A guide to travelling with pets: UK & Europe

Travelling with pets can be a stressful situation, yet we can minimise the potential negatives through forward planning and purchasing equipment that will be helpful for both you and your pet, ensuring a comfortable and smooth-sailing journey.

Whether you’re travelling by car throughout the UK, or taking your road trip to Europe, your pet’s safety and comfort should come first – with high quality travel products for cats and dogs, such as our John Norris pet travel collection, your four-legged friends will be soundly transported in any vehicle.

Here is our guide to pet travel, the legislation when it comes to pets in your cars and our top products…

dog in car

Law on dogs in cars UK

 When travelling with your pooch, cat or any animal in between, it’s important that you are aware of the laws and regulations across the UK – in the unlikely event of a car accident, you will not be at fault for endangering yourself/others if you follow the UK laws on pet travel.

The Highway Code requires dogs and other animals to be ‘suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly’ – rule 57.

Unsecured animals may withstand injuries if they are not secured in a carrier or a similar restraint, with small pets being at risk of serious harm if an accident occurs. The distraction caused by a loose pet may also cause a very serious accident if the driver of the vehicle isn’t paying attention to the road, putting all passengers at risk.

When in doubt, put your small pets in carriers or ensure that dogs are safely clipped-in with travel equipment on any and all journeys – even the quick ones!

Planning ahead for pet travel

Planning for travelling with your pet will make life (and your trip) a lot easier – everything from organising exact pit-stops such as service stations with parks or quiet areas to packing correct essentials such as toys, treats and water.

You should take regular breaks when travelling long-distance with your pets, having around one break per 1.5 hours is a good ballpark, ensuring that your pets can stretch their legs and have a walk around your car or a safe quiet space. Ensure that your stops are not overflowed with people, and it gives your pet the breathing space to reset in a quiet environment.

These breaks can also include short but intense play sessions to tire your pet out, a bunch of treats to keep them happy and plenty of water – bearing in mind your pets should have access to water throughout the entirety of the trip (or very regularly), especially in hot weather conditions.

If you’re stopping by service stations or parks with your pets, ensure that dogs have a collar with contact details and a secure lead, ready for a fun-filled play session or walk. If you’re travelling with a cat, it could be a good idea to get them used to a harness for an added safety measure when having a stretch in the car or using their litterbox.

cat in car

Choosing the right pet travel accessories

Pet carriers should be durable, comfortable and most of all – safe. There are various brands on the market that stock all sizes of carriers, some being made from soft materials while others are hard-plastic/steel carriers that are great for flying via aircraft.

One of our bestselling brands for pet travel at John Noris is Henry Wag – known for their durable carriers, travel bags and crates that allow your pet to feel safe and comfortable in all vehicles. Their crates and bags are made using high-quality materials that are ideal for use in the home or when travelling, with mesh window panelling for maintaining strong airflow.

Additionally, our top-selling dog travel accessories are from none other than Rosewood, a UK-based dog toy brand that retails some of the best travel accessories on the market. From their easy-clean travel mat to drinking bottles, waste scoopers and water bottles.

How to make travelling with pets easy

Overall, there are a number of ways you can make travelling with a pet easier – planning ahead of your journey and adding pit-stops for you and your pet to get a breath of fresh air and release some energy is highly beneficial. Ensure your pet has access to water and all necessities if the trip is long, and create an itinerary that doesn’t stress you or your pet any more than needed.

Remember that your pet may become frustrated if they’re kept in the car for extended periods of time, so it’s best to pack plenty of toys and treats to keep them mentally stimulated and keep their bellies full!

At John Norris, we value your pet’s safety over everything – that’s why we only stock the best quality pet travel brands such as Henry Wag and Rosewood. You can browse our full pet travel collection by clicking here, or visit our Penrith store before your travels.

We wish you and your pet a safe journey!