Think again! From the 1st January 2012 the rules have changed if you want to bring your dog, cat or ferret into the UK. So if you are thinking of travelling with your pet and have finally found a place that accepts dogs or cats and thought that was the end of your worries, I’m afraid it is not.
There are new rules and the The Pet Travel Scheme can advise us. They say that pets are allowed to enter the UK from approved non EU-countries, and countries within the EU, without going into quarantine as long as they meet certain stipulated guidelines.
So what do you need to know, as a pet owner, if you want to take your pet abroad and return with it into the UK without it having to go into quarantine for 6 months?
These are the requirements for pets to enter the UK from EU member states and approved non-EU countries:
- You have to get your pet microchipped so that it can easily be identified.
- When you have microchipped your pet, you must then get it vaccinated against rabies. But, make sure you vaccinate your pet after it is microchipped chipped otherwise it will need to be done again. This is to make sure that your pet is correctly identified when it is vaccinated.
- Rabies boosters need to be kept up to date. The waiting period from the date of vaccination to entering the UK is 21 days
- If you want to travel within the EU, you will require an EU passport for pets. If you are preparing for travel outside of the EU then you will also need an official third country veterinary certificate
- Your pet will need tapeworm treatment, before entering or re-entering the UK. The treatment will need to be administered by a vet, not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before the scheduled arrival into the UK
- Finally requirements state that your pet must travel with an approved transport company on an approved route
Getting a Pet Passport
To obtain a Pet Passport you should approach your vet who will let you know if they are able to issue one. Any vet may perform some stages of the process, but only a government-authorised veterinarian (Local Veterinary Inspector) can verify that these procedures have been carried out correctly, and issue the official PETS certificate to the owner.
The vet will let you know if they have an LVI to issue the passport or where the nearest one is.
The rabies vaccination (including boosters), blood-sampling, issuing the PETS certificate, the tick and tapeworm treatment and the issuing of the official certificate of treatment must all be carried out in the British Isles, the Republic of Ireland or a qualifying country. Microchipping can be done in any country.
Be mindful however, that a passport may only be issued for an animal to re-enter the UK if all of the following requirements are met:
- It shows no clinical signs of rabies.
- Its microchip can be read and the same number is shown on the vaccination record and blood test result.
- It has a current rabies vaccination given after it was microchipped.
- It has been blood tested with a result showing the rabies neutralising antibody titre at a level of 0.5IU/ml or greater.
Your pet may not enter the UK under PETS until six months have passed from the date that the vet took the blood sample that led to a successful test result.
Once the vet has signed the PETS certificate and that six-month period has passed, the PETS certificate is valid and your pet may enter the UK. The six-month delay is to allow time for any pets just infected with rabies at the time of blood sampling to develop visible symptoms of rabies before coming back in.
If an animal was infected then it might show a similar result on the blood test to a successful vaccination response.
For more information visit Defra.
The Pet Travel Scheme does differ for pets travelling from non-qualifying (unlisted) countries, contact DEFRA for further information, and the necessary rules for entry into the UK.
The Pet Travel Scheme provides the necessary regulations to travel, however you may also need to consider the parasite risk in different countries, and protect your pet accordingly. Speak to your vet for further information and advice on a protection plan for your pet.