Suncream? Check. Flipflops? Check. Passport for you and Fido? Check.
That’s right. If you plan on taking your beloved companion to an EU destination of choice, then you need to make sure you’ve got yours and their documentation sorted.
Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward in order to do so and the processes required to be able to take your pet away with you have changed dramatically in recent years. Keeping your pets in quarantine (and therefore, in misery) for extended periods of time is now a thing of the past. Provided you comply with the Pet Travel Scheme; PETS (easy to remember right), you can now take your chum abroad with you.
This handy guide is here to show you what you need to do so that you can stroll hand in hand with your pal onto that plane. Well, nearly…
First of all, it’s important to fully establish what is meant by the term ‘Pet Passport’.
A pet passport lists all the different treatments your pet has had. It’s essentially a document certifying an animal’s identity, health, and vaccination status, enabling it to be taken to and from certain countries without the need for a period of quarantine. No need for isolation, you cry? Wahey!
The first thing to bear in mind is the fact that you must follow the rules of whichever country you plan on travelling to. There are slightly different rules when travelling to Non-EU countries. Check out the official line from: https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/
Your dog, cat or ferret MUST have a pet passport or third country veterinary certificate if travelling from outside the EU, to enter (or indeed re-enter) the UK. This must be the original document and not a photocopy. The passport will stay valid for as long as you continue to meet the entry requirements.
So. How do I go about getting a passport for my pal?
The criteria for the PETS scheme does vary depending on which country you’re jetting off to but includes the following:
– Fitting your pet with a microchip for identification purposes
– Rabies vaccination
– Getting your pet a blood test
– Necessary treatment for tapeworm and ticks
– Pet Insurance which covers your companion for overseas (to cover any potential vet expenses or lost passport whilst in a different country)
– Official certification/signature of residency to prove that the above has been completed
A key thing to remember here though is that your pet needs to reach the minimum age of 3 months before they can obtain the rabies vaccination but hey, what’s 3 months of waiting compared to 3 weeks of holiday time with your pup, eh.
How much will all this cost?
Overall, it shouldn’t cost you more than £200 to get all of the above in order. You may want to check the airline regulations however, as some will charge you an additional fee to have your pet on board. This could also vary depending on the weight of your animal; so it could cost a little more for Fido to join you over Fluffy and for Fluffy over Fidget… you get the picture!
When should I get this all sorted by?
Your dog can travel 21 days after they have had their rabies vaccination, so make sure you plan in advance. Keep in mind that pet passports can also take some time to come through, so don’t leave things too late. Your dog will also need to be given worming tablets by a vet abroad between 1 and 5 days before they return.
Now, onto the journey…
For all of the issues that can present themselves to you (as a human) when travelling, as a pet owner, you will no doubt be worrying about the potential distress your friend might also go through during the journey so it’s important to do all you can to ensure they are as comfortable and relaxed as possible for the ride!
You will also need to make sure you enter or re-enter the UK on a route that has been approved by PETS. You can get detailed information on this at www.defra.gov.uk.
DEFRA also contains lots of helpful advice on listed and unlisted countries, how many pets you can take at one time and other crucial documents to bear in mind when travelling with your pet.
If you are flying to your destination, it’s a good idea to make sure your pets container is large enough that they have room to move about freely, particularly if it’s a long haul flight. They might have a favourite toy or something of a familiar nature that will help to ease their anxiety, so you can also pop that in their temporary home!
If your pet will be accompanying you on a drive, then same rules apply as above for their container, although your dog doesn’t necessarily need to be in one. It’s whatever makes them feel the most comfortable.
As you will be driving, then you can ensure regular breaks are made so your chum can enjoy a bit of exercise. Remember to also take plenty of food and water with you!
For a lot of pet owners, your pet is your child, so in this respect make sure they’ve been fed and watered and have also been to the toilet before the journey. If they have a known problem with travel-related anxiety, you can also visit the vet before you go away to get some advice or even obtain some stress relief products to calm Fluffy down.
What about when we arrive?
As you would do yourself, take a minute to get your pal used to their new surroundings and have a good old nose around. Time is of the utmost importance here. Once your friend is all settled in, then you can focus on enjoying your time together, which is what it’s all about!
Heading back home
As long as they meet the requirements of the PETS scheme, travelling back won’t be an issue as all pet dogs, cats and ferrets can re-enter the UK without the need for quarantining. Just remember that every country will have their own rules and be sure to make yourself aware of this for the sake of your pal.
Post Brexit, the future of the pet passport remains unclear, as it is still very early stages, however it is likely that some form of pet passport will remain, as this makes it easier to control the movement of pets between countries. For further information on any potential changes as it stands, check out: http://petsci.co.uk/advice/brexit-pet-owners/