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This site explains what you have to do to bring your pet dog, cat or ferret into (or back into) the UK through the Pet Travel Scheme (or PETS for short) without putting it into quarantine. It also explains the requirements for bringing many other types of pet animals into the UK.

No Quarantine (PETS)

For years British pets had a raw deal: where their owners could freely move about the world, they had to stay with friends or in kennels. But since 2000 and the launch of the Pet Travel Scheme... Your pets can go too!

Yes, there are a few hoops to jump through - but pet owners know that feeling well enough. With a little research and a helpful vet, your animal will be made very welcome indeed.

And it's not just Spain... the restrictions on pet travel are all imposed by the UK - so what you're doing is buying the ability to bring your pet back to the UK from all countries signed up to the PETS scheme without fear of a lengthy quarantine period. So, once your pet has its documentation you'll be able to take them with you pretty much wherever you go in Europe! No quarantine!

No more Quarantine for our animal friends!

PETS is operated under the auspices of DEFRA - the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. There is some bureaucracy to be negotiated, but your family vet (who knows your pet's medical history) will be able to talk you through the process, carry out the necessary procedures and help you with the paperwork.

The PETS Certificate

Once your pet is protected, your vet will be able to sign a PETS certificate and your four legged friend is almost ready to travel - he or she will just need a vet-administered tick and tapeworm treatment between 1 and 2 days before the travel date (your vet will issue a certificate confirming this has been done).

Things to consider

Getting PETS certification takes about 6 months from start to finish, so do plan ahead! Typically it costs about £300 to put a healthy animal through the scheme. Once done, it's simple and inexpensive to keep vaccinations up to date... and it's worth it! You should also see if there are any local pet restrictions where you're going.

Getting there

Currently your pet can't board just any flight. There's a limited number of routes and carriers - so you'll need to make some enquiries. GB Airways flies pets from London to various European destinations including Alicante and Malaga. Contact them on +44-(0)-1293-433-767 or at www.gbairwayscargo.com. Monarch offers a pets' travel service out of Luton, Gatwick and Manchester to Alicante, Malaga and Barcelona. Book online at www.flymonarch.com or call them on +44-(0)-8700-406300. There is also a growing number of specialist pet travel companies such as 'Ladyhaye' who can help with more exotic animals as well as more common pets. Reptiles, birds, aquatic animals and rodents can all travel to Spain too providing they travel in suitable containers. Contact Ladyhaye on +44-(0)-1342-832161 or go to www.ladyhaye.co.uk for more information.

Check-list:

  • The Microchip
  • The Jabs
  • Blood Tests

The microchip

Your dog, cat or ferret (ferrets have been included since July 2004) must have a standard ISO microchip fitted. Most pets have this done soon after birth - it's a painless procedure and it also helps to identify your pet on a national database should they stray, be stolen or get lost in the UK.

The Jabs?

Your pet will have to be vaccinated against rabies. Don't worry, though - it's just a course of injections, and it's a sensible precaution against the disease spreading into the UK or within Europe. Your pet must be at least 3 months old and already have a identity microchip fitted.

Blood tests?

A blood test is needed after 30 days to confirm that the rabies vaccination has been successful.

You'll have to wait 6 months before your pet can re-enter the UK, and parasite prevention treatments will be required each time your pet travels to the UK.

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