E.U. Policies for Traveling with Pets

Dog owners must follow the below steps in order to travel with pets into the U.K.

If entering the U.K. from the EU or listed, non-EU countries

  1. Pets must be microchipped. This can be done by anyone trained in the U.K. with practical experience before December 29th, 2014. If the pet is already chipped, owners should visit the vet to see if it can be read. Pets do not need to be chipped if they have been tattooed on or before July 3rd, 2011, the tattoo is legible, and the pet was vaccinated against rabies after the tattoo.

  2. After being chipped, pets must have the rabies vaccination even if they have already had it. Pets must be over 12 weeks old before the vaccination, and owners must wait 21 days after the vaccination date before they can re-enter the U.K. with their pet. However, there is no waiting period for subsequent entries into the U.K. if the rabies boosters are kept up to date and the date of the vaccination is before the date on the passport. There are various changes to the Rabisin vaccination, which are listed below:

    • · Pets will have to have an injection from 12 weeks old, a booster injection after one year, and injections at intervals of up to three years if they have never had a rabies vaccination before or it is overdue.
    • · If a pet has had Rabisin under the old program, which is every two years, they can have the planned Rabisin dose and then re-vaccinate every three years.
  3. All pets must have travel documentation. No old pet passports are allowed to be issued after December 28th, 2014. However, new pet passports are available, which have added security features. Nevertheless, any passport issued before December 29th, 2014 can still be used for the lifetime of the pet or until the treatment spaces are filled.

  4. Dogs must see a vet one to five days before their arrival back into the U.K. for a tapeworm treatment. The day of the vaccination does not count as the first day. The U.K. does not have a type of tapeworm called Echinococcus that can infect humans by causing liver disease, meaning vets will give pets a wormer to treat for tapeworms. There is no requirement for a tick treatment.

  5. Pets must travel on an authorised route with an approved transport company. However, those traveling from Ireland do not have to use an approved transport company. Owners cannot bring a pet from outside the U.K. into the U.K. on a private plane or boat. They are told to check the routes before they travel as they can change.

If owners have any additional questions regarding traveling with their pet in the E.U. and listed, non-EU countries, they should call the Pet Travel Helpline on 03702411710. It is also worth contacting the embassy of the appropriate country they are traveling and from as there may be further documentation needed or additional requirements.

Listed, non-EU countries are the following: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, BES Islands (Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba), Bosnia-Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Saint Maarten, Singapore, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Taiwan, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States of America (includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna. All other countries are unlisted countries.

If entering the U.K. from unlisted, non-EU countries

  1. Pets must be microchipped. This can be done by anyone trained in the U.K. with practical experience before December 29th, 2014. If the pet is already chipped, owners should visit the vet to see if it can be read. Pets do not need to be chipped if they have been tattooed on or before July 3rd, 2011, the tattoo is legible, and the pet was vaccinated against rabies after the tattoo.

  2. Pets must have a rabies vaccination, be at least 12 weeks old, and be fitted for a microchip. If they have had a current rabies vaccination, the rabies boosters must be kept up to date and be before the date in the passport.

  3. Owners need to organize a blood test for their pet 30 days after the rabies vaccination. A blood sample must be taken to show the pet has a satisfactory level of protection against rabies. From the date of the blood test, the waiting period is typically three calendar months before allowing entry into the U.K.

  4. Owners must make sure they have the correct travel documentation. Pets must have an official third country veterinary certificate.

  5. Dogs must see a vet one to five days before their arrival back into the U.K. for a tapeworm treatment. The day of the vaccination does not count as the first day. The U.K. does not have a type of tapeworm called Echinococcus that can infect humans by causing liver disease, meaning vets will give pets a wormer to treat for tapeworms. There is no requirement for a tick treatment.

  6. Pets must travel on an authorised route with an approved transport company. However, those traveling from Ireland do not have to use an approved transport company. Owners cannot bring a pet from outside the U.K. into the U.K. on a private plane or boat. They are told to check the routes before they travel as they can change.

  7. Owners must contact the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Divisional Office in their area to make sure there are no additional requirement for traveling to specific non-E.U. countries from the U.K.

Pet Travel Preventative Health Care

There are many diseases that pets will have not come into contact with before and are therefore highly susceptible to, so preventative measures are needed. Owners are recommended to speak to a vet at least a month before traveling to discuss the measures that should be taken. Common diseases that pets are susceptible to are shown below.

  1. Babesiosis: This disease is spread by ticks and is common in central and southern Europe. It is spread when the tick feeds because its saliva is injected into the host, along with the Babesia organisms, that then invade and continue to multiply in the pet’s red blood cells. Symptoms include fever, weakness, anaemia, jaundice, weight loss, loss of appetite, red or dark brown urine, and lethargy. Without treatment, death can occur.

  2. Ehrlichiosis: This disease is common in Southern Europe. The symptoms include depression, swollen glands, fever, and bleeding from orifices. Less common symptoms are vomiting, lameness, nasal discharge, and severe inflammatory changes in the eyes. Chronic infections may progress into more severe cases such as chronic debility, arthritis, weight loss, and neurological diseases.

  3. Heartworm: This disease is spread by mosquitos, and it can take time to know it is there since it appears over several months or years, depending on the severity. Symptoms of this disease include weight loss, tiredness during exercise, coughing, and in extreme cases, right-sided heart failure or sudden death. Once the dog is infected, successful treatment can be difficult, and it may cause other side effects.

  4. Hepatozoonosis: This disease is common in countries that have warmer climates. It is caused by swallowing infected ticks, and many dogs do not show any symptoms. Testing a blood sample can be a way to diagnose the disease, and treatment is very difficult.

  5. Leishmaniasis: This disease is spread by sandflies and is a protazoan parasite. Symptoms include eye, kidney, and liver disease, dermatitis, weight loss, and skin infection. If it goes untreated, it can be fatal, and pets can be permanently infected. Owners should be aware that the symptoms can develop a few months to years after being abroad. The disease can be diagnosed by testing the pet’s tissue or blood samples.

Additional Policies

Guide and Assistance Dogs

The only guide and assitance dogs that the U.K. recognises are those that are members of the International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.

Before Traveling

Before traveling, owners must check with the transport company and make sure they accept their pet. They also need to check how many pets they accept and if they need any proof of the pet’s eligibility to travel.

Entering the U.K. from Outside the E.U.

The pet must clear customs before collection. An airline or travel company will do this for a fee.