If you're hoping to take your pet abroad, you need to plan ahead. It only costs around £140 to validate a pet passport, but because of the rabies vaccination and blood tests your pet will have to undergo, you won't receive it for around seven months after you apply.
The pets travel scheme, known as PETS, permits you to take your much loved animal to most of the countries in Western Europe without the trauma of putting it into quarantine.
But to qualify for your pet passport you must adhere to certain strict rules relating directly to your animal's health. Your pet must be implanted with microchip identification which meets the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) specification and it must be vaccinated for rabies (including booster jabs).
Animals have to be a minimum of three months old and must already have a microchip implanted before their first vaccination. Then they will need to have a blood test, a minimum of 30 days after the rabies vaccination, to determine whether the vaccination was successful or not. In the event of the animal failing this blood test, it will have be vaccinated and then tested once more.
If the blood test is successful, your pet must have a certificate signed by an LVI (Local Veterinary Inspector), ensuring that the regulations have been adhered to.
Your animal must also be treated for tapeworm, with praziquantel, and for ticks, with fiprinol, 24-48 hours before commencing the journey - and the vet who carried out the treatment must indicate the date and time when this treatment was carried out.
To make your journey easier, try and make sure you know exact position of your pet's microchip before you travel, and of course, make sure you take all the necessary documents - certificate, proof of vaccines etc - with you.
These are guidelines, but you must make sure you follow the full regulations when you prepare to travel with your pet. If you need help or advice, contact PETS on 0870 2411 710. For an up to date list of transport companies that can take pets, as well as the full up to date list of countries to which you can travel, visit the DEFRA website.
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