Travelling with your pet can be a great experience and means that you can enjoy your holiday with your pet. A pet passport can be obtained for cats, dogs and ferrets – and allows travel between certain countries. You will need to check whether you are travelling to an EU, listed non-EU, or unlisted non EU country as the regulations will differ. If travelling to an unlisted non-EU country the requirements are a little more complicated and will take more time so you will need to plan accordingly.
Also, remember that your pet passport is to allow you to re-enter the UK. Other countries – in particular unlisted non-EU countries – will have their own entry requirements, that you may have to comply with. This is, by example, really important for entry into Australia or New Zealand, who have very strict disease control policies in place.
In order to obtain a pet passport you will need to book an appointment with one of our vets. Check that the vet that you will be seeing has OV (Official Veterinarian) status to legally provide a pet passport and will be available on the day of your appointment. Most of our vets do have this qualification (which they have to renew periodically), but do make sure that our receptionists are aware that you will need certain documents that only they can sign.
Your pet will receive a full health check to ensure that they have no health concerns and are fit to travel. They must be over the age of 15 weeks at the time of travelling; this is to help prevent illegal movement of puppies and kittens.
Hopefully your pet is already microchipped, if not they will need to have one placed in the scruff of their neck for identification purposes. This number will be recorded in their pet passport, along with a written description of them.
Your pet will then need to have a vaccination against Rabies. If the vaccination is given in the UK, it usually lasts 3 years before they require a booster. However, the vaccine takes a few weeks to “take” and become fully effective. As a result, your pet cannot return to the UK until 21 days have passed after having the rabies vaccination, when travelling from EU and listed countries. This means it is sensible to get everything done at least a month or more in advance of your planned trip.
You also need to consider that your pet will be required to travel via an approved transport route and with an approved company. Additionally, you will have to travel with them – if this is not possible, you will need additional paperwork to allow another person to accompany them.
Before returning to the UK, any dogs in your party will need to have a worming tablet administered by vet in the country you are travelling back from, given 1-5 days before re-entry to the UK. This is to prevent a type of tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) that can infect humans from being brought into this country by infected dogs, and it will need to be noted in their pet passport.
We strongly advise that you research the potential parasite and disease threats in the country you are travelling to, to ensure your pets are protected. For most countries, tick cover would be strongly recommended as they carry a number of significant diseases; in southern Europe, dogs should also have sandfly protection to reduce the risk of heartworm and Leishmaniasis.
Failure to meet regulations could result in your pet being quarantined on returning to the UK – which could potentially be months, so do check the gov.uk website for the most up to date information.