Going Abroad With Your Pet

Written by: Alison Laurie, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness

If you’re planning a holiday abroad with your pet, whether a dog, cat or ferret (!)  and you have never travelled abroad before, you do need a Pet Passport.  The first thing to do is to book an appointment for a pre-travel consultation with us as early as possible well in advance of intended travel to make sure that your pet is fit to travel and to check that you have time to get all of the required and recommended procedures done before travelling:  Microchipping, the required and advised vaccinations and an up to date Pet Passport issued or an existing Pet Passport checked and updated. And also to receive advice on any other advised additional preventative healthcare treatments required for travelling abroad.

There are different rules depending on where you are travelling to and from and you will need to research this yourself. It is your responsibility as the pet owner to discuss your own specific travel plans and requirements with a Vet. You will always be required to comply with the legal requirements of the PETS Travel Scheme.

Please note that it is the responsibility of you as the pet owner to ensure that your pet is fully compliant with the rules of the EU PET Travel Scheme (PETS). For further advice on PETS please call the DEFRA Helpline (0870 341 1710), or check out the DEFRA Website:  www.defra.gov.uk

If you are travelling to and from the EU to countries that are "approved" or "listed" in the Pet Travel Scheme, including Southern Ireland, please take note: 

  • Your pet will need to be Microchipped, and the Microchip checked and microchip number logged.
  •  If your pet has never had a Rabies vaccine protection before, then your pet must be checked as being microchipped before being vaccinated against Rabies, this vaccine must be done at least 21 days before travelling.
  • After 21 days an EU PET Passport will be issued to you which will be *valid from 21 days from the day after the Rabies vaccine has been administered*. 
  • If your pet already has a current Pet Passport, do check and ensure that this record is indeed up to date and that you have kept up with your pet’s Booster rabies vaccinations as advised on your Pet Passport record.

If you do have any concerns regarding this, or you need some advice here, then please contact us.

To re-enter the UK after travelling in an EU approved country, dogs will also need to be treated for Tapeworm with an approved product and by a Veterinary surgeon 24 to 120 hours (1-5 days) before re-entry and then this treatment must be logged into the pets Pet Passport by a Veterinary surgeon.  This treatment is to offer protection against a tapeworm that does not currently exist in the UK and that could ultimately cause serious human health problems here.

If you are travelling further afield to a "non-approved" or "unlisted third country"  (such as India, China and Sri Lanka) then you as the pet owner will need to find out what the entry requirements are of the country you are travelling to.

This advice is pertaining to pets travelling abroad and returning to the UK and does not pertain to Pet Export which involves a much more complex protocol which has to be carefully researched many months (usually over 6 months) in advance of leaving the UK.   

Happy holidays!!