Sunday, July 03, 2011

UK Pet Travel Scheme: good news in 2012

DEFRA UK Pets 2012

When I brought Munson to Europe a year ago – and Bondi 6 years ago – the UK Pet Travel scheme mandated that one had to wait 6 months after a successful rabies antibody blood-test before flying your dog.

From January 1, 2012 this changes in two important respects:

  1. the six months is reduced to three weeks
  2. you no longer have to get the blood-test done after the rabies jab (which had made the prior 6 months a de facto 7 months from vaccination time)

In addition, for those crossing the channel into the UK, the requirement to have your dog treated for ticks and tapeworm in the 24-48 hours before travel (not 23 hours, not 48.5 hours) is to be relaxed. Tick treatment is recommended but will not be compulsory. Tapeworm treatment may be reduced if the dog is a frequent channel crosser. Full details of these changes are still to be clarified.

It’s a sad fact that many Brits who come out to France to live often have to go back to the UK at short notice. Too frequently their pets are given up or abandoned because their owners haven’t gotten pet passports or weren’t able to wait seven months for them to become valid. With a three week wait this should no longer be an excuse.

NB if you’re coming to mainland Europe from Australia then it is already a 3 week wait, but you would not be able to go to UK for another 6-7 months after that.

As always, go to to for up to date information and other conditions of travel.

This of course does not alter Australia’s quarantine policies for the reverse journey. Even though Europe is now pretty much a free travel zone for domestic animals, and border crossings are only likely to be recorded at the English Channel, there is still a requirement that your animal have spent a full six months in one country prior to travel. How they hope to honestly police this is a mystery, and AQIS doesn’t acknowledge the issue.

Finally it is important to repeat that Pet Passports are for travel within Europe*. The procedures for bringing in an animal from outside Europe are different, but usually once your animal has passed those, they have all the prerequisites for getting a pet passport from a local vet as soon as they arrive.

*In this case, Europe = European Union plus a few other listed countries. When I travelled with Bondi, Croatia was not part of the EU but one could still travel there and back to the EU zone with your dog. using the passport Now Croatia is part of the EU so it’s an even clearer-cut issue.  Bosnia and the Russian Federation have also been added to the list of qualifying countries; Serbia, Turkey, and many republics like the Ukraine are still not on the list.


  1. I saw this in the paper yesterday and thought that it was good news.
    To be honest, I was just grateful for the old 6 month rule as we brought Boris from the US and before the passport scheme we would have been faced with mandatory quarantine. But 3 weeks is awesome and that stupid 24-48 hour rule for ticks is the icing on the cake!

  2. The cost-saving in trying to get to the channel crossing in the 24-48 hour window is substantial. I've either got to coordinate vet, travel and crossing very carefully or pay for accommodation costs to wait out the 24 hours.

    I remember a family whose dog's chip simply failed in the 24 hour window between the vet checking it at treatment time, and boarding the ferry. They ended up having to put their dog in a kennel for 6 months.