From 1st January 2012, all pet dogs, cats and ferrets can enter or re-enter the UK from any country in the world without quarantine, provided they meet the rules of the Pet Travel Scheme.
Animals which do not meet all the rules must be licensed into quarantine until they are compliant. They might then be able to obtain early release if they can be shown to comply with the necessary pet travel requirements.
Steps to be taken to if you are taking your dog, cat or ferret to the UK from Spain:
- Have your pet micro chipped – Before any of the other procedures for pet travel are carried out, your pet must be fitted with a microchip so it can be properly identified.
- Have your pet vaccinated – After the microchip has been fitted, your pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement, even if your pet has a current rabies vaccination. Rabies boosters must be kept up to date. The length of the waiting period before entry to the UK is 21 days after the first vaccination date. A waiting period is not required for subsequent entries into the UK, provided rabies boosters are kept up to date. If the vaccination is in two parts the 21 day wait will be from the date of the second vaccination.
- Get pet travel documentation – For animals being prepared in an EU country, you should get an EU pet passport. If you are preparing your animal in a non-EU listed country or territory you will need to obtain an official third country veterinary certificate (apart from Croatia, Gibraltar, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland who also issue pet passports).
- Tapeworm treatment – (dogs only): before entering the UK, all pet dogs (including assistance dogs) must be treated for tapeworm. The treatment must be administered by a vet, not less than 24 hours and not more than 120 hours (1-5 days), before its scheduled arrival time in the UK. There is no mandatory requirement for tick treatment. No treatment is required for dogs entering the UK from Finland, Ireland or Malta).
- Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route – Your pet must enter the UK from a listed country or territory travelling with an approved transport company on an authorised route.
As both the Republic of Ireland and the UK have not had indigenous rabies for many decades, compliance checks on pets travelling between the two countries will not be applied. Pet owners travelling with their pets should therefore not experience any change on the ground from the 1st January 2012.
Owners of pets entering the Channel Islands or the Republic of Ireland from outside the British Isles should contact the appropriate authorities in those countries for advice on approved routes and any other requirements.
- For Jersey visit the States of Jersey website or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- For the Republic of Ireland visit www.agriculture.gov.ie or email@example.com, or ring the Helpline on +353 1 6072827
Download the DEFRA leaflet here: bringing-pets-to-uk-2012 .