This post covers the requirements for pets travelling within the EU – it doesn’t include information on the requirements to enter the EU from another territory.
Until the 31st of December 2020 the rules and regulations for pet travel to or from the UK will remain the same and UK issued EU Pet Passports will remain valid.
The general requirements for travelling between EU member states and the UK are:
- Microchip (tattoos are accepted if they were imprinted prior to July 3rd 2011)
- Rabies vaccination (after the pet is 12 weeks old)
- A 21 day wait after the first rabies vaccination
- A pet passport
It has been compulsory in the UK for all dogs to be microchipped since the 6th of April 2016. If your pet isn’t microchipped, it’s a quick and pretty cheap thing your vet can do.
This will protect your pet against rabies. Rabies is always fatal. Rabies is usually transmitted by a bite as it comes from the saliva of an infected animal. It can also be transmitted by a lick to an open wound.
Whilst the chance of encountering a rabid animal in the EU is low, there is still a risk. Vaccinating your pet protects not only them, but you too. No human has ever survived a rabies infection.
EU regulations require pets to be at least 12 weeks old before being vaccinated against rabies. Because of this, pets don’t meet the typical requirements for travel until 15 weeks at the very earliest (12 weeks plus the 21 days required after the rabies vaccination). Some countries will accept young unvaccinated dogs and cats. See this link here for a table showing which countries will accept young pets: https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/pet-movement/eu-legislation/young-animals_en
Vets in the EU issue EU Pet Passports. They contain basic information about you, the owner, and your pet. Your vet will enter your pets microchip number and rabies vaccination information in the passport.
There are multiple pages in the passport, including space to record all other vaccinations and parasite treatments, rabies titre results and clinical examinations. Whilst these parts don’t need to be filled in for travel within the EU, UK, Norway and Switzerland, they can be used for travels to other territories.
How long does it take to get a Pet Passport?
That depends how long it takes your vet to process and prepare paperwork. Theoretically, your passport can be given on the same day as long as your pet meets the requirements stated above.
Lots of people think a pet passport will look similar to a human passport. That’s not the case! Pet passports are hand written and stamped by an official vet. The passport contains clear stickers for your vet to cover information on the vital pages so they can’t be tampered with. People always ask us if they have a photo in – nope! Your pets microchip is how they are identified. There is a section where you can stick a photo in if you want to though!
It took our vet around a week to issue the passport after Pebbles had her rabies vaccine. If this is your dogs first rabies vaccine or a previous vaccination has expired you will have to wait 21 days from the date of the vaccine to travel, regardless of when you get the passport. The passport has a section that allows the vet to write the vaccines validity. .
The UK, Ireland, Finland, Malta and Norway are considered free of the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis. This parasite infects dogs and is usually asymptomatic – but dogs can pass it on to humans. It takes 10-15 years to develop in humans, causing liver failure. In 94% of cases it’s fatal within 10-20 years.
This parasite is present elsewhere in the EU. As such it is a requirement for dogs entering the UK, Ireland, Finland, Malta and Norway to be treated against it. This is done be administering a worming tablet that contains praziquantel. It must be done between 24 hours and 5 days of entering these countries. This needs to be administered by an official veterinarian and documented in the Anti-Echinococcus Treatment section of the pet passport.
This treatment doesn’t need to be given if you are travelling between the UK, Ireland, Finland, Malta and Norway.
You don’t normally need to declare your pet in any EU country so long as the pet passport is valid and the rabies vaccination is up to date. It is normal for an airline or ferry company to check you have the correct documents. If you are travelling overland it is unusual to be asked for documents.
If you are heading to Sweden, report your pet to Swedish Customs online here https://privattjanster-djuranmalan.tullverket.se/#/start?lang=EN to be able to use the green channel or lane on arrival.
Other Uses For The Pet Passport
Lots of territories outside of the EU will accept the pet passport as proof of rabies vaccination. We entered Canada by using Pebbles’ pet passport.
The pet passport gives so much freedom to travelling pets. We will be sad to see the UK exit this scheme!