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Taking Your Pet Abroad

By Christine Ding
Jun 14, 2013 - 2:38:19 PM

Taking Your Pet Abroad


Both Peter Ding and Christine Ding are registered as Official Veterinarians (OVS) and are able to complete both PETS passports and other export documents.

The DEFRA website will provide detailed information ( There is also a PETS helpline – 0870 241 1710.

We are happy to give individual advice tailored to your specific requirements.


Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)

The PETS travel scheme allows owners to take their animals to certain countries and then re-enter the UK without going through quarantine, provided they comply with all the requirements. Its intention is to keep the United Kingdom free from Rabies and certain other conditions caused by parasites. It is not concerned with the health of individual pets. Preventive measures still need to be taken when abroad, depending on the area to which you will be travelling.

The PETS travel scheme operates throughout the European Union and also certain non-EU countries and territories. For a full list of these areas you will need to contact DEFRA, either through their website or via their helpline. Only certain routes, ports of entry and airports can be used. These are listed on the website.

Further information is available on the Client Info. Page of our website as a printable document entitled "Rabies and the Pet Travel scheme|"

From 1st January 2012 the following are required to comply with the Pets scheme:-

  • a microchip

  • a rabies vaccination

  • a pet passport

  • waiting 21 days after vaccination before re-entering the UK

  • a treatment for tapeworm given 24 to 120 hours before entering the UK and certified by a veterinary surgeon

The initial rabies vaccination can be given at 3 months of age or older. Booster vaccinations are required every 3 years.

These regulations apply to re-entry into the UK. You will also need to find out about requirements for entry into the country of your destination. This is particularly important for non-EU countries.

Australia and New Zealand have very stringent conditions for entry that will involve a considerable period of time to complete. Enquiries should be made well in advance of the date of travel.

Keeping your pet healthy while abroad.

When you take your pet abroad they will be exposed to diseases that are not encountered in the UK . Some of these conditions are extremely serious.

For this reason we recommend the following preventive measures:-

Ticks Ticks can carry several serious diseases that are transmitted when the tick feeds. Spot-on preparations are available that kill ticks so that they fall off within 24 hours without having a blood meal. We recommend that these are used both before you travel and on your return. Animals require treatment at monthly intervals.

Echinococcus This tapeworm can affect dogs while abroad and cause disease in humans. It is for this reason that treatment is required before returning to the UK.

Heartworm is also prevalent in certain areas, especially near the Mediterranean. Particular care is required if travelling to these areas.

Sandflies These flies, that are found in coniferous forests, can transmit several diseases. They are particularly active at dusk. Collars impregnated with insecticide are available from the surgery. They are best fitted one week before travel.

Leishmaniasis A vaccine is now available against this serious disease. It is recommended if your travel is to areas where this disease is common i.e. around the mediterranean and in the Pyrenees. Please discuss this with a vet if you think it may be relevant. One in four dogs in some areas of the Pyrenees suffer from this debilitating disease. Treatment is often ineffective and it is costly.

Frequent travellers If you are fortunate enough to have a second home abroad or travel regularly to the same area we recommend that you contact a veterinary surgeon in that area for specific advice on preventive measures.