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Taking your pets abroad  

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If you are going abroad and wish to take your pet cat or dog with you, the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) could allow you to avoid long quarantine periods when you return to the UK. Working guide and hearing dogs may also travel on the scheme.

The PETS scheme
Countries participating in PETS include most parts of Europe, and many non-European destinations. Check the current position with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

To be eligible, your cat or dog must:

* be fitted with a microchip
* be vaccinated against rabies
* be blood tested by a European Union approved laboratory - A pet may not enter/re-enter the UK under the Scheme until 6 calendar months have passed from the date that the blood sample was taken that gave a satisfactory result (assuming that all other rules of the PETS scheme have been met)

Pets must also:

* be issued with a pet passport by their vet
* be treated for tapeworm and ticks, not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before checking in with a PETS approved carrier for the journey back to the UK
* travel via PETS approved sea, air and rail routes

Owners must also sign a declaration of residency.

* Visit the PETS website for details of the Pet Travel Scheme (opens new window)
* PETS-approved carriers and routes (opens new window)

Before you go

You must book your trip with one of the many PETS-approved carriers, on a PETS-approved route. There is only a limited amount of space and it is allocated on a first come first served basis. You must book in advance as your pet will not be allowed to travel without a prior booking.
Taking care of your pet when travelling

These tips can help make your pet's journey as comfortable as possible:

* make sure your pet is as fit and healthy as possible to withstand the journey
* give them a light meal about two hours before they travel
* give your pet the opportunity to go to the toilet before it is put in its carrying container
* let your pet 'try out' the carrying container before the trip
* the carrying container should be well-ventilated, roomy enough for the animal to move around, safe, and have adequate food and water for the trip, with easily-refillable containers for a long journey
* put a familiar-smelling cushion or rug in the container to help your pet settle

Arriving back in the UK

On arrival in the UK, transport staff will check your pet passport to ensure the requirements of the scheme have been met. If there is missing paperwork, or if your pet has not been prepared correctly it may be taken into UK quarantine or returned to the country from which it has just come.
Travelling with registered assistance dogs

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, in partnership with other UK assistance dog organisations, DEFRA and a number of UK airlines has produced a set of guidelines for registered assistance dog owners wishing to use the Pet Travel Scheme.

Pets entering the UK on airlines under the Pet Travel Scheme must normally be carried in the hold. However, there is an exemption within the scheme to allow guide dogs or other assistance dogs to travel in the cabin with their owner on certain approved routes.

For more details on travelling with support dogs visit the DEFRA website.

The disabled people section gives more advice on travelling with assistance dogs.


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