Taking Pets Abroad


The Pet Travel Scheme Explained

This scheme applies to dogs and cats normally resident in the United Kingdom, and only allows travel to qualifying countries. These were initially limited to Europe but there have been recent additions. For more information about these please contact the PETS Helpline (01228 403600).


Obtaining a Pet Passport

Microchipping - First your pet must be microchipped as a method of permanent identification. This ensures that one pet cannot travel with another’s documentation.

Rabies vaccination - the vaccine that we use consists of a single dose that lasts for 3 years. 

Pet Passport - This is usually issued when your pet has its rabies vaccination. There is no need for a blood test since 01 Jan 2012.

The Pet Passport allows your pet back into the UK from three weeks after the rabies vaccination, depending on the countries you have visited, but you may also need other documentation to gain entry into countries abroad.


Entering EU Countries

The Pet Passport can now be used to get your dog or cat into any EU country from 21 days after the initial rabies vaccination.  Rabies boosters and worm treatments are recorded in the passport. 

Other countries still have additional requirements and so we advise that you contact DEFRA . Their helpline number is 01228 403600.

Some ferry companies also request a ‘fitness-to-travel’ certificate to be issued by a vet 24-48 hours before your journey, so do check when you book.  There is a page in the passport for this purpose.


Entering Non– EU Countries

Most of the other qualifying countries require some form of certification.  Please contact DEFRA for more details of the requirements for your destination, and of any country that you are planning to travel through. 


Dog Laws

Many European countries have similar laws in place to our ‘Dangerous Dogs Act’ but they do not necessarily involve the same breeds.  In particular Dobermans, Rottweilers, Bull Terriers and other bull breeds may be affected.  For more information contact the embassy for the countries you are planning to travel through or stay in.


Coming Home

24-120 hours before getting onto the ferry, train or plane to the UK your pet must be treated for tapeworms by an official veterinary surgeon, who will complete the relevant section in the passport.  A charge will be made for this, which appears to be around £30.  Your transport company will be able to provide details of practices that can provide this service.  Do let us know of any that you would particularly recommend as we can then help to pass on this information.  At your port of departure you will be asked to complete a declaration that your pet has not been outside the qualifying countries.  Your pet will then be scanned to check the microchip and your paperwork will be checked.

Any animal that does not have the correct paperwork will be delayed until duplicates are obtained.  If you cannot meet the requirements, your pet will have to go into quarantine on arrival into the UK.


Parasites Abroad

There are a number of diseases, not seen in this country, that can be caught from insects abroad.  In many cases, these will be fatal.

Heartworm – A parasite, transmitted by mosquitoes, that lives in the heart and large blood vessels.

Babesiosis – A tick-borne disease that affects dogs, destroying their blood cells.

Erlichiosis – Another tick-borne disease, similar to Babesiosis.

Leishmaniasis – A disease carried by sandflies that can also affect people.  It is present in Mediterranean countries.

Echinococcus multilocularis – A tapeworm present in many European countries that can also affect people.

To help to protect your pet against  these disease we recommend that you start to treat your pet before you travel and continue treatment throughout your holiday.  Various options are now available so please discuss your requirements with the vet.

We are now able to obtain some of the products that were previously only available abroad, such as Scalibor collars.


Holiday Checklist

  • Annual vaccination
  • Microchip fitted
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Official Pet Passport
  • Certification as required by countries visited/ travelled through
  • Fitness-to-travel certificate for transport company
  • Our telephone and fax number!!!!
  • If possible – details of a veterinary surgery close to where you are staying
  • Details of a veterinary surgeon close to your port of departure to the UK for worm treatment if not done before
  • Recent clinical history and any known allergies
  • Check with embassy for ‘dog laws’
  • Lead and poop scoops
  • Usual food and treats – allow extra in case of delays
  • Food and water bowls
  • Bottles of water for the journey
  • Bed, blankets & toys
  • Grooming kit, towels and shampoos for wet/ muddy walks
  • Flea & Tick Treatment
  • First aid kit
  • Adequate supply of usual medication
  • Insurance – check that your pet’s usual cover will pay for treatment abroad, or take out temporary holiday cover.