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Pet Travel Scheme

Pet Travel Scheme

The importation of pets (including hamsters, gerbils, mice and birds) into the UK is strictly controlled and the rules are there to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other exotic diseases.

The Pet Travel Scheme  allows dogs, cats and ferrets to enter the UK and also allows owners to take these animals out of the UK (on holiday etc) without the need for quarantine,  as long as certain rules and conditions are met.  The rules  that are applicable are dependant on which country you are traveling to or from and  include having the correct documentation, identification, vaccinations and treatments prior to traveling. 

The EU pet travel regulations for the non-commercial movement of dogs, cats and ferrets travelling within EU and listed non-EU countries set out that pets must:

  • have a valid EU pet passport;
  • be microchipped before rabies vaccination;
  • be vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel, pets must be at least 12 weeks old before receiving the rabies vaccination;
  • travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route;
  • Dogs entering the UK, Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta must be treated for tapeworms by a vet with a product containing praziquantel (or equivalent) no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (between 1 and 5 days) before its arrival in the UK.

For those pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) travelling from unlisted non-EU countries, they must meet the above requirements and additionally take a blood serology test after rabies vaccination, followed by a three-month wait before entry into the UK.

Pet rabbits and rodents from countries outside the EU must spend 4 months in quarantine. They need a rabies import licence.

Contact the Centre for International Trade (Carlisle) for more information on the rules for travelling with these or other species of pet.

The UK has been free from rabies for many years, however the existence of the disease in other countries means there  is a continued need for an effective system to be in place to manage the risk of rabies being introduced by imported animals.  Failure to comply with the requirements can lead to animals being put into quarantine at the owners expense and can lead to formal action being taken which may lead  to prosecution.

For more detailed information and information on the requirements for the commercial movement of pet animals please go to the following links:-



For information on requirements for pet travel in the event of a no Brexit deal:-


Other useful links:-



Key legislation

  • Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974
  • Animal Welfare Act 2006
  • Welfare of Animals (Transport) (England) Order 2006
  • •     Non-Commercial Movement of Pet Animals Order 2011
  • The Trade in Animals and Related Products Regulations 2011

Please note

This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.



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