Travelling with a pet

While many find the prospect of travelling exciting, preparations for a trip are usually not carried out with the same level of enthusiasm. After all, unless you’re a very spur-of-the-moment person, there’s a never-ending list of practical things to see to before the actual fun begins; finding cheap flights and central accommodation, packing as many outfits as possible in a limited space, planning which attractions to visit on which days, keeping an eye out for the weather forecast … you know the drill.

What some people might not be aware of is what travelling with a pet entails. To get a clearer picture we caught up with a frequent traveller, Dana, who never leaves her four-legged companion behind when flying to Malta. She admitted that the first trip with Nika was quite daunting, first and foremost, because she didn’t know whether her pet dog would warm up to the idea of travelling. Now that they have been on several trips together, Dana knows that Nika enjoys flying just as much as she does and now travels more frequently than the majority of us do!

By time Dana also learnt that her travel buddy does not particularly like connecting flights as this makes her quite restless and squirmy. Giving a pet too much food and water before travelling is, well, not exactly the most brilliant of ideas either! Having said this, keeping a couple of treats close by could certainly come in handy.

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                                                                         Nika, packed up and ready to fly to Malta

To make things easier for those considering travelling with their pet (dog, cat or ferret) for the first time, Dana helped us put together a list of things you should know and do:

  • Check whether the airline you are flying with accepts pets, as not all airlines offer this possibility
  • Once you do this and proceed to book your ticket, inform the airline that you will be travelling with your pet
  • Remember that pet fees are non-refundable for many airlines
  • Pets weighing less than 10 kgs (including carry bag) can stay in the cabin with their owners, provided that their carry bag conforms with the stipulated dimensions
  • Make sure that your pet is microchipped
  • Before flying, take your pet to the vet to get a fit-for-travel certificate
  • See that your pet’s vaccination documentation is up to scratch
  • To be able to enter Malta, your pet dog must have received the Echinococcus (tapeworm) treatment a maximum of 5 days prior to entry
  • Other countries requiring this treatment are Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Norway, and the United Kingdom
  • Before flying to Malta inform one of the Agricultural Department’s vets of your arrival time by email on petstravel.msdec@gov.mt so that he/she can be on site to examine your pet
  • Remember that if your papers are not in order your pet can be refused entry into Malta or put into quarantine
  • Finally, if your pet is not a dog, cat or ferret, and especially if it is a turtle or parrot, you should verify that it is not protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  You will need to apply for additional permits if this is the case.

We hope that this post makes the thought of travelling with your pet a little less daunting and we look forward to welcoming you and your furry, feathered, or scaly companion at our airport!