The Pet Passport Scheme is in place so that you can travel from the UK to warmer climates with your dog. You no longer have to leave the poor fellow in the kennels – he or she can come with you. Incidentally, we’re talking about trips to Europe via a Channel crossing – anything involving a plane journey is more complicated and needs to be separately considered.
The main thing to get your head around is the paperwork. You need to see your vet to have your dog vaccinated against rabies and to have the dog chipped if he or she isn’t already. After the vaccination has been given, a blood sample is taken and it is the date on which the vet receives a satisfactory result from that blood test (ie that it proves that the dog has accepted the rabies antibodies) which is important. You can go abroad with your dog at any point after that date but you cannot come back into the UK until six months later. So, plan ahead. If you know that you want to go abroad in, say, May, you need to be seeing your vet for the rabies jab and the blood test at least six months before then.
Your vet will issue you a passport for your pet which you must keep safely. It is this document which you will need to get through Pet Passport Control before you return to the UK. You will need to see a vet in the port from which you are travelling back to the UK between 24 and 48 hours before your crossing. The vet will give your dog worm and tick treatment and check the dog is fit for travel and will complete the relevant parts of the passport which will see you through Pet Passport Control.
But there are other things to consider – creepie crawlies abroad that we don’t get here (processionary caterpillars and sandflies for example). And you need to think about heartworm and lungworm – again, we don’t get these things in the UK and you will need to protect your dog from these parasites.