Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Getting a passport for the sea dog

The sea dog became just a little bit saltier last week when he picked up his first passport.

Some of you will be aware that Britain has very strict rules about the import of animals and of course we do not know yet what will happen in the future as anything everything to do with us and mainland Europe is currently ‘under discussion’ because of Brexit. Passports can be obtained for dogs, cats and ferrets; other animals have different guidance. Horses have a similar scheme but I’m yet to meet a cruiser with a pet horse on board.

Getting the passport done in Plymouth – an ocean city with a constantly changing population - was easier than last time having it done in a small Somerset village. It is important to check with your vet before booking the appointment as not every vet does passports. It may also have helped that this time we had more idea what was needed from experience rather than just internet research. Our vet is part of a group with practices dotted around the outlying towns and a main animal hospital in the city itself so we were sent there to make sure that it was a correctly certified vet who carried out the vaccinations. Apparently the dog was slightly reluctant to go in. Maybe he remembers the last time that he went there and left feeling rather sore in a delicate place after a minor op.

You really need to start planning as early as possible. The dog needs to be at least 15 weeks old and be microchipped. Rabies and tapeworm treatment are the two biggies that they are mostly worried about and the timings of the vaccination followed by the blood tests to check it has taken have to be right. You have to have the original document to show on demand but it’s a good idea to have a photocopy or scan just in case something happens to the original. Whilst the rules can be a pain I’d also rather not see rabies in this country which sort of makes it more reasonable jumping through the hoops. For tapeworm treatment it has to be done at least 24 hours and no more than 120 days before (re)entering the country. The tapeworm treatment has to be approved for the country you are coming from.

Having a passport for the dog means that we will be able to take him to mainland Europe without too much hassle. Coming back is slightly trickier. All animals have to be imported through an official channel such as an airport or ferry terminal. This means that we couldn’t just pop over to France for the weekend on the boat with the dog without him then having to go into quarantine when we got back. If travelling with someone else through an official entry point whilst you move the boat, they have to get to the country no more than 5 days before or after you and have your written permission.

We’re not shipshape enough for popping anywhere for weekends at the moment anyway but its nice to have another thing ticked off the list moving us towards throwing off the ropes for some more trips on the water.

I wrote before about travelling with our old dog, you can find that blog here

There is a pet travel scheme helpline 0370 241 1710 (available Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm UK time (closed Bank Holidays))

There is also loads of information on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/pet-passport

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