All pet dogs, cats and ferrets 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. The vast majority of passports issued are for travel to the EU. There are no requirements currently for pets travelling between the UK and either the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Rules regarding countries and territories are subject to change so we would strongly advise you check the latest information with DEFRA before you travel.
Travel to the EU
Step 1 – The animal has to be microchipped
Step 2 – The animal has to be vaccinated against rabies. There is a compulsory waiting period of 21 days after the vaccination before return to the UK is permitted. The date on which the vaccination was carried out is counted as day 0. The Rabies vaccination lasts for 3 years. If a booster vaccination is given before the expiry date in the passport there are no further waiting periods with subsequent vaccinations. Rabies vaccinations can only be administered when the animal is 3 months of age or older. It is safe for use in pregnant bitches.
Step 3 – The animal must have a passport. This is an official document detailing the animal’s identity, vaccination record and tapeworm treatments.
Step 4 – (Dogs only) Before entry to the UK all dogs must be treated by a vet for tapeworm. This has to occur not less than 24hrs and not more than 120 hrs before its scheduled arrival. There is no longer a mandatory requirement for tick treatment. This effectively means that if you are travelling to Europe for less than 5 days the dog can be treated for tapeworm before you leave.
Keeping your dog healthy on holiday
There are four main diseases of concern present in Europe which can infect travelling pets. These are Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis (tick transmitted), heart worm and Leishmaniasis. We would strongly advise prophylactic tick treatment even though it is no longer a requirement of the scheme. Heartworm is endemic in many areas of southern Europe. It is transmitted by mosquitoes. There are some excellent prevention treatments for heartworm disease available. Leishmaniasis is transmitted by sand flies and consequently the chance of infection can be reduced by using fly repellents if you are travelling to an infected area.