for support during a visit to their country as many organisations are not charitably funded to the extent of UK organisations.

A list of international guide and assistance dog training organisations can be found:
International Guide Dog Federation
Assistance Dogs International