Plan ahead for your pet passport

Since January 2012, the UK pet passport scheme was updated to allow eligible dogs into the UK from any country in the world without quarantine. However, if you’re looking to take advantage of the scheme and take your dog abroad, it pays to think ahead.

Defra, the government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, lays out the rules of the scheme, which varies slightly according to your destination. You will need to plan up to 8 months ahead to be sure your dog can travel without a hitch. Three basic conditions are the same no matter where you plan to travel: you must have your dog microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and obtain a pet passport from an approved vet.

Rabies vaccinations are considered essential because the UK has managed to remain free of the disease for some years while much of Europe has not. Therefore, Defra insist on a vaccination even if your dog’s booster is still up to date. You will then need to wait a further 30 days and arrange a blood test to ensure the rabies vaccination was effective.

In countries other than Ireland, Malta and Finland, Defra also insist dogs are treated for tapeworm at least one day and not more than 5 days before re-entering the UK, which means planning ahead to make sure you have access to a vet.

It is suggested to contact Defra well in advance of your planned trip to find out exactly what you will need to do for your dog.