Brexit & Our Pets

With all the talk of Brexit, backstops and Deal or No Deal in the media, we have been waiting to hear how the outcome may affect pets travelling abroad.
As yet we have no definite advice from the local Department of Agriculture in NI but recently DEFRA, the GB Department have issued a statement on the possible scenarios encountered.

The statement can be found here:

Basically, my understanding is that what happens with your pet depends on the arrangements made at the time of Brexit itself- ie the end of March 2019.

Being a rabies free country, there’s a decent possibility that very little will change and that pets with a valid passport and up to date rabies vaccinations will be able to travel freely as before.

However, if the Brexit deal labels the UK as an ‘Unlisted Third Country’, similar to the status of India and China at the moment, the paperwork and procedures may cause a lot more hassle than the present situation.

At the moment, a pet travelling to a an Unlisted Third Country needs to have their vaccination for Rabies as usual, but also requires a blood test 30 days later to check that the vaccine has done its job.

It then has to wait a further 3 months before it can travel (to make sure it isn’t already carrying rabies.)


If it came to pass that the UK leaves the EU with third country status, these rules will most likely apply here.


How likely is it that these rules will apply to the UK after Brexit?

DEFRA states that ‘it is confident that the UK will secure a deal with the EU, if there is no deal, it anticipates that, based on the UK’s current health status, it would be able to secure listed status to allow easier movement of pets between the UK and EU.

However, there is chance it will not have secured this status on the day the UK leaves the EU (29 March 2019), meaning a gap of several months when pet owners will need to follow the additional steps listed above to travel.’


What does this mean for pet owners?

This means owners who want to be sure they are able to travel with their pet whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations need to visit the vet at least four months before the date they wish to travel. For example, pet owners who wish to travel on 30 March 2019 would need to visit a vet no later than 28 November 2018.

If you are not travelling until later in 2019, you may be able to hold off until we see what sort of deal is made. However, you should bear in mind that there may be a 4 month wait between Rabies vaccination and travel, which would us up to the end of August 2019.

We will keep an eye out for further developments and will keep you as well informed as we can.