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What pet owners must doPreparing your animal for pet travel under the PETS scheme is not complicated but you need to plan ahead and get the process in the works well ahead of time - at least seven or eight months if you are traveling from outside the EU. Here is what's required:
Editor's note: From January 2012, some of the PETS scheme rules will be relaxed to make it easier and cheaper to bring a dog, cat or ferret into the UK. For dogs traveling to and from the UK to Europe and listed non-European countries, the waiting period following rabies vaccination will be reduced to three weeks and no follow up blood test will be required. For UK dogs returning to the UK after travel abroad, no tick treatment will be required. At the time of writing in July 2011, tapeworm treatment was still required but under review.
- Have your pet microchipped - Your vet can carry this out and it is not painful for the animal. It must be done first, before any inoculation. If your dog has been inoculated against rabies before being microchipped, it will have to be done again.
- Rabies vaccination - Have your pet vaccinated against rabies after being microchipped. There is no exemption from this requirement, even if the animal already had been vaccinated.
- Blood test - After a sufficient waiting period, your vet should test your animal to make sure that the rabies vaccination has succeeded in giving sufficient protection. That waiting period may vary from a few weeks to a month or more, depending upon the specific vaccine used. Your vet can advise you about this.
- PETS Documents Once your animal has had a valid blood test, the vet will issue PETS documentation. In EU countries, this will be an EU PETS Passport. If you are traveling to the UK from a Non-EU country, your vet must complete a Third country official veterinary certificate which you can download from the PETS website.
- The 3-week/3-month rule The first time your pet is prepared to travel under the PETS system, you must wait three weeks before you can travel and return to the UK if you are coming into the UK from an EU or listed country. If you are traveling from an unlisted country outside the EU, your pet must have a blood test 30 days after the vaccination (with the vaccination day counting as day 0) and then wait three months after the valid blood test before the animal can enter the UK.
- Tick and tapeworm treatment Just before you enter the UK, your pet must be treated against ticks and tapeworm. This must be done not more than 48 hours before entering the UK and not less than 24 hours. This treatment must be carried out by a licensed vet every time your pet enters the UK.
What else should I know?Only certain carriers are authorized to transport pets under the PETS system. Before you make your travel arrangements, check the list of authorized carriers for air, rail and sea travel to the UK.
Take the Pet Travel PollOf course, just because you can take your dog on vacation in the UK doesn't mean you will. What do you think?
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