When it’s time to take a well deserved holiday with your dog, planning needs to start far in advance. Your pet’s documents and vaccinations need to be complete, accurate and current. There are many documents required for traveling with your pet. Owners must be sure to research the requirements for the country they are going to so they can breeze through customs, clear borders, and be able to board planes without any issues. One way to do this is to obtain a Pet Passport for Your Dog.

Everything You Need To Know About Pet Passports

how to get a pet passport

What is a Pet Passport?

A pet passport is an official registration document that contains valuable information about the pet that is traveling, the registered owner, and some other health related aspects. It includes certification of rabies vaccination, and possibly other items such as blood tests, and tick and worm treatments. It will also include a description of your pet including any markings. The format of the Pet Passport is the same in all Europen countries. The Pet Passport will last a lifetime as long as you keep the rabies vaccines up to date. Customs officials will need to see these documents to clear your pet for travel, and the inconvenience caused by losing them can be significant.

When Did Pet Passports Start?

Pet Passports started after the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) was developed in 2001 in The United Kingdom.  According to USA Today, it now a program used by a group of countries, including the United States and nations in the European Union. The primary purpose of the scheme is to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other foreign diseases that transmit through biting insects and ticks. Our pets are susceptible to these exotic diseases which in most cases are not easily treated and can often prove fatal. The system allows animals to travel easily between member countries without undergoing quarantine.

Part of this plan is requiring a Pet Passport. The Pet Passport officially records information related to a particular animal, in the context of the PETS procedure. Sometimes you will hear the Pet Passport referred to as a health certificate. What is important is that all the documents are complete, accurate and held together in one place so your pet can quickly leave and re-enter their home country.

do I need a pet passport

What Countries in The European Union Have the Same Pet Passport Standards?

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and for now the UK as well.

If you are bringing your pet in from a country outside the European Union, then odds are you will need an official veterinary certificate as well.

What Does a Pet Passport Look Like?

The Pet Passport is usually a small blue book that looks very similar to a human passport. There is a page for the insertion of a photograph of your dog, but this is optional as microchip achieves identification. The member state of the European Union is included on the Pet Passport.

Ultimate guide to pet passports

How Much Does a Pet Passport Cost?

The cost will depend on your veterinarian’s fees, the fees for microchipping, and fees for completing forms. There will always be a trip to the vet just before travel for a health certificate. Other tests such as tapeworm, internal/external parasites, microchips, and blood titer tests, if required, will affect the cost. Many countries also require an Import Permit, and they will charge for processing it. It is important to research the in-country rules where you are traveling and prepare yourself with all the necessary documents.

Where Do I Buy A Pet Passport?

If you reside in another country such as the US and want an official Pet Passport to organize your documents, we have put together this list of passports that you can purchase online:

Pet Passport From Barnes And Noble

pet passports

Personalized Pet Passports from Zazzle

The Pet Pass from Etsy
If you are interested in knowing more about the Pet Passport Regulations in the United States, this article will prove useful: US Pet Passport Regulations – Traveling with Your Dog To The United States. 

What Are The Restrictions To Traveling With Your Dog?

Pets cannot travel if they are younger than four months old. Although the rules vary among countries, some nations do not permit dogs to enter if vaccinated for rabies fewer than 21 days before. Some countries also stipulate tapeworm treatment for dogs between 24 and 120 hours before travel. It is important always to check the rules of the country you are going to.

How Do You Get A Pet Passport?

Here are the guidelines that need to follow so your pet can receive a Pet Passport:

  • The pet must be at least three months of age
  • They must be a permanent microchip under the skin. In the UK the standard implantation site for microchips is in the midline between the shoulder blades, while in other European countries it is more commonly done on the left side of the neck.
  • The pet must have a rabies vaccination.
  • Although the Pet Passports can be issued following the rabies vaccination, the UK requires a further three week qualification period before the passport is valid for travel from or entry into the UK.

Does Every Country Require A Pet Passport?

No, but having one will make your life much easier. Outside of the EU, the Pet Passport is just a term that represents the documentation needed to take your pet to other countries. Customs officials will need to see these documents, and the inconvenience of losing them can be significant. Knowing what is required to enter the country you are traveling to and makes for a more enjoyable trip.

For more information about country specific rules and regulations, visit Pettravel.com. This website has travel information for over 240 countries.

Does Having a Pet Passport Avoid Quarintine?

No. Some countries require quarantine regardless, especially if you are traveling from a country that classified as a “high rabies country.” There are three different level of rabies classifications, and this is important to know when traveling with your pet. The key to avoiding delays at the border and quarantine when traveling with your pet is to have your pet passport complete and accurate for the countries you are visiting.

Overall, PETS and Pet Passports allow for much easier travel between countries in the European Union. Talk to your veterinarian before taking any holidays with your dog to make sure you have the proper documentation. Always allow lots of extra time when gathering documentation and vaccines before travel. Holidays with your dog create memories that you will treasure for a lifetime. Having your pet’s documents in order will make those memories even better.

Did you find this article useful? If so, please SHARE it with anyone interested in learning more about Pet Passports!

Lynn Steinberg

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