As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the government has issued advice to pet owners about how Brexit may affect travelling with their animals.
According to a statement, pet owners will still be able to travel around Europe after the UK leaves the EU, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations. “However, in the unlikely event of a no-deal they may need to take some additional steps. This includes a rabies vaccination followed by a blood test a minimum of 30 days afterwards”. That’s because if there is a no-deal Brexit, the UK will be treated as an “unlisted country” and residents will have to get cats, dogs and ferrets microchipped and vaccinated to meet the European requirements.
So what does this mean for pet owners with travel plans? If you are planning to travel from the UK with your pet after 29 March, 2019, the government recommends you contact your vet four months in advance of your travel date to see what the requirements may be. If you are planning to travel before the end of March, it’s best to inquire with your vet as soon as possible.
The main requirement would be to make sure that pets are vaccinated against rabies before travelling, as well as having a blood test to make sure they have sufficient levels of the rabies antibody. That blood test would have to be carried out 30 days after any initial rabies vaccination – and a minimum of three months before travelling, which is why travellers should leave four months to get it all sorted out.
According to a statement from Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s chief veterinary officer, “I urge all pet owners who wish to travel immediately after 29 March 2019 to 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”. Find out more here.