Travelling with your pet
The pet travel scheme allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets to enter the UK and pet owners to travel abroad with their pets and return to the UK without the need for quarantine.
The scheme is limited to certain countries and all pets must meet strict criteria and follow the rules before they can enter the UK. These rules will help keep the UK free from Rabies and certain exotic diseases.
We have summarised the rules as they apply to pets entering the UK from EU countries. For a complete set of up to date rules, please visit the Pet Travel Scheme pages at defra.gov.uk.
For entry to the UK from the EU or travel from the UK to other EU countries the following steps must be taken –
Step 1 Have your pet microchipped with an ISO standard chip
Step 2 Have your pet vaccinated against rabies
Your pet must be at least 3 months old. At present, in the UK, booster vaccinations are required every 3 years. There is a 3 week waiting period from the date of the vaccination before leaving the UK or when entering the UK from an EU country, having been issued with an EU country passport.
Step 3 Obtain a Pet Passport
These can only be issued by an authorised Veterinary Surgeon in the EU country of origin. For the UK these are known as Official Veterinarians (OVS).
Step 4 Before entering the UK treat with Tapeworm treatment (Dogs only)
This must be performed by a veterinary surgeon not less than 24 hours and not greater than 120 hours (1-5 days) before the pet’s scheduled arrival time in the UK. This is not a requirement for dogs travelling to the UK from Ireland, Malta, Finland or Norway.
Step 5 Ensure your pet is travelling on an authorised route with an approved carrier.
Travelling to the EU potentially exposes your pet to Exotic Disease Risk – Your pet will have little or no immunity to some diseases which, for now, are only found in continental Europe.
The infections are commonly carried by insects such as ticks, flies and mosquitoes. Some of these diseases can be fatal so we strongly advise a pre travel appointment to discuss your pets needs and to prepare a treatment regime prior to, during and after your travel period.
Ideally this should take place at least 3 months before you intend to travel.