The Pet Travel Scheme came into force in 2000 as a control
measure to prevent rabies, certain tick-borne diseases and tapeworm
from entering the UK via the importation of pets. The scheme
requires pets to meet certain animal health requirements, such as
being vaccinated against rabies, before entering the UK.
Changes to the scheme were introduced in January 2012. The
changes for travel for EU Member States included the removal of the
need to have the dog treated for ticks, reducing the length of time
after vaccination that a dog may enter or return to the UK from six
months to 21 days, and a change in requirement for tapeworm
treatment to be administered between 24 hours and 5 days before
travel, which needs to be certified by a vet, and lastly the
removal of the requirement to blood test the dog before travel.
From December 2014, new requirements on the Pet Travel Scheme
were introduced, including a requirement that dogs must be at least
12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated against rabies for the
purposes of pet travel.
Furthermore, travel to the UK from certain countries outside the
European Union requires a blood test to be carried out after
vaccination and a further waiting time of three months from the
time of the blood test, instead of the previous six months after
the blood test.
Since the Pet Travel Scheme's introduction, there has been an
increase in the number of illegal pets being brought in to the
country. However most of the non-compliance is due to the public
not being aware of the exact treatments needed and the timing of
them. Nevertheless, there has also been a criminal element to
puppies being brought in illegally for sale to the public.
The Kennel Club firmly believes that whilst the Pet Travel
Scheme was originally set up to protect human health, it is also
vital to ensure that owners continue to protect their dogs' health
by taking all precautions, such as carrying out treatment for
Non-commercial transportation of pets
In 2010, the European Commission outlined concerns that the
non-commercial transportation of pets was being used as a disguise
for commercial movement of pets. As a consequence, the Commission
adopted a new Regulation which states that the number of pets
(dogs, cats and ferrets) that can be moved between EU Member States
is limited to five per person accompanying them, unless they are
taking part in a competition, show or sporting event.
Dogs being transported for the purpose of a show, or to
participate in dog-sledding or other competitive sports events,
require a specific health certificate issued by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories
Agency. Applications for the certificate should be made at
least 10 working days prior to the date of travel. The certificate
will be issued direct to a person's nominated veterinarian for
completion within 10 days of the travel date.
Each dog travelling requires a completed and valid pet passport
and to follow the Pet Travel Scheme entry rules. The health
certificate is not evidence in its own right that
the animals meet these rules.
The Kennel Club remains concerned at the extent of the
requirements and will continue to lobby the EU for change - in
particular it would seem sensible to put a lower age limit such
that adult dogs (which are not the area of concern) should be
allowed to be transported in larger numbers, while limits on the
number of young dogs under a specific age (i.e. one year) should be