The PETS travel scheme allows domestic dogs and cats to accompany their owners abroad to certain countries and return to the UK without undergoing quarantine. The qualifying countries include member states of the EEC, USA and Canada. This means you can now go on holiday with your pet as long as you fulfil the conditions of the scheme.
The PETS scheme requires a large number of conditions to be met and you should research them well. All the latest information is available on the DEFRA website www.defra.gov.uk/pets or call their hotline on 03702411710. You should always check the rules with DEFRA before travelling even if you are only going to the EU as they vary widely from country to country.
From the 1st January 2012 the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) rules changed.
Here are the main conditions of the scheme:
- Your pet must have a permanent microchip implanted before they are given their rabies vaccination.
- They must be vaccinated against rabies but not before they are 3 calendar months old. Boosters are then required and MUST be kept up to date as lapses can mean restarting the pet passport again.
- A pet passport will be signed and issued to you by an OV (Official Veterinarian).
- A rabies blood test is no longer needed after a rabies vaccination although if requested we can still perform a blood test at an additional cost to check your pets rabies antibody titre level.
- Pets can travel to EU countries and return to the UK from EU countries 3 weeks after a rabies vaccination.
- The mandatory requirement to treat for ticks before entry to the UK has been withdrawn.
- The mandatory requirement to treat for tapeworms before entry to the UK is still in place but will apply to dogs only. Not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before their scheduled arrival time in the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme, your dog must be treated against tapeworm and the treatment recorded in the EU pet passport.
Veterinary surgeons are very concerned that the changes to the PETS rules, specifically the removal of mandatory tick treatment, could lead to an increase in parasites and vector-borne parasitic disease in pets in the UK. To check which parasites your pet may be exposed to, log on to ESCCAP UK website and under the ‘Travelling Pets’ section you will find European parasite distribution maps. These maps are designed to help inform you of the parasitic threats present in different countries so that appropriate preventative measures can be put in place to protect your pet. Some of these diseases for example Leishmaniasis, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis can be fatal.
There are vaccines available which offer dog owners the opportunity for a new level of protection against canine Leishmaniosis and Lyme Disease. A course of vaccines are required along with an annual booster. If you are interested in learning more about the vaccines please speak to your veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse.
We offer FREE Travel Clinic appointments to help you plan the appropriate disease prevention measures and also check your pet’s microchip to confirm it is still active. Remember to prepare well in advance as some parasite prevention products need to be applied well before any possible exposure to parasites. Please contact your local branch for an appointment.
Please contact DEFRA or your local branch of Cinque Ports Vets for more information on pet travel.