Travelling abroad with your pet
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) permits the entry of pet dogs, cats and ferrets in to the UK without quarantine. If you are thinking of taking your pet on holiday, please read the following advice very carefully. As the pet’s owner you are responsible for making sure they comply with all the PETS regulations. If they fail to meet these requirements they may have to go in to quarantine. There are many diseases abroad that do not occur in the UK and to which your pet will be exposed while travelling. It is important to assess the disease risks in the country you intend to travel to and take every precaution to avoid your animal becoming infected. Many exotic diseases can be very difficult and expensive to treat in the UK as drugs often have to be imported from abroad. You also need to consider if your pet is likely to be affected by the stress of long-distance travel and high temperatures abroad. If your pet becomes ill after you return to the UK it is vital you tell the vet that your pet has been abroad, even if it was some time ago, as many exotic diseases can manifest months or even years after travelling. Ensure your pet is covered by pet health insurance that includes foreign travel.
At Rhodes vets we have several Official Veterinarians on staff who are specially licensed by the government to Provide Pet Passports and other travel documents and services you will need if you intend to travel with your pet. We also provide free of charge nurse travel clinics to help you arrange your pet's preventative healthcare before their holiday. The advice below concentrates on travel within the EU, as this is the most commonly visited area for British pets.
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)
If you wish to travel within the EU with your pet dog, cat or ferret please come and see us at the very least one month before travel (preferably make your preparations several months in advance in case of any unforeseen delays) so we can help you make sure your pet complies with all the legal requirements for PETS (items marked * below are services Rhodes Vets can provide for you). You need to:
- Have your pet microchipped
- Have your pet vaccinated against rabies and keep up to date with rabies booster vaccinations (usually every 2-3 years)
- Wait at least 21 days after vaccination before travelling
- Get an EU Pet Passport for your pet
- Before entering the UK all pet dogs must recieve tapeworm treatment from a vet 1-5 days before arrival (except if entering the UK from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway)
- Arrange for your pet to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route
- Contact the relevant authorities in the country you intend to travel to check they do not have any other requirements to allow your pet entry
For full details of PETS, including the extra requirements involved in travelling outside the EU or with more than 5 pets, please read the information on the DEFRA website carefully www.defra.gov.uk
There are no restrictions on travel within the UK including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Even if you have travelled with your pets before, please always refer to the DEFRA advice before each subsequent trip as rules can change and in fact PETS rules were updated in January 2012.
If you intend to travel outside the EU you must plan your trip much further in advance as your pet will require blood tests and other procedures before travel, depending on the country involved and you will need to apply for specific export paperwork. For travel to some countries, this whole process can take 6-12 months to organise. Contact the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) for details of the export certification requirements for your destination country.
Helpline: 0870 2411710.
As soon as you are aware of the requirements for your destination, book an appointment with one of our vets to get the process underway. We can provide pre-travel blood tests and other laboratory tests that might be required, pre-travel health checks and export certification. As the requirements vary hugely from country to country and can change over time we will not be able to advise you what your pet needs until you have written confirmation from DEFRA and/or AHVLA.
At Rhodes we have lots of experience with pet travel, so please get in touch with us early and we can help guide you through the whole process.
To learn more on protecting your pet against diseases when travelling abroad, click here.