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Planning to take your pet on holiday outside of the UK? You’ll need a pet passport

What’s a pet passport?

It’s a small blue book (similar to your own passport), which contains information such as your pet’s microchip number, vaccinations, blood tests, and tick and worm treatment given. You don’t have to include a photo, although there is a space for you to add one if you wish.

The passport doesn’t expire, you just need to have regular rabies vaccinations to keep it valid (usually every three years).
How to get a pet passport:

Your pet needs to be:
  • Your pet must be at least 3 months of age
  • Your pet must have a working microchip
  • Your pet must have a licensed Rabies Vaccination
Make an appointment to see a vet and we’ll help you get started.
You also need to be aware that:

It is requirement for your pet(s) to be given a tapeworm treatment from a registered vet (within the country you’re visiting) between 24 and 120 hours before you re-enter the UK. This needs to be certified within the pet passport.


We also recommend that you have your pets treated for ticks before traveling abroad; talk to us about this when you get your passport.
Diseases your pet may be at risk whilst abroad
  • Rabies – Rabies is a virus which targets the nervous system. It can be potentially fatal and can be transmitted to humans. It is transmitted between animals and therefore is compulsory to have your pet vaccinated. There is currently no cure for Rabies and no test to confirm the disease. You can prevent your pet contracting the disease by vaccination as well as keeping your pet away from other dogs and wildlife in high risk areas. The UK has officially been rabies-free since 1922. Compulsory rabies vaccination to help ensure that the UK remains free and also that animals are protected.
  • Leishmaniasis – Leishmaniasis is a microscopic parasite which targets multiple organs of the body including the skin. It is transmitted by flies and can be transmitted to humans and can be potentially fatal. The infection may take many months or years to become noticeable. Leishmaniasis can be diagnosed via a blood test; the condition can be difficult to treat and often incurable. To prevent this parasite, keep your pet indoors well before sunset and well after sunrise and you may condition using a fly repellent.
  • Babesiosis – Babesiosis is a microscopic parasite which targets red blood cells and is transmitted by ticks. This parasite can be fatal in some cases. Symptoms may include weakness and tiredness. In severe cases, the pet’s urine may become dark and gums may appear yellow in colour. This parasite can be tested for via a blood test. Current treatment is not readily available in the UK and in severe cases animals may require a blood transfusion.
  • Enrlichiosis – Enrlichiosis is a type of bacteria which targets the blood and is transmitted by ticks. The symptoms can include fever, depression, swollen glands and your pet may bleed easily when they have a minor wound. Swellings on the animal’s body may appear and in long term cases neurological issues may occur. Enrlichiosis can be diagnosed by a blood test and can be treated with antimicrobials however severe cases can be difficult to treat. To prevent your pet from Enrlichiosis, it is advisable to use a preventative tick product whilst on holiday and it is recommended to treat your pet for ticks before returning to the UK.
  • Hepatozoonosis– Hepatozoonosis is a microscopic parasite which targets various internal organs in the body. It is transmitted to dogs by ticks which are swallowed when grooming. This parasite rarely causes disease on its own however if the animal suffers from another disease, the parasite will depress the immune system. Hepatozoonosis can be diagnosed via a blood test however it is a difficult condition to treat and may require drugs that are not readily available in the UK. Therefore it is advisable to use preventive tick products whilst on holiday and it is recommended to treat your pet before returning to the UK.
  • Heartworm – Heartworm is a larval worm which develops and lives in the heart and lungs. The worm can take around 6 months to develop. It can be potentially fatal to the animal and is transmitted to animals by flies. Signs of heartworm can take several months or years to develop and may include breathlessness, unwillingness to exercise and coughing. In more severe cases, heart failure may be present and sudden death may occur. It can be diagnosed by a blood test and can be treated if treated early. To prevent Heartworm it is recommended to give your pet two treatments – one to prevent lungworm and one to repel mosquitos.
  • Tapeworm – Tapeworm is a microscopic parasite picked up within the environment and can be transmitted to humans and your pet is unlikely to show any symptoms. It is important to treat your pet regularly with a tapeworm wormer. It is a requirement that your dog is treated with a tapeworm wormer by the vet between 24-120 hours before returning to the UK.

Questions? Ready to get your pet passport?

Give us a call to book your appointment.

There’s also advice about taking your pet aboard on the gov.uk website

Taking Your Pet to the EU After Brexit

Unfortunately we do not know what deal the EU and Britain will come to regarding pet travel from 29th March 2019 following the UK leaving the European Union. However, if you are planning to travel in Spring next year it is wise to consider planning immediately.

  1. Pets travelling into the EU before 29th March 2019 can do so under the current Pet Passport scheme and will be able to return to the UK as before.

  2. It may be that a deal will be reached to enable the current system to continue and you will have no need to do anything more.

  3. HOWEVER, if there is a “no-deal” Brexit, pets will still be able to travel to the EU but with further restrictions:
    1. Pets will require an injection against rabies

    2. Pets will then need to have a blood test to confirm that they have produced antibodies against rabies.

    4. Pets will NOT be able to travel for at least 3 MONTHS after the BLOOD TEST WAS TAKEN.

    5. This means if you wish to be certain to travel on 30 March 2019 the rabies injection should be given no later than 28 November 2018 to allow time for these additional tests and waiting times.
Details can be found at gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit

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