Pet owners wanting to take their dogs, cats or ferrets abroad with them this year should consult a vet well in advance to get all the necessary paperwork in order, the British Veterinary Association advises.
The warning follows concerns over pent-up demand for overseas pet travel at a time when the veterinary profession is facing a workforce shortage and there is an increased demand on other vet services.
Under post-Brexit rules, pet owners must obtain an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) from a vet trained to issue them no more than 10 days before travel from Great Britain to the European Union. Unlike the older and much simpler pet passports, AHCs are 9-12 pages long, which translates into a much more complex, time-consuming and costly paperwork process. A pet travel consult at the vets is now taking around 45 minutes to an hour and even longer where there are multiple animals.
The rules for the new paperwork are set by the EU and cannot be changed by the UK government, but BVA is asking the government to help vets complete the certificates, for example, by issuing a simplified checklist to help speed up the process and avoid any common mistakes.
BVA is hearing from its members that some pet owners are leaving it too late to book an appointment and is asking owners to plan well in advance of any overseas trips.