More and more people are travelling abroad with their pets at the moment, but to do so there are a number of hurdles to overcome. There are regulatory hurdles (mainly involved in getting back into the UK after your holiday!), plus there are some very real disease risks present in other countries that we do not have here in the UK. In this blog, we’re going to look at travelling with your pets on a Pets Passport, and what you’ll have to do at every stage of the way!
What animals does the Pet Passport cover?
The Pet Passport is for dogs, cats and ferrets. There are often fewer regulations for non-carnivore pets, as the disease risks are usually lower – however, ALWAYS check first! This blog will focus on these common pets.
What are the risks?
We can group the risks into three categories. Firstly, what diseases might your pet be carrying into another country? This isn’t much of an issue within Europe, but if you want to travel, for example, to Australia, it is a much bigger concern.
Secondly, what infectious diseases or parasites might your pet bring back to the UK after your holiday? While there are a wide range of potential problems, the big ones we worry about are Rabies, the Echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm, Leishmania, heartworm and certain exotic ticks.
Finally, there are the local risks while you’re in the other country – for example, excessive heat compared to what they’re used to.
What should I do?
Well, the rest of this blog is a step-by-step guide to travelling overseas with your pets!
1) As soon as you decide where you’re going on holiday
Do your research! Check with the country you’re going to what their import regulations are – do they need a health certificate to be allowed into the country? Will they need blood tests? Are there quarantine requirements? What specific health risks are there in the country that you need to be aware of? Please do involve us at this point – we can help you find the information.
2) AT LEAST a month before you travel
Make sure you have a Pet Passport. You will need to see one of the government-licensed vets (Official Veterinarians) in the practice. They’ll record your pet’s description and details, and make sure they have a working microchip. They’ll then give a rabies vaccine, and certify all of this information on the Passport. If you already have one, make sure the rabies vaccine is up to date. If you’ve had to start or restart the rabies vaccination, you’ll need to wait a minimum of 21 days before returning to the UK, to allow the vaccine time to work.
At this point, make sure that any additional health checks required by the destination country or countries are complete and ready to send. Check your transport routes as well – not every travel company will carry animals, and some may require a “fitness to travel” certificate. If they do, find out how soon before travelling you need it signed by our vets!
3) A week before you travel
Make sure you have supplies of pet food, plus any medications your pet might need. Also, make sure you have any preventative health measures – especially tick and sandfly treatments that your pet might need.
If you do need a Fitness to Travel certificate, make sure that’s booked for the required time slot before travelling.
4) While you’re abroad
Firstly, enjoy yourself! However, be aware of any local threats – burned paws from the hot sand, sunburned ears and noses, and salt poisoning from drinking seawater are common, as are heatstroke and frostbite, depending on the climate you’re visiting! Make sure any preventative treatments are given as and when required, and that your pet doesn’t have any sudden changes of diet that might cause a stomach upset.
5) 1-5 days before you return to the UK
Dogs MUST receive a tapeworm treatment, certified by a local vet in the passport, or they won’t be allowed back into the UK.
6) After you get home
Keep an eye on your pet for any unusual symptoms or signs, and if you do notice anything odd, get them checked out. Remember to let the vet know that your pet has travelled abroad recently too!