Travelling with pets

If you are travelling with a pet within the EU and other qualifying countries, your pet must have a microchip for identification and a rabies vaccination. We can then issue your pet with an authorised EU passport. Your pet is then able to travel freely within the EU and qualifying countries 21 days after the rabies vaccination has been administered.

Each year, before going abroad, we would encourage you to contact APHA) to ensure that the requirements for the countries have not changed. Once we know that the requirements have been double checked, we can offer you advice on how to protect your pet from ticks, mosquitoes and sandflies against the life-threatening diseases they can transmit.

If your pet is visiting a country outside the EU please contact APHA to verify the relevant import requirements. Plan ahead as your pet may require an APHA issued export health certificate.

Qualifying countries and territories

Pets from unlisted non-EU countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa will be able to enter the UK if they meet certain strict criteria to ensure they are protected against rabies. The requirements include a blood test and a three-month wait before they enter the UK.

Please call the clinic to discuss current requirements, particularly if your pet does not yet have a passport and you are planning to travel.

While you are abroad

It’s essential that you treat your pet with the preventative anti-parasite medication we have provided. It may be worth considering taking out additional travel insurance cover for your pet. Please contact your pet insurance provider to enquire about this service. Remember that you are subject to the laws of the country you are in, and therefore you may be liable for damage caused by your pet.

Before returning to the UK

Your pet will need specific tapeworm treatments before returning. These must be administered not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours before departure by air, sea or Channel Tunnel back to the UK. Please visit a veterinary surgeon who will apply the treatments and fill in the appropriate pages for you in your pet's passport. Make sure the vet fills out the time of day as well as the date of treatment to ensure that there is no confusion.


Maintaining your pet on the travel scheme

Provided your pet has a booster vaccination against rabies before their present vaccine expires, the scheme simply rolls over without the requirement for a further blood test.

In the UK any veterinary surgeon may give a rabies booster, but only an APHA Official Veterinarian (OV) may sign a passport. Helen Wikeley, our main day vet, is an OV. You may need to leave your pet's passport with us to be updated if Helen is not on shift when you come in for your appointment.

It’s important to devise your own vaccination reminder system. While we will do our best to let you know when the rabies vaccination is due, the responsibility to keep all vaccinations up to date remains with you, the owner.

The rabies vaccine can last one, two or three years. We use a vaccine that is licensed for three years for dogs or cats resident in the UK. The rules regarding how often the vaccine needs to be administered vary from country to country, even for the same brand of vaccine. We are happy to discuss the implications of this if your pet is scheduled to have a prolonged stay abroad.

Importing pets

We would like to stress to anyone planning to import an animal to the UK that the import must be carried out according to APHA regulations. Using a pet export company can make the process much less burdensome.

If a pet is imported without being declared to customs and without the necessary documentation, the animal will be liable to either quarantine on entering the UK or immediate export to the country of origin.

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