There is detailed guidance on taking your pets abroad on the Directgov website. The scheme allows you to travel abroad freely with your pet without the need for quarantine – although your pet can return to the UK only after 6 months have elapsed since it has had a rabies vaccination. I will outline the basic process of getting a pet passport as well as some money and time saving hints.
Getting a passport for your pet is a long-winded beaurocratic rigmarole to say the least. Make sure you leave plenty of time (at least 2 months) to get a pet passport organised so that you aren't running around like a headless chicken like I was at the last moment trying to get the last bits of paperwork through.
Fitting your pet with a microchip is the first step. This is a pretty standard thing for new pets in the UK these days, but if they haven't had it done it takes about five minutes and about £30, although prices vary wildly and there are often offers for free microchipping, especially online. If you are a pensioner or on some benefits it is definitely free!
The next step is getting a rabies jab. I think you can get this and microchipping done at the same time. The rabies vaccine is a single injection with a gianormous needle. Then you come back in three weeks' time to test that the vaccine is in effect – note that it is essential to come back in three weeks, as if you leave it later there is less of a chance that the test will give a negative result. My vet didn't tell me this which was frustrating as the rabies jab and test are very expensive, in excess of £100 for each dog.
You should get a call in a few weeks' time saying that the tests came back okay and that the passport should be ready in approximately one week. When you collect the passport an additional fee applies here, a shocking quantity for what it is: essentially a paperback notepad onto which the vet shall scribble in biro your pet's name, its microchip number and your name.
Another detail of which my vet didn't inform me but I found out from extensive research is that you must gain the original certificate of the rabies vaccination and blood test... having the pet passport isn't enough (probably because it looks so unofficial!). Although without a background in microbiology I doubt many english people would understand the vaccination certificate let alone anyone that speaks another language...
Tom drove over to Bulgaria from the UK with Alfie and Audrey and at no point did anyone ask to see their passports (neither did anyone ask to see his until Romania! Read the full four-day account here), which demonstrates just how far and seriously this piece of documentation is taken. Although to be fair it is in its infancy and its function – to minimise the spread of rabies – is a good one. My only qualm was that we shelled out approximately £200 per dog for a flimsy notepad that noone seemed to be interested in! We shall see whether it is actually more critical on the journey back to the UK... we'll keep you posted!
|Last Updated on Monday, 19 October 2009 19:47|