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Pet Travel

Advice for pet owners travelling abroad, with a specific section for dogs

Travelling With Your Pet: Pet Travel Scheme

Going on holiday with your pet is now easier than ever with the Pet Travel Scheme. This system allows travel within the EU (or into the EU from another 'listed' country) as long as your pet meets the conditions of the scheme. It also means that animals which reside in the UK can go on holiday and come back into the UK without the need for quarantine. The rules set out by the scheme are in place to keep the UK free from Rabies and other diseases.

Full information about PETS can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad

Please be aware that the Pet Travel Scheme does not apply to all countries. If you are in any doubt, please check with DEFRA to ensure the correct requirements are met for the country you are travelling to.

In order for the vet to issue an Animal Health Certificate for your pet, there are a couple of things which need to be done.

  • 1. Your pet must be microchipped.
  • 2. Your pet must have had a rabies vaccination.

Once these criteria have been fulfilled, a passport can be issued. When collecting an Animal Health Certificate from us, we ask you to read through it carefully to ensure no mistakes have been made.

Once You Have Your Animal Health Certificate

Now you have an Animal Health Certificate for your pet, you can start travelling with him or her. There are a few things to remember when going on holiday, some are requirements for re-entry into the UK and some are suggestions to ensure a pleasant holiday for all!!

The rabies vaccination is valid for three years and it is your responsibility to ensure a booster is given on time. We do our best to post reminders but it is not a fool proof system! Make sure you double check your pet's passport at the same time as checking the dates on yours!

When returning to Britain, between 24 and 120 hours (one to five days) before your arrival in Britain, a specific parasite treatment against Tapeworm must be given to dogs by a vet in the E.U. The details of this treatment are to be recorded on the Animal Health Certificate.

Cats do not require any parasite treatment to be given.

Living abroad: If you are spending significant time abroad, it may be necessary to have a Rabies vaccine annually, if required by the laws of the country where you are staying.

Travelling With Your Dog

Below you will find some specific advice for dog owners travelling abroad. This covers additional dangers which may be present at your holiday destination and will hopefully allow you to be fully prepared to make your holiday an enjoyable experience for all!

Things to Consider When Travelling With Your Dog

  • Your dog's comfort: Consider your travel arrangements, accommodation and the type of holiday you have planned. Will your dog enjoy it? Will the weather be hot? Can your dog cope with heat?
  • Your dog is at risk in Europe: there are some serious illnesses in Europe, which are not present in the UK. This is so, particularly, in Central and Southern Europe.
  • Heartworm: (Spread by mosquitoes). This illness is devastating and treatment is difficult. The disease is widespread in southern Europe and is extending into northern France. Preventive treatment is available and should be given. Seek veterinary advice one month before travel.
  • Babesiosis: A fatal blood disorder. The ticks which spread this disease are active during the day in spring, summer and autumn. The worst areas are central and southern Europe.
  • Tick-borne diseases: Some serious illnesses are transmitted by ticks.
  • Erilichiosis: A serious blood disorder, present throughout Europe. Spread by ticks.
  • Leishmaniasis: (Spread by biting flies) This complicated illness is difficult to treat and can also be contracted by people (especially children and immunosuppressed adults). The incubation period is long, so illness could occur months after your return. The disease can be contracted in woodland and at the beach, especially in southern Europe. Keeping your dog indoors after dusk between May and September and fitting a Scalibor deltamethrin insecticidal collar (now available in Britain) may reduce risk to some extent.

If you intend to visit rural areas, it would be a wise precaution to treat your dog with Frontline beforehand. Although preventive treatment will help control ticks, it cannot guarantee freedom from ticks and tick-borne disease. Each evening, your dog should be examined for ticks. Ticks should be removed promptly if found. The best aid for tick removal is the O'Tom Tick Remover. Buy one.

Summary of Your Vet's Advice

There are some risks of disease to your dog in Europe, especially further south. If you decide to travel with your dog, then northern France is the safest area. Taking precautions to reduce risk of disease is sensible and useful but cannot eliminate risk entirely.

If travelling to Southern Europe, heartworm should be prevented by treating your dog with  'Stronghold' just before you travel and every 30 days after until you return. Be sure to apply it on one occasion after you return.

Take an O'Tom Tick Remover with you. Check through the coat each evening and remove all ticks if you have been visiting the country. Apply Frontline Spot On, to kill off any ticks you may miss.

Consider buying a collar containing the insecticide 'deltamethrin' if you are spending time in areas affected by sandflies in Southern Europe (woodland and the beach).

For any further information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact the practice and speak to one of our staff.