With Brexit looming, Pet Travel Scheme rules are changing even if you have an existing passport from 1st January 2021. The following is the advice we have been given and we will update this as and when we receive more information. Visit gov.uk and search pet travel for more up to date information. This guidance applies to people travelling to the EU with their pet cats, ferrets or dogs, including assistance dogs.
An overview for pet owners
Pet owners will still be able to travel to Europe with their pet after the UK leaves the EU, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. However, in the event of no deal, they may need to take some additional steps to be able to travel with their pet to the EU.
If pet owners are planning to travel after the 1st January 2021 the Government will recommend they contact their vet at least four months in advance to check what they need to do. Those wishing to travel to the EU on 1st January 2021, for example, should discuss requirements with their vet as soon as possible and by September 2021 at the latest. In the EU Pet Travel Scheme, there are 3 categorisations of third country: Unlisted, Part 1 listed and Part 2 listed. Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) will become a third country from 1st January 2021. The UK government has applied to the European Commission to be listed. If the UK does receive Part 1 or 2 listed status, some of these requirements will no longer apply and this guidance will be updated.
If Great Britain becomes an unlisted country, the requirements for travel would include making sure that pets are effectively vaccinated against rabies before they travel. This involves having an up-to-date rabies vaccination and a blood test to demonstrate sufficient levels of rabies antibody. The blood test would need to be carried out a minimum of 30 days after any initial rabies vaccination and a minimum of three months before their travel date. This means that pet owners will need to talk to their vet about health requirements in good time to make sure they are able to travel with their pet. When you are due to travel the vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an export health certificate (EHC). You must take your pet to the vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an EHC. The EHC will be valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU, onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue, and re-entry to Great Britain for 4 months after the date of issue.
All the information and regulations can be found on the DEFRA Pet Travel website.
First and foremost your pet must be microchipped & vaccinated against Rabies
To travel and return to the UK your pet must:
- You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped.
- Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies – your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated.
- Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its primary rabies vaccination (from a current series of vaccinations). Your vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test.
- Your pet’s blood sample will be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
- Wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel.
- The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC).
- If returning to the UK, be treated for tapeworms 24-120 hours before entry to the UK.
Tick treatment is no longer required under the scheme but we would strongly advise protecting your pet while abroad from ticks, sand-flies and mosquitoes which may carry diseases not encountered in the UK. We can advise and supply appropriate preventive treatment.
For full details of the Pet Travel scheme please visit the DEFRA Pet Travel website.
Travel to countries other than those covered under the Pet Travel Scheme is generally more complicated and may require using a specialist pet travel service.
Please contact the surgery if you have any questions about taking your pet abroad.