We Brits are well known for our love of pets – so news that travel restrictions relating to pets are to be overhauled will come as welcome news to many.

Travellers will now be able to take their pets abroad with them on holiday or business trips, bringing relief to many who were forced to put off breaks due to being unable to take their pet along.

Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, is behind the plans to overhaul the “outdated rules which have caused hardship to generations of pets and pet owners,” and is expected to announce the exact changes to the restrictions tomorrow, Thursday 7 July.

From the beginning of next year, alongside Brits finding it easier to travel with their pets, Europeans will find it far easier to bring their pets to Blighty. The far more relaxed EU “pet movement” scheme is expected to be adopted by the UK, which will shorten the amount of time and lessen the cost that pet owners wishing to take their pets abroad and those wishing to bring them here, must currently put up with.

Currently, Brits need their pets to have a Pet Passport and an anti-rabies jab prior to travel, and the animal then has to have an expensive blood test and be microchipped six months before the date of re-entering the UK. In some cases, pets end up quarantined because they do not have required paperwork.

However, from 1 January 2012, pets travelling within the EU – and parts of the world deemed to be “safe,” such as North America and Australasia – will only have to wait 21 days from the date of the rabies jab before travelling. Blood tests are due to be phased out altogether.

However, those wanting to take pets to parts of South America and Asia – which are deemed to have a high rabies risk – and then bring them home – will still be subject to the stricter rules. Currently, pets have to be vaccinated and put into quarantine for six months before returning home to the UK, however, this will be shortened slightly to four months.

Caroline Spelman said: “The UK’s quarantine system was designed to combat the threat of rabies in the 19th century and has now been left far behind by scientific advances.

“It’s time we changed these outdated rules which have caused hardship to generations of pets and pet owners, and those who rely on assistance dogs, with too many animals cooped up unnecessarily,” she added.

Currently, around 100,000 travellers use the pet passport scheme to take their animals on holiday or on work trips each year. The new rules will open the gates for far more pet owners to obtain Pet Passports for their beloved animals, and will also save those who already hop off on holiday with their pets a vast amount of cash.

The savings are estimated to sit at around £7 million overall, as many pet owners are currently being charged up to £100 a pop for a single blood test for their animal.

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About the author

Oonagh ShielContent Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!

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