Pet passports were first introduced to enable people to take their dogs in and out of the UK without the need for quarantine. Pet passports can be given out by vets with a special qualification, called an LVI.
The rules for travelling with your dogs vary depending on whether you've been to an EU country, a listed country or non-listed country (details of this can be found on the DEFRA website).
Since 2016 it is a legal requirement that all dogs are microchipped. This is also required for a pet passport and must be in place before any vaccinations take place.
Your dog must be vaccinated against Rabies before it can have a pet passport. All puppies must be at least 12 weeks of age and already microchipped. Before giving the vaccination, the vet will read the microchip and then there is a wait of 21 days following the vaccination before the passport is valid and your dog can travel if you are going to an EU or listed country. If you are travelling to an unlisted country, then a blood test will be taken 30 days after the Rabies vaccination to make sure your dog has reacted sufficiently to the vaccine and there is a delay of 3 months from this date before travel is permitted.
Booster vaccinations for Rabies are given after 12 months and then every 3 years after that BUT they must be kept up to date. Rabies vaccines are not even allowed to lapse for 1 day; if this happens the 21-day waiting rule will apply after being given a new vaccine. The frequency of vaccinations does vary slightly with different vaccine brands and in different countries so always check your passport or with your vet if you are unsure.
All dogs must be treated against tapeworm between 12 and 24 hours before re-entering the UK; this must be administered by a vet and be recorded in your passport. If the trip abroad is for less than 5 days your dog can be treated in the UK before you go but again it must be administered by a vet and recorded in the passport.
Your dog will be checked on arrival into the UK. If anything is wrong with the documents, then your pet could be quarantined or refused entry into the UK. If in doubt, get all documents checked prior to travelling and ensure your dog’s microchip is working.
It is important to remember to protect your dog against other parasites when abroad, especially in hot countries. Ticks, Sand Flies and Mosquitoes all transmit some very nasty diseases which we do not see here in the UK. Your vet can advise you on the best methods