Pet Passports

More and more of our household pets now join in with the family holiday, frequently travelling abroad with us. But even though restrictions on travelling with pets have relaxed over the past couple of years, planning your trip carefully is essential.

As well as organising the logistics of travelling with your pet, following the rules on pet passports is essential – otherwise, you could find yourself not being allowed to bring them home.

The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) is run by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Changes to the Scheme came into effect on 1st January 2012 to bring the UK’s rabies rules in line with the rest of Europe.


Previously, pets needed a blood test followed by a six-month wait before (re-)entry into the UK from an EU or ‘listed’ non-EU country. This is now no longer required. Great news if your pet dog, cat or ferret (the pets included in the scheme) likes to holiday with you!

Don’t forget though, that there are still several important conditions that your pet must meet before travelling abroad:

  • they must have a registered microchip
  • they must be vaccinated against rabies
  • they must have waited 21 days after vaccination before entering the UK
  • all dogs must be treated against tapeworm infection 1-5 days before you’re scheduled to arrive in the UK

Also, any pets entering the UK from a non-listed third country must pass a blood test 30 days after vaccination, followed by a three-month wait before they are allowed into the UK. You can see if a country is listed or not on DEFRA’s website

Any pet that fails to meet any of these conditions will have to go into quarantine once they return to the UK – so it’s vital you comply with them all.

And remember, as well as rabies, pets are also likely to be exposed to a number of other diseases not currently present in the UK. This means it’s always advisable to involve your vet in the decision on how and where you travel, and what to look out for when you return.

Useful links

Kennel Club Guide to PETS


Web site

PETS helpline on 0870 241 1710

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