The UK’s largest membership body for the veterinary profession, the British Veterinary Association, is calling on the government to set out changes to pet travel rules as soon as possible to help vets manage demand from pet parents.
Pet parents may have to consult their vet at least four months ahead of any planned trips to ensure that their cat, dog or ferret has had all the necessary vaccines, checks and documentation issued ahead of travel after the end of the Brexit transition period.
From 1 January 2021, requirements may change depending on whether the UK is granted Part 1 or Part 2 listed status or if it is granted unlisted status.
In an unlisted country scenario, pets need to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, and have a blood test at least 30 days following the vaccination. Pet parents will then need to wait a further three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before they can travel with their pet. They will also need an animal health certificate setting out the details of the test and results issued by an official veterinarian prior to travel.
Speaking to the Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning (listen from 2.56.12), BVA President Daniella Dos Santos said,“In order for owners to take their pets abroad, they need to start thinking about it now. If we end up being an unlisted country cats, dogs and ferrets need to have a rabies vaccine. We then need to wait thirty days and take a blood test, then provided the test comes back as a positive titre result you then have to wait three months from the date of sampling to be able to travel freely. In all, that’s a four-month leeway period. If you are thinking of traveling after the transition period ends, I would suggest that you need to speak to your vet soon.”
Dos Santos also warned that it may take longer for pet owners to get an appointment for their pet, as vets are following strict social distancing requirements to keep colleagues and clients safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, and some staff remain on furlough.
“The challenge will be that vet visit,” Dos Santos said. “The profession is still reeling, as everyone is, from the effects of Covid and it will take you longer to get an appointment. You will absolutely get an appointment, but it just may not be as soon as it would have been before Covid. We are asking the government to let the veterinary profession know as soon as possible what we need to do.”
As per government guidance on pet travel to Europe from 1 January 2021, in a Part 1 or Part 2 listed scenario, pets would need to be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days ahead of travel and have tapeworm treatment if required. A Part 2 scenario would also require for an Animal Health Certificate to be issued no more than ten days ahead of each time you travel.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU means pet travel to Europe will not be as seamless as it once was.
With recent data from vet charity PDSA showing that 50% of the UK population owns pets and other data showing 300,000 British pets travel to continental Europe each year, it’s clear the UK is a nation of pet lovers with many of them taking their pets with them on holiday to Europe. To help put pet parents at ease and to help the prepare, it is imperative that the government clarifies any changes to the pet travel rules post-Brexit as soon as possible.
For those pet parents who are confused about pet travel after Brexit, there’s a helpful article that we wrote here that can help you understand some of the possible scenarios for pet travel after Brexit.
If you’re unsure about what to do next, consult with your local vet.