Our HouseSitMatch Veterinary consultant Dr Matthew Bayliss BVSc MRCVS helps us to understand current advice for pet travel from and into the UK. Let’s face it, even through we may prefer to have housesitters pet-sitting in our home taking care of our pets while we are away, sometimes you just have to take your pets with you! And with so many options available to us these days regarding forms of travel, holiday destinations and pet travel requirements it is really useful to understand the very latest professional recommendations.
Read on for Dr Bayliss’ top tips for travelling with a pet.
Pet travel – 3 Top Tips
Are you and your pet off on holiday? Do you know what you need to do before you finally lock the house and head for your holidays? Here are some top tips on pet travel?
Travelling with a pet can be stressful and prone to pitfalls; but if you and your vet work together, you can (hopefully) ensure a worry-free journey!
Rules and regulations of pet travel
The first thing you need to find out is what the regulations and requirements are for where you’re going – as they can be different for each country. You also need to ensure you follow the regulations for each country you and your pet will be travelling through to your final destination. People often forget that we can cross many borders to get to our final destination. This will be even more important following the Brexit decision and the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The DEFRA website has information for you and your pet for entering or re-entering the UK, and an internet search will help you find the requirements out for each individual country. Don’t forget – it’s the pet owner’s responsibility to ensure they have all the necessary paperwork for travel.
After you know where you’re going, and how to get in with your pet, your pet will need a passport. Pet passports can be issued to dogs, cats, and ferrets.
Pet travel passport procedures have recently changed, and follow the same basic plan for pet travel:
- Your pet needs a microchip if they’ve not already got one – this is a simple procedure that is usually over quickly.
- They will need a vaccination for rabies, which must be signed off by an Official Veterinarian.
- Your pet can travel 21 days after the date of vaccination – with the vaccine given on day zero
- Your pet can enter the UK from an EU or listed country (list available from DEFRA) 21 days after the date of vaccination
- Entering from an unlisted country, to enable pet travel, your pet must have a rabies blood test 30 days after vaccination, and then may re-enter the UK 3 months after the date of the blood test
- Different countries have different rabies booster requirements – make sure you know what your pet needs!
- When entering the UK, your pet will need a tapeworm treatment signed off by a vet. This treatment must be given no less than 24 and no more than 120 hours (1-5 days) before entry; so if you and your pet are taking a day trip abroad, they will need their treatment before they leave. They should have another treatment 4 weeks after getting back too.
If in doubt, speak to your vet; just make sure you have all the required documents, and spoken to the relevant authorities, for your pet’s holiday or any kind of pet travel.
Different countries, both listed and unlisted, have different requirements for entry, that may include different vaccinations, blood tests, parasite treatments and set timings in which things need to be done; so it’s important that you have these details before making the appointment with your vet.
Once all that’s over and done with, you and your pet can get on the road (or rail, or plane, or boat…). If you’re worried about travel sickness or anxiety during the journey, just speak to your vet, there may be pheromones, complementary feeds, or medications that your pet can use. This might be especially pertinent for long haul flights, where your pet might be in the hold for hours.
Finally, companies that specialise in transporting pets, along with some airlines, can be really helpful in getting things sorted for your journey; and they can point you in the direction of the relevant documentation too. Be sure to ask.
Dr Matthew Bayliss BVSc MRCVS