Pet Passports and Travelling Abroad
Pet passports can be issued for dogs, cats or ferrets to allow them to travel freely within the EU and listed non-EU countries, and further details are given below. Please also check https://www.gov.uk/pet-travel-information-for-pet-owners as information is constantly changing and we cannot be held liable for any amendments by Defra or countries outside the UK.
Pet passports are not required for rabbits, birds (except poultry), ornamental tropical fish, reptiles and rodents such as guinea pigs and mice to travel within the EU and listed non-EU countries – however please do still see guidelines on taking care of your pet when travelling.
Pet passport requirements for travel to EU and listed non-EU countries
The following requirements must be met before travelling with pet dogs, cats or ferrets with a pet passport:
- A MICROCHIP must be implanted. Make sure it is an ISO Standard chip that can be read by all the border agencies. See Defra guidelines regarding tattoos.
- A RABIES VACCINATION must be given after microchipping.
- THREE WEEKS WAIT to enable the vaccination to take effect. A passport will be issued, allowing your pet to travel freely within the EU and listed non-EU countries.
- Between one and five days before entering the UK, all pet dogs must be examined by a qualified vet and treated for worms, using products recognised by DEFRA for this purpose. This rule may be changed by the authorities in the near future. Some countries are excluded – please see the Defra website for updates.
- For pets entering the UK from unlisted countries, different rules apply. After your pet has been vaccinated, it must be blood tested to make sure the vaccine has worked and then serve out a three month waiting period.
- ROUTES OF TRANSPORT: Only certain transport companies and routes can be used to bring pet dogs, cats and ferrets into the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme. These are known as approved routes. They may not go across on private planes or boats. They must check through a border control.
- HEALTH CERTIFICATES: Some transport agencies require health certificates before leaving. Contact the agent responsible for the transport of your pet for further information.
- EXCEPTIONS: Some countries, such as Malta and Sweden, have added requirements. The laws in each country change regularly and we would strongly suggest that you contact the Defra Pet Travel Scheme helpline on +44 (0)870 241 1710 to get the latest information.
- REGULAR RABIES BOOSTERS are required to keep your pet’s passport valid. The RABISIN vaccine we use is recognised by most EU countries as being effective for two years. A few countries, however, insist on annual vaccination of all animals within their borders. To avoid forgetting and to satisfy all the countries involved, we recommend annual vaccination.
- TRAVEL WITH MORE THAN FIVE PETS: You must get a health certificate for each group of more than five pets you want to travel with. You get this from the country you’re coming from. You must do this at least ten days before you want to travel. You need this certificate in addition to the other rules for pet travel for the countries you’re travelling to and from. This rule is for travelling with your own pets. There are different rules if the animals are being sold or re-homed.
- DISEASE PREVENTION: There are a number of very serious diseases that occur on mainland Europe but not in the UK. We strongly advise all travellers to take advice on preventative measures and institute them at least a week before travelling. Please see below for more details.
Disease prevention when travelling abroad in Europe
There are a number of diseases and parasites that occur in Europe that do not exist in the U.K.
- Babesiosis: Transmitted by ticks, this parasite invades the red blood cells, causing severe anaemia and often death. Treatment is possible but the drugs are not readily available in the UK. Prevent with Advantix Spot on or Certifect Spot on.
- Erhlichiosis: Another tick-transmitted parasite that invades the white blood cells of dogs and cats. Prevention as for Babesiosis.
- Echinococcus spp: A worm that occurs in the intestines of dogs in many parts of Europe. The worm eggs are shed in the faeces and can be picked up by grazing animals, often migrating to the brain. Dogs can infect humans with serious results. Treat with Milbemax, Drontal or Droncit.
- Heartworm: Transmitted by sandflies, these parasites travel in the blood stream of cats and dogs, ending up in the heart or lungs. Symptoms can be very severe and may result in death. The treatment can cause fatalities as well. Prevent with Milbemax or Advocate.
- Leishmania: Transmitted by sandflies. Leishmania causes skin lesions and can affect other joints. A common parasite of humans. Advantix is a sandfly deterrent. A vaccine is now available.
For Further Information visit: www.bva-awf.org.uk/resources/leaflets
Suggested Treatment Protocol for Travelling in Europe:
- Milbemax. Monthly, starting a week before leaving. Continue for six weeks after returning.
- Advantix. Monthly. Start a week before leaving.