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Pet Travel Rules 2012

Sunday, 1 January 2012  | 

As of 1st January 2012 there are changes to the Pet Travel rules affecting entry or re-entry to the UK, as announced by The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra). The statement on the Defra website says:

Pet Passports UK Pet Travel Scheme Changes January 2012

"Pet Travel rules change on 1 January 2012 when the UK brings its procedures into line with the European Union. From this date all pets can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine provided they meet the rules of the scheme, which will be different depending on the country or territory the pet is coming from."

These changes will make travelling with pets cheaper and easier. The rules on rabies vaccination for entry into the UK will be in line with the rest of Europe. Previously, the UK, and four other Member States were able to enforce additional controls.

If you wish to return to the UK with your pet after a trip abroad, or intend to bring your pet into the UK for the first time, you need to be aware of the changes to the UK pet entry rules that take effect on 1st January 2012.

So what do you and your vet have to do to bring your pet dog, cat or ferret into the UK? Rules depend on which country you are travelling into the UK from. The countries are broadly defined as follows:

- EU member states and approved non-EU countries
- Non-approved countries (unlisted non-EU countries)

For a detailed list of countries in each category, please visit Countries and territories on the Defra website.

EU member states and approved non-EU countries

1) Have your pet microchipped.
2) Have your pet vaccinated against rabies. A period of 21 days must then pass after the rabies vaccination date before entry to the UK.
3) Obtain a valid pet passport or equivalent documention (depends on country).
4) Dogs must have tapeworm treatment. The treatment must be administered 1-5 days before arrival in the UK.
5) Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route. For details regarding approved transport and routes please visit Routes and transport companies on the Defra website.

The 1st January 2012 change to the Pet Travel rules means that if you are travelling into the UK from EU member states and approved non-EU countries, the above replaces the need for a rabies blood test and the previous 6 month waiting period.

There is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment. However in 'The Blue Cross guide to new pet travel laws' they advise:

"While there is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment, we strongly urge you take precautions to prevent your dog from picking up this parasite as it can carry some very nasty diseases. Your vet can advise you of the best treatment for your pet."

Non-approved countries (unlisted non-EU countries)

1) Have your pet microchipped.
2) Have your pet vaccinated against rabies.
3) Arrange a blood test at least 30 days after vaccination to make sure the vaccine has given protection against rabies. The length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is 3 months from the date of a blood sample that proves protection.
4) Obtain official pet travel documentation.
5) Dogs must have tapeworm treatment. The treatment must be administered 1-5 days before arrival in the UK.
6) Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route. For details regarding approved transport and routes please visit Routes and transport companies on the Defra website.

The 1st January 2012 change to the Pet Travel rules means that if you are travelling into the UK from unlisted non-EU countries, the above replaces the 6 month quarantine process.

Summary of changes

For entry into the UK, all pets will still need to be vaccinated against rabies. However, pets from the EU and listed non-EU countries will no longer need a blood test and will only have to wait 21 days before they travel. Pets from unlisted non-EU countries will be able to enter the UK if they meet the criteria to ensure they are protected against rabies, including a blood test 30 days after rabies vaccination followed by a 3 month wait before they enter the UK.

The above information is a summary only of the basic requirements for the most common scenarios and the Pet Travel changes that have been made. For more details we strongly recommend you visit and carefully read the information given on the Defra website before travelling with your pet www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/travel/

By Jenny Prevel

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