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PET Travel Scheme

The scheme allows pet owners in the UK to take their dogs, cats and ferrets to other European countries and then return with them without need for quarantine.

All 3 Vets here are Official Veterinarians (OVs) and experienced at completing & signing the Pet Passport paperwork. We have great experience of the Pet Passport scheme and also of Import and Export of animals in general.


An overview of the scheme

The main function of the Pet Passport is to allow the pet to return to the UK without quarantine. The starting point is the microchip (see Microchips). This must be implanted as the first step, and before the rabies vaccination (they can both be done together, one after the other, but the microchip must be first).

Once the microchip is implanted and the rabies vaccine administered, three weeks later the pet can travel.

The Passport can be used for travel across Europe and many other countries. This list changes with time and an up to date list can be seen at www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/index.htm

Additionally, many countries have additional and/or alternative requirements. Scandinavian countries, Australia and New Zealand in particular have additional and complex requirements. In these cases it is often worth talking to the Consulate (not the Embassy) of the country involved. These extra tests may take months to complete. Defra may not always be right, and will not take any responsibility for their advice, but are nonetheless more likely to know what is required than anyone else (01905 763 555).

The Return Trip

For return to the UK (as in after a vacation) the pet must be treated for Tapeworm using praziquantel (e.g. Drontal) in the time window up to 5 days before check-in (but more than 24 hours) with the Approved Carrier on the return trip. This has to be done by the local Veterinary Practice and the Veterinarian must sign and stamp the Passport and mark both the date and the time.

Although often done in practice, it is irregular to take the tapeworm treatment with you and merely get the foreign veterinarian to apply them. This is because, although the product we supply may even have been made in the country you are visiting, it is licensed for use only in the UK. So technically it is irregular, even though pharmaceutically indistinguishable from the local product. The foreign veterinarian does not specify the origin of the products, though strictly speaking he is signing that he is using licensed products (Pages 10-21 of the Pet Passport).

If you are just going away for a weekend – say to Paris or Brussels – then the time window may allow you to get us to do the tapeworm treatment before you leave. You then have 5 days before you must check-in for the return home.

Boosters

To keep the Passport valid, the rabies booster must be given every three years. However, the timng is no longer critical. If the booster has lapsed, a booster is given and the passport is valid again three weeks later.

Other Considerations

Many European countries insist on annual Rabies Vaccination. As a result, most of the Rabies vaccines are only licensed for 1 year in these countries. Should you have your rabies booster done there, the passport validity is only extended by 1 year, even if the same vaccine, given in London would have extended the validity by three years.

For most countries there is a restriction on the number of animals you may transport. For most it is 5. In France it is 2 per person.

You are deemed to be domiciled (from the point of view of rabies vaccination) in France after three months. This then obligates an annual rabies vaccination. To enter Germany, the pet should have had a rabies vaccination within the previous year, though this is rarely checked.

Animals may not re-enter if they have been to an un-listed country within the previous six months.

Heathrow airport guide

For more information call the PETS Helpline 0870 241 1710 (UK only)