If you’re making the move to Shetland with pets, or planning a holiday, you’ll probably have questions about how to transport them. Here’s what you need to know…
Pets from the UK can travel freely to Shetland with no restrictions as they are covered under UK law. If you are bringing a pet to Shetland from outside the UK, however, you must comply with government guidelines.
Taking pets to Shetland by ferry
There are daily ferries to Shetland from Aberdeen, operated by NorthLink. Animals are allowed on board, housed either in a pet-friendly cabin, in your own vehicle or in the ferry’s kennels.
NorthLink passenger vessels MV Hamnavoe, MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey each have five pet-friendly cabins available. Passengers are advised to bring their own bedding for their pets. Only support dogs are permitted in the ship’s internal public areas but passengers can walk their dogs on the outer deck.
As well as the pet friendly cabin charge, there is a £15 supplement for each pet staying within the cabin. Please note, only one animal can be booked online but you can pay for additional animals at the port.
Some passengers choose to keep their dogs in their car overnight, because they feel the animal will be less stressed in familiar surroundings, but it is a matter of personal choice and where you feel your pet will be most comfortable.
If you opt for a kennel, these need to be booked in advance and are available in two sizes. There are four large kennels (800mm width x 1400mm depth x 1000mm height) and nine small (500mm width x 700mm depth x 600mm height). The kennel room is heated and ventilated and there is a water supply for filling the animal’s water bowl. Passengers are asked to supply their own bowls for food and water during the journey. They must also provide a blanket or basket for their animal to sleep on.
Access to the kennels during the voyage is restricted, although passengers may visit pets in the kennels during the voyage, subject to operational requirements and weather conditions. Usually if you talk to a crew member they’ll do everything they can to accommodate your request.
If you are planning to transport any animals bigger than a large dog to Shetland, such as a horse, pony or alpaca, then NorthLink’s freight services can assist you.
It’s worth noting that you can send animals to Shetland unaccompanied, too. Read more about unaccompanied pet travel on the NorthLink website.
To book your pet travel to Shetland, contact NorthLink Ferries reservations on 0845 6000 449 (calls cost 5p per minute plus your telephone company’s network access charge). Or you can book directly online at www.northlinkferries.co.uk