Going on holiday with your dog?
If you are planning a trip to Europe this Summer, will you also be travelling with your pet dog? The PETS Travel Scheme was introduced back in February 2000 and is governed by DEFRA. If you fail to follow the rules then you may be fined or your dog may be quarantined, so it’s really important that you do your research before you travel. Each country has different legislation and the UK has strict requirements that must be followed. Here are the key points to consider;
Microchip your dog before they have their initial rabies vaccination. Microchipping is now a legal requirement for dogs in the UK so you will need to ensure that your vet records the chip number accurately in your pet’s passport.
A rabies vaccination must be given 21 clear days before you are due to depart the UK. This must be given by a vet and therefore must also be accurately recorded in the passport.
Tapeworm treatment is also required for dogs 1-5 days before re-entering the UK so be sure to check this very carefully before travelling home and it’s best to arrange a trip to a vet before your return.
Your Pet Passport is valid for life
However, with all this in mind, travelling with your pet around EU ‘listed’ countrie’s is now far easier. Since December 2014 the rabies vaccination requirements are less stringent. If you are travelling to an ‘un-listed’ EU destination however then you are still required to have a post-rabies blood test at your vets and then there is a wait of 3 months before your pet is allowed to re-enter the UK.
Through Mediterranean Europe the disease Leishmaniosis is present and therefore your dog may also require a vaccine for this before travel as well.
Once issued, a Pet Passport is valid for life as long as you stay up to date with annual vaccinations, parasite treatment and a rabies vaccination, which is to be given every 3 years. These treatments must be completed by a vet that is trained to do so and each entry must be signed, dated and stamped. There is also a laminate seal that must be correctly placed to ensure each entry is valid.
More points to note are that your dog must be at least 15 weeks old to travel and if you’re flying then your dog will be travelling in a crate. It’s best to make sure your dog is comfortable being confined in a crate, practice some positive crate training before travel. On the Eurotunnel, dogs must stay within the car at all times and on the ferry, dogs are not permitted on deck.
There are lots of things to consider before taking your pet on holiday but don’t be discouraged, you can obtain further advice by talking to your vet, or check with DEFRA and by visiting: www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad
I’d love to hear about your own pet travel tales and stories of well-travelled pets.
Written by Nicky Diver-Clarke RVN.