Travelling Abroad

Travelling Abroad

Taking Your Pet Abroad – The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)

Pet Travel regulations enable you to avoid putting your cat or dog into quarantine when you travel to certain countries (most countries in Western Europe & Scandinavia). To qualify for exemption from quarantine, you must meet various conditions relating to your pet´s health.

NOTE: Pet travel rules changed on 1 January 2012 when the UK brought its procedures into line with the European Union. We strongly suggest that you visit the government website to familiarise yourself with the most up to date information on this subject. The passports issued from January 2015 onward are of a new style, with new security features, although old-style passports which have already been issued before December 28th 2014 remain valid for use. Please also note that the minimum age for Rabies vaccination to be given is 12 weeks, but the data sheet for each make of vaccination MUST be adhered to. If the data sheet states 3 months, then the pet MUST be 3 CALENDAR MONTHS of age.

Travelling to Europe and several other countries has been made easier by the introduction of the Pet Passport. With a valid passport your pet can travel to and from those countries back to the UK without having to go into quarantine. The basic requirements are a microchip, rabies vaccination and the issue of a Pet Passport. The rabies vaccination has to be repeated within a strict period of time to keep the passport up to date. Also, before re-entering the UK, your pet has to be seen by a local vet (in the country from where you are departing) within a strict time period for parasite treatment.

If you are thinking about travelling with your dog, please plan well in advance as the process can take some time and initially from some countries your pet is only allowed to travel back to the UK six months after a successful rabies antibody blood test. For the most up to date information we recommend that in the first instance you contact the UK Government Pet Travel Scheme Helpline on 0870 241 1710 or visit their website at and follow the link to the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) in order to gain the information you require. Please DO NOT forget that you currently still need to worm your dog before travelling back into the UK 24-48 hours before your journey; please take local advice and check with DEFRA to confirm the timeframe for this as regulations are subject to change.

Entry rules for pets entering the UK from the EU and listed non-EU countries:

What has to be done Before 1 January 2012 From 1 January 2012
Microchip Yes Yes
Rabies vaccination Yes Yes
Documentation (pet passport or third country certificate) Yes Yes
Blood test (dogs and cats) Yes No
Pre-entry waiting period Yes Yes
Length of waiting period before entry to the UK 6 months from date  sample taken for blood test 21 days after vaccination against rabies (vaccination day is day 0)
Tick treatment Yes (24-48 hours before embarkation) No
Tapeworm treatment Yes (as for ticks) Under consideration at European level

Entry rules for pets entering the UK from unlisted non-EU countries:

What has to be done Before 1 January 2012 From 1 January 2012
Microchip All pets from unlisted third countries are licensed into quarantine for 6 months and vaccinated against rabies on arrival Yes
Rabies vaccination Yes
Blood test Yes.  Blood sample taken at least 30 days after vaccination.
Documentation ( third country certificate) Yes
Pre-entry waiting period Yes
Length of waiting period before entry to the UK 3 months after blood sample date
Tick treatment No
Tapeworm treatment Under consideration at European level

Other considerations

  • Take your pet for a health check by your vet in advance of your journey. Get advice from your vet on pregnant animals.
  • Speak to the carrier in advance to ascertain the conditions that your pet will travel in and to ensure that you have the required paperwork.
  • Do not use sedatives unless advised by a vet.
  • Give your pet only a light meal about 2 hours before travel.
  • Check with the carrier that your pet will have full and constant access to fresh water.
  • Use a container which enables your pet to stand, sit and lie down in a natural position, and to turn around easily. The container should contain absorbent bedding and provide ample ventilation. A familiar toy can help your pet get used to the container. The use of pheromone products (Feliway (TM) or Adaptil (TM) may help your pet feel more at ease.
  • Ensure that your pet will not be exposed to extreme temperatures.
  • Try to match your pets’ sleeping patterns by travelling overnight where possible