An Introduction to the Pet Travel Scheme

Quarantine has for many years been the UK’s only strategy for maintaining this country’s rabies free status. However with modern vaccines and technology the PET PASSPORT scheme has been designed to allow your animal to travel abroad and return home without the need for quarantine. The scheme does not apply to all countries, but does include all EU member states and a range of other countries. The full list can be obtained from the DEFRA website.


Please note that the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) rules have changed in January 2012. To find out more about the changes and how they may affect you and your pets please visit the following website to access the relevant DEFRA pages;


The key changes travelling within the EU are as follows:


  • A rabies blood test is no longer needed after a rabies vaccination.
  • Pets can travel to EU countries and return to the UK from EU countries 3 weeks after a rabies vaccination.
  • The mandatory requirement to treat for ticks before entry to the UK has been withdrawn.
  • The mandatory requirement to treat for tapeworms before entry to the UK is still in place but will apply to dogs only. Not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before its scheduled arrival time in the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme, your dog must be treated against tapeworm and the treatment recorded in the EU pet passport or the third country official veterinary certificate.



The following stages need to be adhered to:

  • Each pet must be identichipped before;
  • Rabies vaccination is given then;
  • A passport is issued along with advice on parasite control.


PLEASE NOTE: The rules for pets travelling to and from countries outside the EU are different and vary from country to country.We would advise all clients to check the rules with DEFRA before travelling abroad (even if only going to the EU!). The DEFRA Pet Travel Scheme helpline number is 0870 241 1710.



Period of Validity

For LEAVING the UK, your passport is valid:


  1. From 21 days after the date of the initial rabies vaccination for MOST participating countries. (See section IV in the passport).
  2. Until the rabies vaccination is due, currently 3 years depending on which vaccine is used. (See section IV in the passport).

For RETURNING to the UK, your passport is valid:


  1. From 21 days after the date of the rabies vaccination.
  2. Until the rabies vaccination booster is due. (See section IV in the passport).



Other Requirements



  • Only certain routes into and out of the UK are equipped to deal with animals travelling under the PET scheme. YOU MUST USE AN APPROPRIATELY APPROVED ROUTE. Please check in advance.
  • Some participating countries may have additional requirements which may need to be met before allowing your pet entry, (e.g. Sweden is currently asking for tick and tapeworm treatment within 10 days of travel). We strongly recommend that you check these requirements for all countries you may be visiting.
  • Some carriers may require a health check and certification prior to travel so please check when you make your reservation.
  • These requirements will be discussed during your visits, so do not feel overwhelmed at this stage!




Further information on the Pet Travel Scheme is available from:

The PETS Helpline on (+44) 0870 2411710 (open 8.30 am to 5pm Monday to Friday).


Or from the DEFRA website


Or you can also e-mail the Helpline:





There are more and more cases of infectious diseases in animals returning to Britain and advice should be sort on any health risks endemic in the areas you may be planning to visit.


We strongly recommend protecting against TICKS, SANDFLIES, MOSQUITOES and FLEAS which can spread many blood borne diseases that are difficult or even impossible to treat effectively. We also recommend covering against ROUNDWORMS and TAPEWORMS (treatment for the latter remaining a requirement before returning to the UK). Please contact the surgery to discuss a disease prevention plan for when you take your animal abroad.


These notes reflect the current regulations, but there have been significant changes in the past, and it is always worthwhile checking the up-to-date regulations on the DEFRA website. 


And Finally.......

Travel Leaflet
A useful leaflet to download is available here.
Taking your pets abroad with 2012 regula[...]
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