The Pet Passport Scheme – otherwise known as the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) – was introduced so that pets entering or returning to the UK would not need to undergo the usual compulsory 6-month quarantine period to protect against rabies.
Through this scheme, pets should be able to travel freely and easily between member countries of the EU and certain non-EU countries which have qualified under the scheme – provided that they satisfy the health and safety requirements, particularly with regards to rabies vaccinations and followed the correct procedure. Pets included in the scheme are dogs, cats and ferrets.
The UK has strict rules which prohibits the import of dogs, cats and ferrets that have not been vaccinated against rabies. However, under PETS, pets originating from other EU countries or from certain countries outside the EU may enter the UK without the 6-month quarantine period if they can be shown to have been vaccinated against rabies and tested negative for the disease, within a certain time frame of arrival. In addition, they must enter the UK only on certain sea, air and rail routes.
Any dog, cat or ferret coming from a country that does not qualify under PETS will have to undergo the compulsory 6-month quarantine on arrival.
To bring your dog, cat or ferret into the UK under the Pets Passport Scheme, you must follow the following procedure, in strict order:
- Have your pet microchipped so that it can be properly identified.
- Have your pet vaccinated against rabies by a certified veterinarian. (Your pet must be given a rabies vaccination AFTER it has been microchipped – there is no exemption to this rule, even if it had a current rabies vaccination before being microchipped.
- A blood test will be required if you are taking your pet to a unlisted third country and returning to the UK or EU member state at a later date.
- Following the satisfactory test result and the veterinarian issuing the PETS documentation, your passport will be valid 21 days after the vaccination.
- Your pet must be treated for ticks and tapeworms by a certified veterinarian not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before it is checked in with an approved transport company for travel to the UK.
- Your pet must only travel with an approved animal transport company and enter the UK on an authorised route.
Note: these requirements do not apply for pets travelling between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Points to Remember
- Don’t forget to update your contact details on the microchip database before travelling, as this will help reunite you with your pet should it go missing while you’re on holiday.
- Ask your vet to scan and check the microchip to make sure that it is readable and has not migrated and “got lost”. A pet which cannot be identified by microchip will be forced to go into quarantine, even if it has all the correct PETS documentation.
- If your pet has been previously vaccinated for rabies, make sure that you check the “Valid until” date on your PETS documentation and get its boosters done in time.
- Make sure you find a vet in a convenient location who can give your pet the necessary tick and tapeworm treatment within the 24-48hr timeframe, before entry into the UK.
- Ensure that your veterinarian has completed all the PETS documentation, including the date and time of treatment (using the 24hr clock) and the product used, and that the Pet Passport has been stamped.
For more information about the Pet Passport scheme visit www.gov.uk/pet-travel.