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Back You are here: Home Legal and Finance Legal Bringing your Pets to Bulgaria

Bringing your Pets to Bulgaria

Making the decision to leave the UK is sometimes difficult when you associate it with saying goodbye to friends and family and many people cannot bear the thought of leaving their favoured family pet behind, however the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) now enables those who wish to emigrate from the UK to take their beloved pets with them. The scheme means that pets are no longer faced with long periods of quarantine and you can simply move your pet, family and furniture all in one go.

The Pet Travel Scheme

Under the Pet Travel Scheme dogs, cats and ferrets can enter any European Union country without the need for quarantine. The scheme has been designed to allow pets to travel whilst stopping the spread of rabies and other diseases. Many non-EU destinations also belong to the PETS scheme, which is good news if you are driving to Bulgaria and intend to enter non-EU countries like Croatia.

Pets must have their own passport, available from any registered vetinary surgery and must be fitted with a microchip in order to travel outside of the UK. If you intend to return to the UK with your pet it must also be vaccinated against rabies, be blood tested by a European Union approved laboratory, not have visited any non-approved countries or territories for at least six months before re-entry and be treated for tapeworm and ticks, not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before checking in with a PETS-approved carrier for the journey back to the UK.

Travelling Through Serbia

As many of us opt to take the shorter route into Bulgaria via the former Yugoslavian state of Serbia,the rules are now clearer and simpler. Although Serbia is not part of the PETS scheme,the requirements to travel through the country with pets are very similar. A microchip is not as yet required but if you have travelled to or from the U.K your pet will already be microchipped and it is,however good policy to have this. The animal must have been vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before entry into Serbia. You must also have a reputable Vet provide you with a veterinary certificate to allow your pet entry into Serbia. This certificate should be completed by your vet no more than 14 days prior to entry.

PETS-Approved Carriers

If you don’t fancy driving your moggie across Europe, you can book their trip with a PETS-approved carrier, which will use a PETS-approved route. You need to book in advance as space is allotted on a first-come-first-served basis. More details and a list of carriers can be found at www.defra.gov.uk. Owners must also sign a declaration of residency.

Making Your Pet More Comfortable for Transportation.

If you are driving over to Bulgaria then your pet can lie comfortably on your back seat if you wish. However, if you are transporting your pet by rail, sea or air you need to plan ahead to make their trip more comfortable. Firstly, ensure that your pet is fit and healthy and able to withstand the journey. Pets are required to travel in a carrying container, which is well ventilated and has enough space for them to stand up in. Let them try this container out a few times before you travel. Help your pet settle in the container by adding one of their blankets or cushions or something, which smells familiar into the container.

Prepare a light meal around two hours before they travel. Walk your pet around to give them the chance to go to the toilet before they enter the carrying container. Ensure there is enough food and water in the container to cover the pet for the journey.

Pets travelling by air are usually transported in the hold. However, guide dogs and other assistance dogs are able to travel in the cabin with their owner.

Fluffy Bunnies and Pet Mice

It’s not just dogs, cats and ferrets that are able to travel outside of the UK. Pet rabbits and rodents are also able to travel between EU countries and are not subject to any requirements particularly with regard to rabies. Other animals are also exempt of any regulations within the EU unless they are endangered species or poultry. In fact farm animals are not classed as domestic pets and are not covered in this article.

Driving Your Pet

Many expats have made this experience and most were surprised at how easy it was to gain access to Bulgaria with a pet on board. Stuart and Susan Hale, who raced greyhounds in the UK drove over from Portsmouth in a minibus with nine dogs and three cats and said that most borders didn’t even look at the pet passports. The most important thing about driving with pets is to make regular stops for the pet to drink water and get some exercise. Never leave your pet unattended in your car for long periods and always ensure they have adequate ventilation if you do pop away for a few minutes.