When the pet travel scheme was introduced 15 years ago allowing dogs to travel from country to country without the need for quarantine, it freed pet owners up with the option to consider holidaying further afield spending more time exploring new countries and holiday hot spots with their dog in tow, and it seems more pet owners than ever before are holidaying overseas with their beloved dog as over a third of vets have reported an increase in demand for pet passports over the last 12 months.

New research released by Direct Line Pet Insurance has discovered that dog owners favourite dog friendly destinations are the French resorts of La Roche and Les Sables, Nantes in Belgium, Antequera, Spain and Lake Lucerne, Switzerland.

Pictured above, one of dog owners favourite European retreats – Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

The pet insurer found that almost half of dog owners admitted that their pet always influences their choice of holiday destination with dog friendly accommodation being the highest priority when researching a destination, followed by ensuring good space for their dog to run around and play and somewhere which allows the dog to accompany them into shops, restaurants and attractions.

Half of dog owners also factor in local access to a vet or animal hospital when choosing where to holiday.

However, while almost 9 in 10 dog owners know their pet has to be microchipped as part of the pet passport scheme, other rules and regulations aren’t quite as well known, and owners could fall foul of the law if they don’t adhere.

When travelling and bringing pets back into the UK, dogs and cats must be microchipped and have a pet passport (or third country official veterinary certificate). They must be vaccinated against rabies and dogs must also have a tapeworm treatment when returning from a number of different countries. Your pet must also arrive in the UK no more than five days before or after the owner.

Photo Credit: Jason Shultz / Pictured above, Beach of les Granges in Les Sables d’Olonne, France where dogs are welcomed on leads

If owners do not comply with these rules, they risk their pets having to be quarantined when re-entering the UK.

Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line said: “Our pets are such a big part of our lives that it’s not surprising we are willing to tailor our holidays to accommodate taking them away with us. When taking pets abroad, planning in advance is vital.  Owners need to have the right documentation, up to date vaccinations and know that where they are staying is accepting of their pets. Getting a tapeworm treatment in the country you are visiting can often be a particular challenge, especially if you don’t speak the language, so do your research beforehand and make sure you know what facilities are available.”

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