Defra is changing the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) rules, bringing the UK procedures into line with the rest of the EU.

The changes make it easier for you to bring your dogs, cats and ferrets into the UK from other EU countries and a defined list of non-EU countries. (See the Defra website for this list.)

What you need to do
From 1 January 2012, all you need to do is:

  • have your pet microchipped to identify it
  • have your pet vaccinated againt rabies after it’s been microchipped
  • get an EU pet passport issued for it

Just 21 days after the initial rabies vaccination, your pet can enter the UK. Provided you keep the rabies vaccinations up to date (with no gaps between them), your pet can then enter the UK at any time.

There’s no longer any need to carry out a blood test after the rabies vaccination, nor to wait six months before your pet can enter the UK. (Provided, of course, that your pet hasn’t visited an unlisted non-EU country within the previous six months.)

Parasite treatments (ticks and tapeworms)
Cats and ferrets don’t need any parasite treatments before entering the UK.

Dogs need a worming treatment (carried out by a vet and the date entered in the pet passport) between 24 and 120 hours (one to five days) before their scheduled arrival time in the UK.

Travel health checks
Some carriers ask for your pet to have a health check before travelling. For most airlines, this needs to take place 24–48 hours before departure. Ferry companies haven’t yet confirmed, but it’s likely to be 24–120 hours before travel. This must be confirmed with the individual carrier.

More information
Visit the Defra website’s Pet Travel Scheme pages to find out: