Pet Passport Advice

PETS is a scheme which has been created in which animals can travel more freely between overseas countries. Provided that animals entering the scheme have fulfilled certain criteria and conditions, there is no need to place the animal in quarantine conditions upon returning to the United Kingdom.  This means that it is now possible to take your pet on holiday and make traveling easier. It is strict because at the moment the UK is lucky to be “free” of certain diseases and parasites and we would like it to stay that way!

Countries have different regulations which can change regulary and it is your responsibility to check these regulations before you travel.

Further Advice

Common Questions

Can any animal go onto the PETS?

Unfortunately not. It is only dogs and cats and ferrets, and care must be taken to respect each countries specific laws with regards certain breeds of dogs. For example you are not able to bring the following dogs into the United Kingdom under any circumstances: the Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Braziliero. You should always check that your pet will be accepted in any country that you are visiting or travelling through – for example Germany is very strict about muzzling certain types of dog (English Bull Terrier for example) if they are out in public areas.

What do I have to do to qualify for PETS?

The following have to be carried out in order to qualify for PETS:

Microchipping – your dog or cat has to be permanently identified with a microchip inserted under the skin (see our Microchipping advice section for more information). This is the only tamper proof method of uniquely identifying your animals. Ear tattoos can be altered or changed and so are not acceptable. Microchips should conform to specific standard and so can be read by a universal reader. If your animal is chipped with a non-standard microchip, it is your responsibility to supply a specific reader.
Rabies Vaccination – your dog or cat will have to be vaccinated against rabies. Vaccination can take place at any age from 3 months old onwards. Normally the initial course is just a single injection, but often in younger animals it may be necessary to perform two starting injections. The rabies vaccination is just an injection under the skin (like the normal annual vaccination) but will require a separate vaccination certificate and proof that the animal is microchipped. Your vet will supply the vaccine and the certificates. Once vaccinated against rabies, in order to continue to be eligible for PETS, you will have to have a booster vaccine BEFORE the current certificate expires (this is usually within 1-3 years, depending on the type of vaccine used). 21 days must elapse following the vaccination before travelling
Pet Passport Document, completed by a vet – a certificate (“Pet Passport”) can be issued by a veterinary surgeon appointed by the government (called a Local Veterinary Inspector or LVI).
Blood Test (optional) – after rabies vaccination, the animal can have a blood test to prove that he or she has responded to the vaccine suitably and is fully protected. This takes place at least 30 days after the initial vaccine has been given. The blood sample is taken by the vet.

Once the 21 days have elapsed, how am I then able to bring my animal back to the UK?

Once you have your pet passport and the 21 days have elapsed you are nearly ready to bring your pet back into the United Kingdom. As certain overseas countries have certain parasites that we don’t have in the United Kingdom, you are required to get the animals treated for these and get a certificate of treatment (a page in the passport), before you enter back into Britain.

This is often the part that causes most people problems as you are having to make arrangements with a vet in a foreign country in advance. It is highly recommended that you are familiar with the requirements explained below so that there can be no room for error.

Between 24 hours and 5 days before you check-in for your journey back to the UK, your pet must be treated against tapeworms (echinococcos) with a wormer (containing the active ingredient praziquantel) and your pets passport be filled in and signed in the appropriate location. You must not administer the treatment yourself. The treatment must be carried out every time your pet prepares to enter back into the UK. (Please note, some non-member or approved member countries will issue an official veterinary certificate, and will not write in the pets passport)

When you arrive at the check in point, if less than 24 hours has passed since the treatment, you will have to wait until the full 24 hours has passed before you can check in with your pet. If the treatment was done more than 5 days before you check in, you will have to have your pet treated again, get another official certificate, and wait at least 24 hours before checking in.

Pets being taken abroad for short trips may need to have the treatment carried out in the UK to comply with the timing requirement.

Where can I get further information?

Common Questions About Pet Passports

The DEFRA website is very useful and should be read thoroughly before considering taking out a pet passport. There are also useful links to the French Yellow Pages which will help you find a vet able to treat your pet before returning to the UK.

Please be aware that there are often a lot of subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences in the requirements for animals travelling to/from certain countries. Our advise to people using the PETS scheme is:

Plan well ahead. Remember that it will take a minimum of 21 days from the start of the process to being allowed to bring the animal back into the UK.
Plan your journey – remember you will have to consider countries that you pass through as well as stay in.
Be aware of the legislation – especially with regards treatment for the parasites.
If you are aware of what is required, then there are less likely to be slip-ups when in a foreign country.