As pet parents it’s completely natural to want to spend as much time as possible with our furry friends – including when we go on holiday. They’re part of the family, after all, and thankfully due to the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), dogs and cats have always been able to travel easily between EU countries with a pet passport.
But what will happen after Brexit, and in particular in the case of a no-deal? Our friends at the RSPCA have urged pet owners to act now to avoid holiday chaos for you and your pet.
What is a pet passport?
Just like us humans, our pets need the correct travel docs to visit other countries. Pet passports include information such as details of ownership, a description of your pet, and a list of the different treatments your pet has had, including vaccinations against rabies. A pet passport currently allows you to travel to EU countries and some listed non-EU countries with your pet.
How to get a pet passport
You can get your pet passport from certain registered vets, but if your regular vet can’t issue them, don’t fret! Just ask and they’ll be able to point you in the direction of the nearest vet who can. If you’re unsure, you can always contact the Animal and Plant Health Agency for help.
If you are planning on travelling with your pet before 31st October, when the UK is due to leave the EU, current pet passports are still valid providing it is up to date with your pet’s rabies vaccination.
Pet passports after Brexit
Once the UK leaves the EU, current pet passports will not be valid for travel and the requirements for pet travel will change. In the case of a no-deal Brexit, it is likely that the UK will be treated as an ‘unlisted’ country under the Pet Travel Scheme, meaning the process could take an additional three months to complete.
In any Brexit scenario, the Government is encouraging pet owners to contact their vet at least four months before travelling. The RSPCA are taking this one step further and urging pet owners to start their applications now.
RSPCA’s Head of Public Affairs David Bowles said:
“For the past fifteen years, it has been very simple to take a pet abroad but many pet owners don’t realise just how lengthy and complex the process could now become if we leave the EU without a deal. Getting the necessary travel documentation for pets could take much longer than at present – up to four months. And without the right paperwork, pets and their owners risk being delayed or even turned back at borders. And travel with your cat and dog will only be allowed through a small number of designated ports rather than anywhere as is the case at present”.
Making plans to travel with your pet after Brexit
So, what else do you need to consider if you’re planning to travel with your pet later this year? The government has issued this advice on making plans to travel with a pet in a no-deal scenario:
- Pet dogs, cats and ferrets will need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies before they can travel. Pets must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after their last rabies vaccination (whether that’s a booster or initial vaccination). Your vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test.
- Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU approved blood testing laboratory and await the results
- Your vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate
- It will then take 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken to issue the passport
To avoid being turned back at the border, and missing out on the perfect getaway with your pet, it’s best to contact your vet now for the latest advice. David Bowles from the RSPCA, added:
“Anyone who plans to travel with their dog or cat after the end of October 2019 should be talking to their vet right now.”
If things don’t go quite to plan, or you need someone to care for your pet last minute, a trusted Rover sitter is never far away. Whether it’s just for the weekend or over a few weeks, they’ll welcome your dog into their home and treat them just like family!