Travelling Abroad With Your Dog

19th September 2012 - in General

Pet Passport Scheme

Thousands of Pet Passports have been issued to dogs in the United Kingdom since the scheme began in 2000, allowing our much loved pooches to travel abroad with us on family holidays. On January 1st of this year, legislation relating to pet travel changed in the United Kingdom to correlate with European Union policy, a harmonisation which DEFRA believes will make travelling with pets both cheaper and easier.

Whether travelling by sea, air or train, owners must meet the new conditions outlined by DEFRA when returning to the UK, or face refusal of re-entry. Although when first looking at the new conditions it may seem a lot of information to take in, DEFRA has produced a brief checklist for owners prior to travel (see "helpful links" below) and I have summarised the main conditions in this table:

Summary of Conditions

Conditions which must be met for entry into the UKEU and Listed Non-EU CountriesUnlisted Non-EU Countries
Rabies VaccinationYesYes
Tick TreatmentNoNo
Tapeworm TreatmentYes (delivered between 24-120 hours before return to the UK) - no treatment is needed if travelling directly from Finland, Norway, Malta or Ireland.Yes (delivered between 24-120 hours before return to the UK)
Blood TestNoYes- at least 30 days after rabies vaccination
Pre-entry Waiting PeriodYesYes
Length of Waiting Period21 days after rabies vaccination3 months after the blood sample was taken

What does this mean for you ?

For dogs entering from EU and Listed non-EU countries a blood test is no longer necessary, there is no need to treat against ticks, and the waiting time has been reduced from 6 months to 21 days.

For travel from unlisted non-EU countries there is no longer a 6 month quarantine, or the need for tick treatment. Although initially considered for removal from the scheme, dogs do still need to be treated against tapeworm, unless entering directly from Finland, Norway, Malta or Ireland, due to concerns of facilitating the spread of Echinococcus multilocularis into the UK.

Even though tick treatment is no longer a requirement of the scheme, many vets still encourage treatment both at home and abroad due to diseases, such as Lyme disease, which have potential implications for both pet and owner.


Although people have been taking their dogs abroad for many years now, as of yet, few people have asked where these intrepid dog explorers are visiting, where they call home within the UK or how their owners perceive and protect against the risk of disease whilst travelling.

Without such information how can policy be tailored to the needs of owners and further improve pet wellbeing? How can we ensure all dog owners are receiving the same quality of information? Most importantly how can we determine if current pet travel policy is adequate, excessive or even relevant?

I am a masters student at Bristol University and we have created a survey which we are trying to get as many UK dog owners as possible who take their pets abroad to answer.

If you live in the UK and travel abroad with your dog(s), you can help us to answer some of these questions by spending a few minutes of your time filling our survey. All information gathered by the survey will remain confidential and will not be shared with any third party. You can contribute to current scientific research and, at the end of the survey, choose to be entered in for a chance to win 100 worth of Pets at Home vouchers.

Click Here to take the Survey

On behalf of everyone involved in the project thank you for taking part in the survey and if you would like to share your travel experiences or opinions, please post a comment below!

Helpful Links