Pet owners reminded to seek advice on travel plans ahead of Brexit

Pet owners are urged to revisit official advice about travelling to the EU with pets after the UK leaves the EU.

In the event that the UK leaves without a deal on 31 October, the government advise pet owners that they will need to take some additional steps to ensure they can still travel.

This includes a blood test a minimum of 30 days after its last rabies vaccination (where that’s a booster of initial vaccination) and a three-calendar month wait before travel.

Government advice is that if pet owners are planning on travel from November onwards, they should contact their vet at least four months in advance of their travel date.

For example, those wishing to travel to the EU on 1 November 2019 should discuss requirement with their vet by the 1 July at the latest.

All the guidance on pet travel has been available since November 2018, so many pet owners will already be familiar with that they need to do, and some may already have taken action.

Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer, said: “This is a reminder for pet owner of our practical and straightforward advice for pet travel if the UK were to leave the EU in a no-deal situation.

“Those pet owners who wish to travel with their pets immediately after 31 October 2019 should consult with their vet as soon as they can. This is about planning ahead to ensure their pet has the correct health protection documented and in place for all possible exit scenarios.

“We continue to be in contact with vets to highlight this issue and they are expecting pet owners to consult with them and plan ahead.”

RSPCA’s Head of Public Affairs, David Bowles, comments: “Anyone who plans to travel with their dog or cat after the end of October 2019 should be talking to their vet right now. For the past fifteen years, it has been very simple to take a pet abroad, but many pet owners don’t realise just how lengthy and complex the process could now become if we leave the EU without a deal.

“Getting the necessary travel documentation for pets could take much longer than at present – up to four months. And without the right paperwork, pets and their owners’ risk being delayed or even turned back at borders. And travel with your cat and dog will only be allowed through a small number of designated ports rather than anywhere as is the care present.”

Pet owners can stay up-to-date with the latest advice on pet travel at GOV.UK (www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad) or by searching ‘pet travel’.