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In practice in brief
Providing advice to owners taking their pets abroad
  1. Ian Wright
  1. The Mount Veterinary Practice, 1 Harris Street, Fleetwood, Lancashire FY7 6QX
  1. Email for correspondence: hammondia{at}

Statistics from

Pet travel into the UK has increased year on year since the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) was relaxed in 2012. Combined with the rapid spread of parasitic diseases and their vectors, there is an increased risk of pets encountering these agents while abroad and bringing them back to the UK. Exotic parasites alsow represent a disease risk to travelling pets and, potentially, to their owners, so it is vital that pet owners receive the correct travel advice to keep themselves and their pets safe, while also maintaining UK biosecurity.


As veterinary professionals, it is important that we emphasise to clients what pet travel will entail for their pet and whether the animals are likely to benefit from the experience.

Some aspects to consider are:

Transport: Owners must transport their pets by an approved route and by an approved carrier if travelling by boat or air. Guidelines can be found at

Heat tolerance: Brachycephalic breeds overheat very easily and the wisdom of taking them to very hot countries should be questioned. Any pet may overheat while being transported without adequate air conditioning or ventilation and this should be communicated to owners.

Sunburn: Sunblock should be discussed with clients for use on exposed areas of their pet’s skin, particularly the ear tips and nose.

A full health check is important before travel to ensure that the animals are fit to travel and are unlikely to experience problems on their journey.

Legal requirements

Box 1 summarises the current legal requirements for pet travel between EU- and non-EU-listed countries and the UK.

Box 1:

Legal requirements for travelling with dogs, cats and ferrets between eu-/non-eu-listed countries and the UK

  • Microchip. This must be implanted before vaccination against rabies and scanned.

  • Vaccination against rabies must be performed at least 21 days before travel. This includes the day of vaccination so is actually ‘three weeks and a day’ from the day of …

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