Travelling with Pets – Ireland / Britain routes
We know staying behind whilst the rest of the family goes on holiday can be a lonely time for your pet. That's why we are doing our very best to help you bring them along on your travels.
Your pet be it dog, cat or ferret has the option of either staying in the comfort of your car for the duration of the voyage, or being housed in our onboard kennels. It's up to you to decide which option is the most comfortable for your pet. If you do choose to use a kennel it must be booked in advance.
On all of our routes, you must pre-book your pets before you check-in – add them at time of booking to ensure availability.
Below are the links to all the information you will need to help you travel with your pet.
Pet Passport requirements and Government regulations
Kennel facilities onboard our ships
Guide, Hearing or Assistance Dog
Pet Passport & Government regulations
EU pet passport rules apply throughout the European Union. All Dogs, Cats and Ferrets travelling between member states need an official recognised EU Pet Passport with veterinary endorsements certifying compliance with tests, treatments and vaccinations. The endorsements must be dated (including expiry dates), stamped and signed by an authorised Vet. It is your responsibility to ensure that all of the entry conditions are met.
For travel to GB, an EU pet passport issued in a member state is still valid for entry. For travel to the EU and Northern Ireland, from 1 January 2021 onwards, people travelling with their pets and assistance dogs will need to follow new requirements. Importantly, a current EU pet passport issued in Britain will not be valid for travel to the EU or NI, but an animal health certificate (AHC) will be required. Allow at least 1 month to arrange this and relevant vaccinations. EU pet passports issued by Northern Ireland will remain valid for EU travel. Before taking their dog, cat or ferret to the EU for the first time after 1 January 2021, pet owners must complete the following steps:
- Ensure their dog, cat or ferret is microchipped.
- Have a valid EU pet passport OR an animal health certificate issued by a UK official vet. A health certificate is required before each entry into the EU. (Pet owners are advised to retain any GB-issued EU pet passport, as it may contain important information about vaccinations, treatments, etc.)
- Ensure that their dog, cat or ferret is vaccinated against rabies – pets must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated. Wait 21 days after the primary vaccination before travel.
- Have a tapeworm treatment (for dogs). Dogs travelling from, or returning from, Britain to Ireland will require treatment against tapeworm by a veterinarian 24 to 120 hours (1 to 5 days) before arrival in Ireland. If travelling with a passport issued in Ireland, this treatment may be entered into the pet passport by a UK vet.
Pets and assistance dogs will also need to enter the EU through a travellers’ point of entry (TPE).
Cars travelling with pets arriving into Dublin port should stay in Lane 4 (lane on the right) for the necessary pet clearance.
Check the relevant authority’s websites for full details of the requirements:
Government regulations for pets - Ireland /Britain/Ireland routes only
- Microchip - The microchip number on the animal must correspond with the number on the passport presented. The microchip should comply with ISO standards 11784 & 11785. Clearly legible tattoos are also accepted – the tattoo must have been applied before 3rd July 2011.
- Rabies - All dogs, cats, and ferrets must have a current Rabies vaccination (administered at least 21 days prior to entry into Ireland). The Rabies vaccination must be administered by a registered Veterinary Practitioner and entered into the E.U. Pet Passport (Section IV. Vaccination Against Rabies), signed, dated and stamped.
- Tapeworm – this treatment is not required for entry into Ireland from Finland, Norway or Malta or for entry into Britain, Finland, Norway or Malta
Latest government regulations for travelling with a pet from Britain to any EU country after October 2019.
The rules for pet travel from Britain to the EU will change when Britain leaves the EU. Pet owners should contact a vet at least 4 months before travelling to get the latest advice.
Advice from DEFRA
Procedures when travelling with pets
- Your pet must be taken on board the ship in your car and must remain either in your car or in the kennels provided by Irish Ferries for the duration of the voyage.
- The kennels can be booked in advance and are free of charge.
- Family pets are not allowed on the passenger decks at any time.
- Pets (all dogs and cats) must be transported to and from the ferry in a secure, rigid and appropriate pet carrier/cage or crate (please bring your own).
- The animal must be able to stand or lie down in comfort.
- The owner of the animal must be able to carry the carrier/cage or crate from the terminal to the ship.
- The carrier/ cage or crate will be accommodated in the kennel area on the car deck.
- If you turn up at the port without an appropriate pet carrier/cage or crate you will not be allowed to bring your pet on board. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Kennel facilities on board
Each ship has kennel facilities which are situated on the car deck. Please note that you may not be parked beside the kennels. The kennel sizes are :
Isle of Inishmore ( Rosslare/Pembroke route)
A mix of small, medium and large kennels up to 100cm high, 80cm wide, 85cm deep
Dublin Swift( Dublin/Holyhead route)
A mix of small, medium and large kennels up to 84cm high x 120cm wide x 88cm deep
Ulysses (Dublin / Holyhead route)
A mix of small, medium and large kennels up to 96cm high, 96cm wide and 85cm deep.
Epsilon (Dublin/Holyhead route)
A mix of small, medium and large kennels up to 110cm high, 140cm wide and 95cm deep
W.B. Yeats (Dublin/Holyhead route)
A mix of small, medium and large kennels up to 100cm high, 75cm wide and 95cm deep
Guide, Hearing and Assistance dogs
Assistance and Guide dogs are welcome in all public areas of our ports and ships.
We accept Assistance dogs who are recognised by the Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and International Guide Dogs Federation (IDGF) programmes. These programmes ensure Assistance dogs are specifically trained to assist and support people with a disability, whilst also being fully trained to work in a variety of environments and are accustomed to public access and interacting with many different types of people.
Where they are not recognised as an assistance dog by ADI or the IGDF, evidence/accreditation must be provided by a qualified dog trainer to prove that they have passed an assistance dog public access certification test in accordance with the requirements set out by ADI in order to be accepted as an assistance dog on our ships. Emotional therapy pets who do not meet this requirement can travel with us, however they will have to follow the same rules set out for our regular pets, and will not have access to the passenger areas on board.
If travelling with an Assistance / Guide Dog, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org at least 3 working days in advance of travel so that our Teams on-board can be notified and will be ready to offer special assistance if required.
On our France route, we require all customers to pre-book a kennel on-board for the overnight crossing. When travelling with a Guide, Hearing or Assistance dog who will not be occupying a kennel, please contact the Disability officer with the relevant booking reference for a refund of this kennel cost.
All assistance dogs must have the necessary accreditation and pet passport/animal health certificate documentation when checking in at the Port. They must also wear the correct jacket and harness at all times when travelling, and are allowed to remain with their owner in the passenger areas for the duration of the voyage. For sailings where foot passengers are permitted, passengers with an assistance / guide dog are permitted to walk their dog through the terminal building and onto the ship.
The pet passport / animal health certificate etc requirements for entry for assistance dogs are the same as all other pets.
Movement Restriction on the Number of Pets.
- From the 29th December 2014, the maximum number of pets that can travel with one owner or authorised person under the pet travel scheme will be five. Anyone wishing to travel with more than 5 pets will therefore need to comply with the commercial movement rules (see below).
- An exemption from this requirement will be introduced where more than five pets, aged over six months, are travelling with their owner, or an authorised person, to attend a show, competition or sporting event (or training for such an event). Written evidence of attendance/registration will need to be provided. In all cases the transport vehicle must be fit for purpose, for example, in relation to size, type and ventilation. Kennels are available on board and can be booked with Irish Ferries.
Commercial Movement of Animals.
- Any other shipment of animals that exceeds five, (not including those attending shows or sporting events) or any movement of animals for commercial purposes (for sale, for breeding or commercial gain), cannot be booked on Irish Ferries Passenger services. A booking will need to be made with Irish Ferries Freight Services (contact +353 (0) 818221560.
- Customers should also note that there are separate requirements for commercial shipments of animals, including additional approval documentation, for the animals, the vehicle type and in some cases, for the driver of the vehicle. Further information can be obtained from the office of your nearest Animal Health Veterinary Inspector.
There are restrictions in place curtailing the free movement of birds due to the risk of bird flu.
Further information on the restrictions applying when travelling with animals is available on
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