Travelling with your pet can be a great experience, but if you’re going abroad, be aware your pet will need a passport. Just like our own passports, a pet passport allows registered dogs, cats and ferrets to travel abroad legally.
A pet passport will give your pet the freedom to travel with you through the EU and selected non-EU countries.
There are some countries outside the EU that are slightly more complicated, such as Canada and New Zealand, and you may need to go through further regulatory procedures to allow them to travel.
Always make sure to check the individual requirements for the country you’re travelling to well ahead of time.
What do I need to do for my pet to be eligible for a pet passport?
- Your pet must be microchipped.
- Your pet must have been vaccinated against rabies. This means:
- your pet must be at least 12 weeks old
- if it’s their first vaccine, you’ll have to wait 21 days to travel. This means that your pet must be at least 15 weeks old (12 weeks old at vaccination + 3 weeks wait) to re-enter the UK
- if you miss a booster, you’ll have to re-vaccinate and wait 3 weeks before travelling.
- If you have a dog, they must have received tapeworm treatment at least 24 hours and no greater than 5 days before re-entering the UK. If you’ll only be gone a few days, this can be done by your local vet before you leave the UK. This treatment should be repeated 28 days later.
Where can I get a pet passport?
Pet passports are issued through the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).
To be able to issue pet passports, vets require special training. Many of our vets are Official Vets (OVs), which means they’ll be able to issue your pet with a passport.
There is some paperwork you’ll need to bring to your pet passport appointment (if you’re already a client of ours, we’ll have all the required details on our computer system). If you give your local practice a call, they’ll be able to tell you what to bring with you.
Is there an expiry date on my pet passport?
Pet passports are valid for life, as long as you keep up to date with your pet’s rabies vaccination.
Typically, a rabies booster vaccination is required every 2-3 years, but will depend on the specific vaccine used.
What if my pet’s sick on the day? Can they still travel?
If your pet is sick on the day you’re due to travel, the chances are that it won’t be able to travel as planned. Outside of putting your pet in further discomfort and danger, your travel company (as well as border control) may not permit the entry of a sick animal.
Do I need to do anything before I bring my pet back into the UK?
- Cats and ferrets: You don’t need to do anything differently while you’re away to bring your pet back into the UK with you.
- Dogs: If you’re away for longer than 5 days, you’ll need to get a tapeworm treatment administered to them while you’re on your trip.
A final checklist before travelling with your Pet Passport
Make sure to check the vet has filled in the following sections in the pet passport:
- Details of ownership
- A description of the animal.
- Any markings or identifying factors of the animal
- Vaccination against rabies
- Rabies blood test (if needed)
- Details of the vet issuing the passport
- Your dog’s tapeworm treatment (if needed).