Since 1 January 2012, it has become cheaper and easier to travel abroad with pets.
Tick treatment for pets returning to the UK is no longer required, and whilst they still need to be vaccinated against rabies, pets from the EU and listed non-EU countries such as the USA and Australia no longer need a blood test and only have to wait 21 days before they travel.
According to the French Minister of Agriculture, from the 1st October 2004, “all dogs, cats and ferrets travelling in the European Union, either with their owners or on a commercial basis, must be vaccinated against rabies and hold a ’passeport européen’ provided and completed by a vet. This passport is the same for all members of the EU and replaces all documents used up to now. It states the animal’s identification and description as well as providing proof of all required health checks. It also includes the name and address of the owner.”
Taking your pet to France
To take an animal from the UK into a Member State (other than Ireland and Malta – which also requires a blood test) it must have been identified by a microchip (or certain countries may accept a tattoo), successfully vaccinated against rabies and issued with a passport. (Sweden also requires your pet to have been treated against tapeworms using a product containing praziquantel no more than 10 days before entering the country.)
Your local vet should be able to provide you with all necessary info and paperwork.
If you intend to return to the UK with your pet, you must check carefully the requirements of the Pet’s Travel Scheme or PETS as this is a little more complicated.
About the Pet’s Travel Scheme (PETS)
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) applies to all cats and dogs. It allows them to enter or re-enter the UK from approved countries without quarantine as long as they meet certain criteria.
To re enter the UK with your pet
The following steps should be taken if you intend bringing your pet back into the UK.
your pet must be microchipped. This involves a microchip being implanted in your pet’s neck (it sounds unpleasant but they don’t usually feel it as it is in the loose skin)This is a way of identifying your pet and can also be used if he/she were to get lost. This must be done before it is vaccinated against rabies and blood tested
At least 7 months before your departure from the UK, you should have your pet vaccinated against rabies. When your pet is vaccinated, make sure that your vet has recorded the following details on its vaccination record and passport or official third country veterinary certificate:
*its date of birth/age
*the microchip number, date of insertion and location of the microchip on the animal
*the date of vaccination
*the vaccine product name
*the batch number
*the date its booster vaccination is due (calculated by reference to the vaccine manufacturer’s data sheet)
Thirty days after the vaccination, return to your vet for a blood test, at which point a blood sample will be taken and tested to ensure that the rabies vaccine has worked. (Samples are sent away to the Ministry of Agriculture or an EU approved laboratory for testing and results can take some time to come back depending on the season)
You cannot take your pet out of the country until 6 months after the positive blood test results if you are intending to return to the UK.
Your vet should now provide you with an EU pet passport (photo now necessary since December 2004!) and you will now have all documentation necessary, from the British side, along with the micro-chip certificate and the rabies vaccination certificate, to re-enter the UK after your stay.
Before re-entering the, your pet must be treated against ticks and tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocalaris) THIS TREATMENT MUST BE CARRIED OUT NOT LESS THAN TWENTY FOUR HOURS AND NOT MORE THAN FORTY EIGHT HOURS before travelling back from France. In fact, if you are on holiday and travelling back to the UK, this leaves you only a very small window for the treatment so it is important to plan your vet appointment well in advance.