Important news about your Pet Passport

Posted by on 17 November 2018 | Comments

Important news about your Pet Passport


You may not have thought about it yet, but leaving the EU will have consequences for the Pet Travel scheme and your pet’s passport. Nobody knows at the moment what will happen after the 29th of March 2019. The government has published guidance stating that they expect a deal to happen between the UK and the EU but also telling us what will happen to pet travel regulations in a ‘no-deal scenario.’

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations you will still be able to travel to Europe with your pet but there may be a few extra steps involved. If there is no deal reached you will need to start to prepare at least 4 months before travel. For example, if you wish to travel on the 30th of March 2019 you need to start the process by the 28th of November 2018 at the latest.

The changes mainly involve the rules surrounding rabies vaccination. At the moment dogs need to have one rabies vaccination and then wait 21 days before travelling. In the event of a no-deal scenario this could change to include a blood test at least 30 days after the vaccination to check your pet has high enough levels of the rabies antibody and are ‘immune.’ This blood test will need to be done a minimum of 3 months before your travel date. Sometimes pets will not have responded to the vaccine sufficiently and must have repeated vaccines until they show enough immunity. Each additional vaccine would mean another 30 days wait before having another blood test.

You could also need a vet health certificate which means visiting us within 10 days before your travel date, and this would be required for every trip to the EU. This certificate would allow you to travel within the EU for 4 months and allow re-entry to the UK up to 4 months after the certificate is issued. You would need to travel with this, proof of their microchip, rabies vaccination and positive blood test result.

The pre-existing rule for taking your dog to a vet 1-5 days before returning to the UK for tapeworm treatment would remain unchanged.

What if your pet has one of the older styles of passport and had a rabies antibody blood test after their vaccination? As long as they have kept up to date with their rabies vaccinations ever since they will not need to repeat this blood test. They would, however, still need a health certificate for each time they travel. 

Please bear in mind that this is all currently theoretical. Advice may change over the coming months, but if you want to ensure you and your pet can travel early next year no matter the Brexit outcome these are the steps we advise you to follow.

Unfortunately because we don’t know what will happen yet you could be having blood tests done unnecessarily – but if you don’t, you run the risk of not being able to travel with your pet at all. Please feel free to talk to us about it if you need to.

The Government has lots of information on guidance for pet owners on its website. We recommend you keep checking the website regularly to keep up to date with any changes. There is also a government helpline 0370 2411710 which you can use for further clarification.