Pet passports are currently available for dogs, cats and ferrets travelling from the UK to other European Member States. A full list of countries accepting pet passports can be found on the government website. In addition to European Member States, there are many other listed countries that will accept travel on a pet passport. There are sometimes additional requirements for travel such as blood tests or parasite treatments. More information on pet passports can be found on the government website.
Getting a pet passport
The basic requirements at present for a pet passport are as follows. Please see the sub-headings below for more information on specific points.
1. The animal is a dog, cat or ferret
2. No more than 5 animals are being transported
3. The owner of the pet will sign the passport and travel with the pet. (*Declarations can be signed if another person will travel with the pet instead of the owner.)
4. Transport is not for a commercial purpose
5. The animal has a microchip in place – *this must have been placed prior to vaccination against rabies*
6. A rabies vaccine has been administered more than 21 days before the date of travel
Additional requirements for travel are:
7. A pet passport has been issued by an Official Veterinarian (issued once the above criteria have been met)
8. Tapeworm treatment must be administered by an Official Veterinarian 1-5 days before re-entry to the UK, using an appropriate product (usually praziquantel)
9. Pets travelling on the scheme have had suitable vaccinations required by the destination and origin countries
A passport can only be issued once the above criteria has been met, and cannot be used until 21 days after rabies vaccination. For your peace of mind and to prevent mistakes, we will only issue pet passports 21 days after rabies vaccination.
A microchip must be placed prior to the initial rabies vaccination. The microchip must be scanned prior to each subsequent rabies vaccine and matched with the recorded number in the passport. This is to prove that the same animal is being presented for vaccination and travel each time.
Sometimes a microchip will work its way out of the skin or will stop working. Please see our FAQs for more information.
All pets travelling on a pet passport must have an up-to-date rabies vaccination. Under the current rules, there is no requirement for a rabies antibody titre test for travel between listed European Member States. However, other destinations may require evidence of immunity via a blood test. Your pet must have a single rabies vaccine administered according the manufacturer’s guidance (every 12 months in Europe, and every 1-3 years in the UK depending on the vaccine stability). There is no longer a requirement for a vaccine course. Your pet can travel to other European Member States 21 days after rabies vaccination in the first year, and any time thereafter. However if a rabies vaccine is overdue, travel is prohibited until the vaccine has been given, and 21 days have elapsed from the time of vaccination.
Our recommendations for rabies vaccines
We strongly recommend an initial course of 2 rabies vaccines, 14-21 days apart, and/or a rabies titre test.
25% of all vaccinated animals do not develop sufficient immunity after a single injection. If your pet is one of these animals, it will not have antibodies to rabies. It will be at high risk if bitten by a rabid animal! To reduce this possibility, your pet can have a second vaccine. This should ensure an adequate immune response but some pets may still be lower in immunity. To test the antibody levels, your pet can have a blood test. There is no need for a second vaccine if the result is above the minimum level. However, a second vaccine is recommended if the antibody titre is low. For travel within the EU, there is no requirement to wait 90 days from the date of antibody sampling. Your travel dates will be unaffected, but you will know that your pet is (or is not) immunized effectively.
UK Routine Vaccinations
Dogs: should be vaccinated against canine distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and leptospirosis (there is no specific requirement for the type of leptospira vaccine, but consideration should be given to the destination country – please contact us for more information). These vaccines are required for entry into many of the European Member States (and other countries), although not strictly a requirement of the pet passport scheme. We recommend annual vaccination of all dogs within the UK to prevent a rise of endemic, often fatal, viruses.
Cats: should be vaccinated for feline parvovirus, feline herpes virus and feline calicvirus. If your cat goes outside at all, vaccination against feline leukaemia virus should also be given. Many of these will be required for entry into European Member States (and other countries) despite not technically being required for pet travel. We recommend annual vaccination of all cats within the UK to prevent a rise of endemic, often fatal, viruses.
Ferrets: should be vaccinated against canine distemper. Rules on distemper vaccination vary between countries, but we recommend annual vaccination of ferrets against the fatal canine distemper virus.
Some destination countries may require additional vaccines before travel so it is worth reading up on this a few months in advance. Please note that pets with vaccines that have expired according to the manufacturer’s guidelines will be required to start and complete a new vaccine course, taking up to 4 weeks to complete, before they are able to travel.
Please research the country that you are travelling to as well as the specific area you and your pet will be staying in. There are pockets of diseases as well as widespread disease throughout the world. We do not have many of these diseases in the UK so vaccination is a good idea. Many are spread by biting insects, so protection from flies, fleas, worms and ticks is essential.
Additional canine vaccines to consider include:
Leishmania – carried by sandflies
Borrelia (Lyme disease) – carried by ticks
Parasitic Infectious Diseases
Leishmaniasis – carried by sandflies, can affect most species causing severe skin disease and/or organ failure. Treatments effective against sandflies are the best preventative, or vaccination is available for dogs.
Borrelia bergdorferi (Lyme disease) – carried by ticks, can affect most species. Clinical signs vary from profound lethargy to severe lameness. This organism is difficult to eradicate and symptoms can recur sporadically for years. Tick treatments are essential for all countries, including the UK!
Anaplasmosis / Ehrlichiosis – carried by ticks, causes the blood clotting process to fail. Fatal if an injury is sustained, but prevented by most tick preventatives.
Babesiosis – carried by ticks, causes failure of the blood clotting cascade and can be fatal