Header image

The Future of Pet Travel

Under the current EU Pet Travel Scheme pet owners can apply for an EU ‘pet passport’, which enables them to travel freely within the EU with their dog, cat or even ferret. 

What’s more, some pet insurance policies include ‘pets abroad’ cover as standard for travel to and from the EU.

However, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it’s likely this will change.

Given that - according to a MoneySuperMarket survey** - three out of five pet owners (63%) are not confident that they understand the current regulations, and two thirds (67%) are not aware that existing pet passports may become invalid, we have set out to help demystify what could happen.

Header image

This resource aims to outline the current process for travelling with your pet, and to provide guidance on what may be needed to travel abroad with your pet when the UK leaves the EU. It also examines current sentiment with regards to pet travel, using consumer survey data, and provides links to key resources elsewhere for those interested in finding out more.

Current cost of travelling with your pet

Currently, entry to most EU countries with your pet is straightforward thanks to pet passports. 

Pet passports are issued under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. This allows pet owners to take dogs, cats and ferrets to EU countries and return with them to the UK without the requirement for quarantine on re-entry as long as they are vaccinated against rabies.

Under the scheme, it can cost a total of £112.60 to legally travel with your pet. 

Header image

How much of this will change when we leave the EU will depend on whether or not we leave with a deal. If we do leave the EU with a deal, it's possible that these arrangements will continue until at least 2020, while we have what's known as a 'transition period’.

Change in process and cost if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, however, EU pet passports will no longer be valid and the process of travelling with your pet may require extra tests and new documentation, meaning costs are likely to rise. 

These changes could affect the number of people travelling with their pet. In fact, according to our research, 41% of those who have travelled or would travel with their pet say an increase in costs would discourage them from planning such a trip in future. 

Header image

Costs could increase to over £200, a figure 77% of those who have travelled or would travel with their pet say they would be unwilling to exceed.

On average, pet owners say the maximum they would be willing to pay to be able to travel abroad with their pet is £125, which is roughly the current cost.

Header image

When the UK leaves the EU it will become a ‘third country’, and the change in process and cost will depend on what category it becomes. In the EU Pet Travel Scheme, there are three categorisations of third country:

1

Part 1 listed

1

Part 2 listed

1

Unlisted

The process for travelling with your pet to the EU under each of these categories will be different, and these differences will have their own cost implications. 

It’s worth noting that if you are travelling with a dog to EU tapeworm free countries (Finland, Republic of Ireland and Malta), regardless of what category the UK becomes, your dog will need to have tapeworm treatment.

Part 1 listed country status

This scenario will see the least change from the current system, with the main difference being that the current EU pet passport will be replaced by a new UK pet passport. 

It is unclear at this stage how much this new pet passport will cost, but assuming it is similar to the EU document, the overall cost should not change dramatically.

Important elements of the process are:

  • You must have your pet microchipped (£20)
  • You must have your pet vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel (£32.60)
  • You must apply for a new document, the UK pet passport (current EU pet passport cost - £60)

Part 2 listed country status

If the UK becomes a Part 2 listed country, the process will be slightly different in that you would be required to get a new animal health certificate, rather than a pet passport. The certificate is valid for four months only and you’ll need a new certificate for each trip to the EU. 

In comparison, the current pet passport remains valid for life provided rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.

Important elements of the process are:

  • You must have your pet microchipped (£20)
  • You must have your pet vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel (£32.60)
  • You must get an animal health certificate (cost unknown, but could be around £60)

Unlisted

This categorisation would see the biggest change to both the process and cost. As with the Part 2 listed categorisation the animal health certificate would replace the pet passport, but your pet must also have a blood test at least 30 days after its rabies vaccination to ensure there is a sufficient level of antibodies in the blood stream.

This additional blood test will need to be provided by an EU-approved blood testing laboratory, such as BioBest or APHA, both of which list the cost at around £50. However prices may vary, and some pet owners have been quoted around £150 or even more.

You’ll need to wait at least three months from the date the successful blood test was carried out before you can travel.

You’ll need proof of the blood test result as well as your pet’s vaccination history and its microchipping date before you can get an animal health certificate. Again, you’ll need a new certificate for each trip to the EU and it is only valid for four months.

Important elements of the process are:

  • You must have your pet microchipped (£20)
  • You must have your pet vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel (£32.60)
  • Your pet must have a rabies blood test (often referred to as the FAVN test or RNATT) (could cost between £50 - £170)
  • You must get an animal health certificate no more than 10 days before travel (could cost £60)

You can find more detail on how the process might change on the government website here.

Header image

How leaving the EU could affect holiday planning

If the UK becomes an unlisted ‘third country’, travellers will need to be aware that the required extra steps may mean a minimum wait of around four months before you can travel with your pet. 

This could require a change in behaviour given that 97% of pet owners typically plan their holiday less than four months in advance, with the average being only two and a half months (79 days) - a month and a half less than the time that would be required.

The key steps that may affect the time required to plan your trip are:

1

You must arrange to have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, if you haven’t done so already

1

Your pet must have a blood test at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination to measure if the immune response has been adequate

1

Following the blood test, you’ll have to wait at least 3 months before you can travel

1

Once you have proof of microchipping, vaccination and adequate immune response you must get a health certificate from an official vet

It’s also important to be aware that the result of the blood test may not be successful first time around, which could double the time you have to wait before travelling. If this is the case you will need to repeat steps 2 and 3 before you can obtain your health certificate.

In all cases it is important that you speak to your vet at least four months before travelling to get the latest information.

Effect on animal welfare legislation

Whether you currently have a pet, or are thinking of buying one, you should also be aware that animal welfare legislation may change when the UK leaves the EU. 

Around 80% of UK animal welfare legislation originates from the EU via 44 EU animal welfare laws. The current legislation defines minimum standards for animal welfare - four of these laws relate to pets but they also cover other areas such as farm animals and wildlife.

Although some EU law will be incorporated in UK law through the European Union Withdrawal Act, leaving the EU will mean the UK has greater scope to amend this legislation in future. 

While it is not yet clear what, if any, changes might be made, future amendments could affect the legal standards for treatment of pets and animals being imported for commercial sale (including pets), as well as disease control for animals coming to the UK.

How will the UK leaving the EU affect your pet insurance?

At present, some pet insurance policies offer cover for travel to EU countries as standard, but this could change when the UK leaves the European Union. 

If the countries covered and the policy wording were to change, this may have a cost implication for this type of cover - although it is unclear at this stage what this might be. 

But regardless of the outcome of Brexit, pet owners can save up to 65%* on their pet insurance by switching, which may also help to offset any additional costs that are introduced should the UK leave without a deal.

How can I find out more?

As we’ve seen above, when the UK leaves the EU there will be a number of important changes that will affect the cost of travelling with your pet, the length of time you must wait before you travel, the documentation you require and potentially the details of your pet insurance policy.

If you’re planning to head abroad with your pet, it’s therefore a good idea to gather as much information as possible before your trip. This is especially important if you have an assistant pet, and may be unable or unwilling to travel without them.

There are a number of resources that can help you to find what you need, some of which we’ve listed below. The government also recommends that you contact your vet at least four months before you plan to travel to get the latest advice.

Taking your pet abroad 

  • https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad

Pet passports and the PETS scheme

  • https://www.moneysupermarket.com/pet-insurance/pet-passports/
  • http://apha.defra.gov.uk/external-operations-admin/library/documents/exports/ET159.pdf

Pet travel to Europe after Brexit

  • https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit

Microchipping your pet

  • https://www.moneysupermarket.com/pet-insurance/microchipping-your-pet/

Rabies vaccination and serology test

  • https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/rabies-vaccination-boosters-and-blood-tests

The animal health certificate

  • https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pet-travel-certificate-for-movement-of-dogs-cats-and-ferrets-from-third-countries

Pet travel to Europe after Brexit

  • https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit

Animal welfare

  • https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/endcruelty/changingthelaw/brexit

Looking for pet insurance?

Compare quotes from over 25 providers and you could save up to 65%*

*51% of consumers could save up to 65.85% on a lifetime Pet Insurance Policy. Consumer Intelligence, August 2019.

Get a new quote

 

Sources

*51% of consumers could save up to 65.85% on a lifetime Pet Insurance Policy. Consumer Intelligence, August 2019.

**MoneySuperMarket survey of 2,006 nationally representative adults (conducted by Opinium - 23/08/19 - 27/08/19)

https://science.vla.gov.uk/Tests/SearchResults.aspx?SiteName=CDT&PriceListCategoryId=33

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/01/29/brexit-council-article-50-adopts-negotiating-directives-on-the-transition-period/

http://www.biobest.co.uk/rabies.html

http://apha.defra.gov.uk/apha-scientific/services/lab/rabies-serology.htm

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0958/Pet_travel_-_published.pdf

Find this helpful? Why not share this article?