Taking your pet abroad: what you need to know

Suncream, guide book, ferry tickets, passport, book cattery…. As soon as I see a list of holiday essentials I start to get excited about exploring somewhere new, trying new foods and hopefully seeing some sunshine! I’m sure many of you will know that experience of feeling just a little bit guilty when you leave your loving pet in someone else’s care while you’re away on holiday. The reason we love our pets so much is because they are part of the family and for many people, holidays are the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with their family. 

But your pet doesn’t have to miss out! Did you know that you can now take your pet abroad with you to EU countries with their own passport under the Pet Travel Scheme [link to www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview]? This takes about 12 weeks to organise so please make sure you speak to us as soon as you can. Dogs, cats and even ferrets can all travel with you provided they are microchipped, have a valid pet passport and the correct vaccinations. 
The microchip does the same job as the photo in our human passports, making sure that there is a unique identifier that links the dog to the passport. There is also an option for you to add a photo too, although we don’t recommend trying to get your pet to sit on the stool in a photo booth! Microchipping will soon be compulsory for all dogs over 8 weeks old in the UK and you can read all about the other benefits of microchipping in Alice’s blog post.

We are very fortunate that we have high standards of animal health here in the UK, and that the country has been declared rabies-free since 1922. By law, to allow your pet to travel abroad they will need a rabies vaccination given at least 21 days before you travel. However, for your peace of mind I recommend two rabies vaccinations 30 days apart followed by a blood test to confirm that your pet has immunity to this deadly disease.  In other countries there is also a type of tapeworm called Echinococcus which is not found in the UK. Again, the law says that you will need to treat your pet and this needs to be done before you return to the UK. This means that a vet needs to give your pet a wormer while you are still on holiday between 1 and 5 days before travel home. This is to protect your pet and to eliminate the risk of this worm coming into the country.

Although not required by law, I recommend that you protect your pets against ticks wherever you travel, and for certain areas protection against sandflies may also be needed. The reason I recommend this protection is because both ticks and sandflies can transmit nasty, but easily avoided, diseases. 

At the Aran Vet Clinic, all the vets have the necessary qualifications to organise and issue pet passports and this can be done at a time to suit you.