What you need to know
Travelling with pets
Pet transportation: your best friend also has a place here.
Although each airline has its own rules, it is possible to carry pets on an aeroplane. This page provides all the information on what to do to take your best friend on board with you, as well as a few suggestions on how you can make the trip more comfortable for both.
Can I fly with my pet?
Not all airlines allow transporting animals, with the exception of guide dogs. In turn, those that allow pet transportation, have special criteria to determine where the animal will travel and which rates and prices will be charged. These are: size, weight, species and breed.
Most airlines only allow small pets or guide dogs to travel in the cabin. Medium-sized or large animals will be transported in the cargo compartment, in the hold.
It is therefore advisable that you inquire with the different airlines, compare conditions, book your ticket and find out which documents are required in advance, so you can choose the most convenient solution for you.
What do I need to know before buying the ticket?
Airlines have limited space for transporting animals on each flight. Thus, pet transportation will always be subject to confirmation. However, to book your ticket, you must provide some information right away:
– The type of pet being transported
– The size of the pet carrier
– The total weight of the animal including the carrier
What are the necessary documents to travel with a cat, dog or ferret?
Rules for transporting your pet may vary depending on the countries of departure and destination.
In order to travel within the European Union, your cat, dog or ferret must have:
– A European Pet Passport, which can be issued by a qualified veterinarian.
– An identification microchip, or a readable tattoo applied before 3 July 2011.
– A valid rabies vaccination. If you are not sure whether your animal's rabies vaccination is valid, contact Direção Geral de Alimentação e Veterinária (Portuguese Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary Medicine)
In addition to these conditions, some EU Member States, such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland and Malta, impose more stringent regulations, so you should also contact the relevant authorities in these countries or the Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary Medicine.
If you are travelling outside the European Union or travelling to Portugal from outside the EU with a pet, you should also enquire with the Directorate-General for Food and Veterinary Medicine.
All airlines have strict rules on the transportation of animals, both in the cabin and in the hold. It is, therefore, essential that you follow the airline's instructions to the letter.
What are the necessary documents if my pet is a different species?
In order to travel with other pets, such as birds, reptiles, rabbits or rodents, we recommend that you contact the relevant authorities of the destination country.
What are the rules on the pet carrier?
With the exception of guide dogs, all pets must be transported in a specific carrier/kennel.
You can buy a pet carrier in speciality stores. Make sure your pet has enough room to move about, stand and lie down in a natural and comfortable way.
However, because each airline has size restrictions on carriers transported both in the cabin and the hold, before buying the carrier, find out what those restrictions are.
Some advice to ensure your pet feels comfortable in the carrier:
– The animal must be familiar with the carrier before travelling, so it will be less anxious. A few days before travelling, start placing treats, toys or food inside the carrier, so your pet gets accustomed to it.
– Put a label on the box with information on the animal: name, owner's name and destination address.
– Oil the carrier to neutralise odours.
– To make the carrier more comfortable, line the bottom with absorbent material and place inside an object that is familiar to your pet, to make it feel more at ease during the trip.
A few recommendations to prepare for the trip:
– Inform your airline as far in advance as possible.
– Before the trip, do not feed the animal too much. It should embark with only a light meal.
– Before placing the animal in the carrier, get it to walk for a bit, to relax.
– Remember that check-in for passengers transporting pets may take longer. Ask your airline how far in advance you need to be at the airport.
I have a guide dog or service dog, how can it travel?
Most airlines will allow guide dogs or service dogs to travel with you in the cabin.
Because these animals are trained to assist people with disabilities, their transportation is free of charge and does not require a pet carrier.
However, in order to travel with this status, you must submit the proper documentation in time, including a medical certificate attesting to the need for a guide dog travelling with you. You must also inform your airline.