Travelling With Pets - Pleasure or Nightmare?
Some preparation and a few precautions can make all the difference and it is best to plan any travel well in advance and if travelling abroad 8 months before your intended travel date.
Travelling in the UK
If travelling with a cat and the journey will take several hours, ensure you choose a carrier that will be large enough to include a small litter tray. When you stop, remember offer a small amount of water.
If travelling with a dog, ensure that you take your dog to designated dog walking areas and ensure you have an adequate quantity of water but do not offer food until you have arrived at your destination.
There are more and more establishments that are pet friendly. Two websites we can recommend are www.dogfriendlybritain.co.uk and www.doggiepubs.org.uk, however there are many more sites that can help you choose the right accommodation for you and your pet and we mustn't forget most camp sites will be happy to accommodate your pet.
Before travelling It is important that you book your trip with one of the many PETS-approved carriers, on a PETS-approved route. There is only a limited amount of space and it is allocated on a first come first served basis. You must book in advance as your pet will not be allowed to travel without a prior booking. A list of recognised carriers can be found on the DEFRA website www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/quarantine/pets
At least 8 months before you travel...
- Have your pet microchipped by your vet
- Have your pet vaccinated against rabies
At least 6 months before you travel...
Following vaccination you must then wait up to 30 days, after which your vet must blood test your pet to check it is now immune to rabies. The waiting time for results can be anything from 1 to 4 months. If the results are successful, an EU pet passport will be issued by your vet. Your pet will only be allowed to return to the UK six months after the date the blood sample (which led to a successful test result) was taken.
Travelling to most EU countries will not require any additional certification. However, non EU countries may demand an export health certificate. If you are travelling to a non EU country you should contact your local Animal Health Office in the UK (listed on the DEFRA website). They will send the certificate to your vet 10 working days before the date you intend to leave the UK. You must check whether your animal can meet the export health conditions which apply
The week before you travel...
Around this time it's wise to find a vet at the port or airport from which you will be returning to the UK, able to provide the necessary parasite treatment .
If you require an Export Health Certificate, you must now visit your vet to obtain it . If your pet is sufficiently healthy and your pet complies with the conditions applicable, the vet will sign the certificate and hand it to you.
Please remember to take with you all important documentation including pet passport, Export Health Certificate and vaccination certificates
Before returning to the UK
24-48 hours before your return to the UK... The tick and official tapeworm treatment can be administered (and certified in your passport) in any of the PETS qualifying countries. This treatment should be carried out 24-48 hours prior to embarkation. Your pet's passport will need to be certified to confirm this has been carried out. Before boarding a ferry or entering the Eurotunnel, you will be required to show your pet passport which includes certification of the parasite treatment and successful rabies vaccination (unless travelling by air when these checks will be carried out at the airport of arrival).