A simples guide

A guide to pet passports

In the UK, we love animals and can’t bear to part from our four-legged friends. Pet passports allow you to take your pet pooch or feline abroad, so that they too can enjoy the family holiday.

What are pet passports?

A pet passport refers to the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). Your dog or cat will need their very own passport when travelling to, or returning from, countries in the EU (or a listed non-EU country). Your pet’s passport will keep a record of all your pet’s vaccines. This ensures that animals coming into the UK are vaccinated against diseases such as rabies, and your much-loved companion is fit to travel.

If you’re travelling with your pet back to the UK from a country outside of the EU, then you’ll need a ‘third-country’ official vet certificate – you can get this from the country you’re in.

A guide to pet passports

How much will it cost?

The cost of a pet passport is anywhere in the region from £25-£50 for cats and £150-£250 for dogs, depending on your vet surgery. You’ll need to think about the cost of any vaccines or boosters your pet might need before travelling as well. If you have a dog, you’ll also need to treat it for tapeworm before you travel.

How long does it last?

Your pet’s passport is valid for your pet’s lifetime (or if your pet is a frequent flyer, until all the pages have run out). If you’re travelling through the EU, you’ll need your pet’s passport to hand as some checks may be made.

What else do I need to think about if I take my pet abroad?

Simply book your dog or cat an appointment with your vet surgery. You’ll need to think about the cost of the passport as well as any additional procedures that will be advised by your vet. You’ll need to make sure:

- Your pet has been vaccinated against rabies and you need to wait at least 21 days after this before you travel (the first day of vaccination is day 0, not day 1)

- Your pet is at least 12 weeks old (this is the earliest that they can be vaccinated against rabies)

- Your pet has been microchipped before it has its rabies vaccination (by law, all dogs must be chipped anyway)

- Your dog has had a tapeworm treatment no less than 24 hours and no more than five days before coming back to the UK
- You can’t bring more than five pets to the UK unless you’re attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event. You’ll need written evidence of registration for the event when you travel.

Guide and assistance dogs

Guide and assistance dogs must also meet the normal pet travel rules for travelling with dogs. However, they’re allowed on more routes than those with pets, such as inside the airplane cabin. Check with the airline, rail operator, ferry or cruise company for any extra conditions you need to be aware of before you travel inside or outside the EU.
The Guide Dogs Association website has advice about taking assistance dogs abroad.

Pets abroad or a staycation?

If you’re taking your pet abroad, think carefully about what it, and you, might be getting up to. Even if you think you’re going to be relaxing in the sun or taking gentle strolls along the beach, you might want to make sure you’re covered for all eventualities.

The benefits of a pet passport is that it’s a one-off cost. On average, it can cost from £200-£300 every holiday to keep your dog at the kennels or with a pet sitter. It’s a good idea to compare your options; see what suits you and your pet best.

I had to get a pet passport for my cat Angel for a move to Ireland. Initially, I was really worried that it would cost loads and be a lengthy process, but it was so quick and easy. She’s such an old and timid cat, which concerned me, but the vet carried out a full health check and said she should be fine; he had no major concerns. She had her rabies vaccination, got microchipped and we were good to go. She was perfectly calm on the ferry over and slept in the cat box in the car. Now I know the process is so easy, if I had a dog I would be happy to take it on a city break or to visit family instead of putting the dog in kennels; I definitely see the benefits.” – Cat owner, Deirdre Whybrow.

Not all policies cover your pet outside of the UK, so double check the policy to make sure you have the right cover in place before travelling. So why not compare the market for pet insurance and while you’re here, make sure you’re covered too by comparing travel insurance from our trusted suppliers – you’d be barking mad not to.

Compare pet insurance

Get a pet insurance quote and start saving now

Get a quote