The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) - taking your pet abroad
More and more people are now taking their pets abroad with them on holiday and with legislation changes made back in 2012 this has been made easier.
Having pets spend six months in quarantine, a practice dating from the 1800’s, is no longer necessary due to vastly improved rabies vaccines and treatments.
All pets still need to be vaccinated against rabies. Pets from the UK starting the scheme (and EU and listed non-EU countries such as the USA and Australia) no longer require a blood test and must only wait 21 days before they travel. Pets from unlisted non-EU countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa can enter the UK if they meet certain strict criteria to ensure they are protected against rabies. This includes a blood test and a three-month wait before they enter the UK.
Even with these changes, the risk of rabies coming to the UK remains extremely low.
Most vets will offer a pre-holiday health check (we recommend two to four weeks prior to travel) to ensure everything is in place for you to be able to take your pet abroad.
This will include:
- Ensuring your pet’s annual vaccinations are up-to-date
- Rabies vaccine administered
- Ensuring parasite control is on-going – flea, tick and worm control – although this is not a requirement is something we strongly recommend
- Issuing you with an official PETS Health Certificate valid for European travel
- Check if specific certification is required by the country or countries you are visiting
- Check your pet’s Microchip details are up-to-date.Ensure your mobile number is on your pet’s tag
- Ensuring your pet insurance is up-to-date. We always advise taking their contact details and your policy number in case of an emergency
- Ensuring you have an adequate supply of current medications (if relevant)
- A note of recent clinical history including any known allergies
- Travel sickness pills (if required) or anti-anxiety/scent therapy to help with behavioural upset whilst on holiday
Regulations do change, so it’s always a good idea to visit the DEFRA website www.gov.uk/defra well in advance of your travel date, for the latest information about travelling abroad with your pet.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in Corfe Mullen.