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These days more people are travelling with their pets rather than leaving them in kennels or at home. The introduction of pet passports has made this much easier when visiting EU member states and certain other countries, but it is still a complicated procedure, and one that catches a lot of people out. If the requirements are not met it will result the quarantine of your pet for several months, and lots more expense for you. If you are taking your dog abroad PLEASE CHECK what your destination requires as some non-EU countries requirements are very complicated and take several months and tests.

What you need to do and when:

This can be performed at any time, but must be done before vaccination against rabies virus.

Rabies vaccination:
Rabies vaccination is essential to protect your pet and the rest of the country from the threat of rabies infection. It must be done after micro-chipping and cannot be performed in animals under 3 months of age. Before your pet can ENTER any EU country (including the UK) they must wait 21 days following rabies vaccination. A waiting period is not required for subsequent entries, provided that 3-yearly rabies boosters are performed. If the vaccination is in two parts the 21 day wait will be from the date of the second vaccination.

Blood test (no longer compulsory for animals travelling in the EU):
This is to check that the level of antibodies in the animal's blood is adequate to provide protection against rabies infection. The blood test is done at least 28 days after the date of vaccination. The results can take up to a couple of weeks to be returned. This is no longer compulsory but strongly recommended.

The passport:
This will be issued once all the above has been done. It can only be stamped and authorised by an Official Veterinarian.

On the way home:
You must ensure that your dog (not required for cats) is treated for tapeworms between 24 and 120 hours before your return to the UK. This must be confirmed on the passport by an Official Veterinarian of the country you are visiting. If the trip is very short this may mean you need to treat before you leave the UK.
Treatment against ticks is also advised at this time but is no longer compulsory.
You must make sure your pet enters the UK by an approved transport company on an authourised route.

  • If your pets microchip fails at any point, they will have to be microchipped again.
  • If your microchip is not of a type that can be read by any reader in the EU you will need to supply your own reader when abroad
  • If you miss your Rabies booster date (by even 1 day) you will require revaccination and the 21 day waiting period.
  • Up to date information is available on the DEFRA WEBSITE