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Travelling with your pet

Updated: Oct 11, 2021



Pet travel and tourism have increased as the years' progress. Pet travel increases the risk of spreading both parasitic diseases and their vectors, increases the risk of pets encountering these agents while abroad and taking them back to their home Counties or countries. Exotic parasites also have the potential of causing diseases to travel pets and, possibly, to their owners too. It is, therefore, imperative that pet owners keep themselves and their pets safe by following the correct advice from veterinarians and government agencies to provide local and global biosecurity.

Veterinarian Consult

Before pet travel, owners must first visit an official veterinarian for accurate advice so that there is compliance with either local or international travel requirements. This way, the pet owner gets an outline of the information needed before travelling with his or her pet(s), including their legal responsibilities, the parasites to be expected to encounter and exactly how best to prevent parasitic disease and zoonotic hazard.

Embassy or Consulate Contact/Visit

Next before international travel with your pet, contact the embassy or consulate of the nation(s) to which you will be travelling to ensure that all necessary import, export and quarantine requirements (if any) are clearly understood and fulfilled. Contact or visit should be done at least 9 months in advance of travel. Embassies and consulates are in large metropolitan areas or cities commonly.


Preparing your dog, cat or ferret for international travel

Step 1: Have your pet microchipped.

Before any of the other procedures, the pet must be microchipped for proper identification.

Step 2: Have your pet vaccinated.

After microchipping, the pet must be vaccinated against rabies. There is no exemption to this requirement. Rabies boosters must be up to date.

Step 3: Arrange a blood test.

Once the pet is vaccinated, a blood test is a must to make sure the vaccine has given the pet a satisfactory level of protection against rabies. The blood sample must be taken at least 30 days after vaccination and sent to an internationally accredited laboratory. The length of the waiting period is three calendar months from the date the vet took the blood sample, which led to a satisfactory test result. The 3 month waiting period depends on the country the pet is travelling to; that is why it is advisable the client checks with the embassy or the consulate of the destination country before travelling.

Step 4: Get pet travel documentation.

Documentation from the country of origin is needed and obtained from an official country veterinarian. The documents from the country of origin include:-

1. Veterinary health certificate

2. Vaccination record book/pet passport

3. Export permit

4. Valid rabies titre test certificate

5. Microchip certificate

The documents from the destination country include:-

1. Import permit

Step 5: Tapeworm treatment

Tapeworm treatment must be carried out - 1 and 5 days before entry into certain countries (although it is preferable if treatment takes place between 24 and 48 hours). The tapeworm of concern is Echinococcus multilocularis, and the treatment is done using praziquantel at the dose specified, and in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. This treatment must be carried out every time a pet travels abroad by any qualified veterinarian and recorded in the Pet Passport, including manufacturer and name of product, date and time of treatment, stamp and signature of the veterinarian.

Step 6: Arrange for your animal to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route.

The pet must enter the destination country from a listed country travelling with an approved transport company on an authorised route.



Aubert, M. F. (1992). Practical significance of rabies antibodies in cats and dogs. Revue Scientifique et Technique (International Office of Epizootics), 11(3), 735-760. doi:10.20506/rst.11.3.622

Fooks, A. R., McElhinney, L. M., Brookes, S. M., Johnson, N., Keene, V., Parsons, G., & Soldan, A. (2002). Rabies antibody testing and the UK Pet Travel Scheme. The Veterinary Record, 150(14), 428-430.

Fooks, A., & Johnson, N. (2014, December 18). Jet set pets: examining the zoonosis risk in animal import and travel across the European Union. Veterinary Medicine (Auckland, N. Z.), 6, 17-25. doi:10.2147/VMRR.S62059

Shaw, S. E., Lerga, A. I., Williams, S., Beugnet, F., Birtles, R. J., Day, M. J., & Kenny, M. J. (2003). Review of exotic infectious diseases in small animals entering the United Kingdom from abroad diagnosed by PCR. The Veterinary Record, 152(6), 176-177. doi:10.1136/vr.152.6.176

Zandvliet, M. M., Teske, E., & Piek, C. J. (2004). Ehrlichia- en Babesia-infecties bij de hond in Nederland [Ehrlichia and Babesia infections in dogs in The Netherlands]. Tijdschr Diergeneeskd., 129(22), 740-745.

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