A guide to Pet Passports
With the right preparation, it can be great fun to take your pet on holiday with you – even if you're venturing abroad. For a start, you won't have to spend your entire trip worrying that they're pining for you in unfamiliar boarding kennels or catteries.
If you've never taken your dog, cat or ferret abroad before, however, you do need to get prepared properly for the trip, and this includes getting a Pet Passport, which is provided under the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) pet travel scheme ('PETS').
General travel rules
Once you have a Pet Passport, you can move your cats, dogs or ferrets freely between participating countries. This means you can take your pet on holiday to other EU countries and then return home to the UK without needing to place them in quarantine for several months.
And since 1st January 2012, when the UK brought its procedures into line with the European Union, all dogs, cats and ferrets can now enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine – as long as they meet the rules of the scheme. These rules vary depending on the country or territory the pet is coming from, however – and DEFRA's advice is to avoid delay and find out the rules for your chosen country in plenty of time before you travel!
Preparing your pet for travel in the EU
If you're off on holiday with your pet, the chances are you're probably visiting another EU country. Under the EU pet movement system, all pet dogs, cats and ferrets moving between EU Member States must meet the same animal health rules. They should be:
- first - microchipped;
- second - vaccinated against rabies;
- third – given a blood test to ensure the vaccination is effective; and
- fourth – be accompanied by a Pet Passport. This contains information that is specific to your pet – including its microchip number, vaccination record, and the blood test results confirming that the vaccination is effective.
Further information This article only contains a brief summary of the rules, so you also will need to do some of your own research at www.defra.gov.uk/pets to find out more. You can also call the PETS helpline on 0870 241 1710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally – check whether your pet insurance offers cover abroad Before you travel, check your pet insurance policy documents to find out whether you're covered while you're abroad. Many policies exclude treatment abroad, even in emergencies.