The UK’s strict quarantine rules for pets entering the UK from abroad have been relaxed from January 1, 2012.
From this date the UK’s pet movement rules will be harmonised with the rest of the European Union, making it cheaper and easier for owners to travel with their pets.
Pets coming into the UK will no longer have to spend six months in quarantine. However, all pets will still need to be vaccinated against rabies.
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.
Outdated rules have caused hardship to generations of pets and owners, with too many cooped up unnecessarily.
Pets from the EU and listed non-EU countries such as the USA and Australia will no longer need a blood test and will only have to wait 21 days before they travel.
Pets from unlisted non-EU countries such as India, Brazil and South Africa will be able to enter the UK if they meet strict criteria to make sure they are protected against rabies.
The requirements include a blood test and a three month wait before they enter the UK.
Under the new rules, pets returning to the UK will no longer have to be treated for ticks.
Pet owners travelling abroad with their animals should discuss anti-tick treatments with their vets.
Tapeworm controls for dogs are to stay, with a requirement that animals be treated between one and five days before returning to the UK.