The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) has been in place since 2000, and has made it increasingly easy for owners to take their pets abroad, either on holiday or for longer periods. It is designed to keep the UK rabies free, but allow animals to travel and return to the UK without the need for quarantine. A new style pet passport was introduced in December 2014 to improve both security and traceability, and to strengthen enforcement across the EU. However, if your pet has a passport issued prior to this date there is no need to replace it: passports will remain valid for the lifetime of the pet, or until all the treatment spaces are filled. The rules currently apply to dogs, cats, and ferrets.
Here at Moor Cottage we can guide you through the steps necessary, and we have Veterinary Surgeons qualified to issue your pet passport. This is a summary of the current Pet Travel Scheme requirements:
- Your pet must be implanted with an ISO-approved microchip.
- To travel your pets must be accompanied either by their owner (as named in the passport) or by a person authorised in writing by the owner and you can travel with a maximum of 5 pets routinely.
- After the microchip, your pet must be vaccinated against Rabies. The minimum age for this is 12 weeks.
- At this stage an authorised Veterinary Surgeon will issue your pet’s passport.
- After 21 days you can travel freely with your pet between EU countries (plus those who abide with the EU passport scheme) including returning to the UK. You must use an authorised carrier and an approved route.
- For EU travel a blood test is no longer required. If you are taking your pet outside the EU, blood testing may be needed 30 days after vaccination, and there will be a 3 month waiting period imposed before travel is allowed. Please check with relevant authorities of the country you are travelling to and from as to their specific requirements.
- We strongly recommend a second Rabies vaccination 2 weeks after the first one to ensure sufficient antibody cover (5% of animals used to fail the blood test after only one vaccination).
- Booster Rabies vaccinations will then be required to maintain a valid passport. In the UK boosters must be given every 3 years, but the frequency differs depending on the resident country, and some countries do require annual boosters. Please check with relevant authorities of the country you are travelling to and from as to their specific requirements.
- DOGS ONLY: Before re-entering the UK (unless coming into the country from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway), your pet must be treated by a qualified Veterinary Surgeon against tapeworms. This must be carried out not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (5 days) before checking in at the ferry or airport. It may be a good idea to treat for tapeworm before you go on a short holiday. Further info can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/tapeworm-treatment-dogs
Please remember that when taking your pet abroad they may be exposed to diseases which we do not have in the UK. It is important that the Veterinary Surgeon checks your pet’s health and fitness to travel before you go overseas. Despite the reduction in the legal requirements for parasite control, for your pet’s own protection we strongly recommend treating cats and dogs for ticks and tapeworms both during your trip and prior to their return to the UK. Appropriate drug protocols are constantly evolving and suitable medications for your exact travel plans can be discussed with the Veterinary Surgeon at the time of your consultation. Depending on the country of travel, your pet may also be exposed to other diseases including heartworm and leishmaniasis: so please book an appointment with one of our vets who will be happy to discuss a preventative healthcare program.
Please also remember to check your pet insurance policy to ensure they will be covered for veterinary treatment whilst you are abroad.
For further pet passport information please call our reception desk with one of our vets or request your appointment here.