How Brexit could affect your pet passport and what you need to know about travelling abroad with your four-legged friend
PUBLISHED: 13:34 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:07 30 August 2019
If you're thinking of taking your dog to France or anywhere else in the EU, be warned that a no-deal Brexit could see your return to the UK met with potential complications.
We spoke to Chris Ridge, clinical director at Raddenstiles Veterinary Surgery in Exmouth, for everything you need to know about pet passports - and how Britain leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October could impact your travel plans.
Travelling abroad with your pet dog, cat or ferret? You currently need a pet passport.
Taking your pet with you to the EU and some long-haul countries has never been easier. For your cat, dog or ferret to come back in to the UK without going into quarantine, you will need a valid pet passport.
How do I get a pet passport and how long does it take?
A pet passport can only be obtained from a veterinary surgeon who is also a government-appointed OV (official veterinarian).
To get a passport your pet must be at least three months old at the time of applying and have:
- A microchip;
- A valid rabies vaccination administered at least 21 days before travel. Regular boosters are then required to keep the passport valid;
- For certain countries, been treated for tapeworm by a vet 24 to 120 hours before re-entering the UK (dogs only). A vet must sign your pet passport to say this has been done.
Chris, who is one of three OVs at Raddenstiles, explains: "The passport is not valid for return to the UK until 21 days after the rabies vaccination is administered. This means that you must allow at least three weeks to complete just this part of the process. With uncertainty around Brexit, I'd recommend you allow up to four months to have all requirements in place before you travel. This is because it may be necessary to validate the rabies vaccination with a blood test to confirm the presence of antibodies and you must wait 30 days after the vaccination to perform the test."
What will Brexit mean for my pet passport?
"If there is a deal in place when Britain leaves the EU, it's possible there will be no change," said Chris.
However, he warns that a no-deal Brexit could have significant implications for your trip abroad unless alternative arrangements to pet passports are put in place: "Until now, a blood test to prove the effectiveness of a rabies vaccination for your pet has not been needed but in the event of a no-deal Brexit, this may be required. We're recommending the blood test as a precaution, which could take up to four months to complete."
Chris adds: "Issues surrounding Brexit are complex and fluid, I'd recommend you consult the government website and talk to your local veterinary surgeon for advice as soon as possible."
How much does a pet passport cost?
There is no fixed cost for pet passports but this cost will increase if you need to pay for your cat, dog or ferret to be micro-chipped or vaccinated, or to obtain additional blood tests.
Tips for travelling with pets
Make sure your pet has a cool, secure and safe environment for travelling. Cats should travel in a suitable cat basket, dogs in a crate or secured with an approved seat belt adaptor. It is illegal to have an unrestrained animal in your car.
"Talk to your local veterinary surgeon about any extra precautions that need to be taken. Ticks and biting insects, for example, can transmit disease in much of Europe, despite there being no mandatory tick control in the pet passport scheme," said Chris.
It's important to check the latest UK Government information about travelling with your pet well in advance of your trip. It is your responsibility as the pet owner to ensure all requirements are met.
World-class healthcare for animals under our care
Raddenstiles Veterinary Surgery provides the highest standards of modern healthcare to the pets of Exmouth and East Devon, offering everything you expect from a premier practice; complex surgery, digital x-rays and detailed medical investigation with treatments ranging from chemotherapy to laser therapy to a simple nail clip.