Travelling to Europe with your Dog

Pet Travel to Europe after Brexit

Leaving your beloved pet behind can be an enormous wrench. so why not bring him/her with you? We have a number of Holiday Villa Owners that are happy to accept pets (see our dog-friendly villas here) – but if you’ve found a perfect place to stay you still need to get there. Travelling between the UK and mainland Europe requires knowing and following some rules so that your pet – and I’m talking dogs and cats here – doesn’t get quarantined anywhere and you don’t get hit with any unexpected charges.

For general information on changes for travellers from the UK to Europe, see Travelling in Europe after Brexit.

The UK will have left the EU by the end of December 2020 so from January 2021 new rules will apply. At the time of writing this, 31st of December 2020, these rules are still undecided. We have a deal, but the Gov.UK site is still listing the No Deal process for travelling with a pat. The three possibilities are detailed below:

Header photo by Joe Caion

Pet Travel between the UK and EU countries after Brexit

At the moment travelling to and from the EU with your pet is simple thanks to the Pet Passport. When we leave, with or without a deal, the UK will become a "third country" and the Pet Passport will become invalid. But it will still be possible to travel to the EU with your pet. There are three categorisations of third country:

  1. unlisted
  2. Part 1 listed
  3. Part 2 listed

We do not yet know which of these categories the UK will fall into. If we exit with no deal, then it's most likely the UK will be "unlisted". In this scenario you'll need to prepare to take your dog abroad at least 4 months before your travel date, and follow the steps detailed below. In the meantime, it's useful to know:

When will Pet Travel Rules change?

The rules of travelling with Pets will not change until the end of the implementation period - that means that for travel in 2020 your EU Pet Passport will still be valid. The UK will cease to be a member of the political institutions of the EU on the 31st January 2020, but the UK will continue to be treated as a member of the single market and customs union and the EU has requested that states with EU trade agreements treat the UK as a member state until the end of transition - which is planned for December 2020.

Pet Travel in the case of a No-Deal Brexit

After December 2020 the UK’s relationship with the EU will be determined by the new agreements it has entered into on trade and other areas of cooperation. In the case that no agreement has been reached we might end up with a "No Deal Brexit". In this case the following rules apply:

A current EU pet passport issued in the UK will not be valid for travel to the EU from 1 January 2021.

  1. You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped and vaccinated against rabies before it can travel. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its last rabies vaccination. Find out more about rabies vaccination boosters and blood tests
  2. Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  3. You must wait 3 months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you travel
  4. Dogs travelling from the UK to EU listed tapeworm free countries (Finland, Ireland and Malta) must be treated for tapeworm before travel.
  5. The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC).

Getting an "animal health certificate"

You will have to take your pet to your vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an animal health certificate (AHC). The AHC needs to be signed by an official vet. Check with your vet that they can issue AHCs for pets.

You must take the Vet proof of:

  1. your pet’s vaccination history
  2. your pet’s microchipping date
  3. a successful rabies antibody blood test result

Once issued, your pet’s AHC will be valid for:

  1. 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
  2. onward travel within the EU for 4 months after the date of issue.
  3. re-entry to the UK for 4 months after the date of issue

So timing is important.

On Arrival in the EU with your Pet

You will need to enter through a designated Point of Entry and present proof of all the documents above: microchip, rabies vaccination, blood test results, tapeworm treatment if required (only needed for Malta, Republic of Ireland or Finland) and the pet's health certificate.

Your pet will need a new health certificate for each trip to the EU

To get a new health certificate you will need to visit your vet no more than 10 days before your travel dates.

Returning to the UK with your Pet

There are no changes to the current regulations for pets entering the UK for the EU after Brexit. Your pet will need:

Check the current UK Gov guidance on pet travel

Dog on the Beach
Happy dog on the beach - Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash

Pet Travel to the EU with a Deal

If the UK exits with a deal it can apply to the EU commission to be listed under Part 1 or Part 2 of the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Pet Travel under Part 1 listed status

Under Part 1 listed status, you will still need to have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel. You’ll need to make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date and make sure your dog has tapeworm treatment if needed.

You will also need a new document, the UK pet passport. You can use this for travel to the EU for your pet’s lifetime (or until full) as long as your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.

Pet Travel under Part 2 listed status

If the UK becomes a Part 2 listed country you will still need to have your pet microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel. You’ll need to make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are kept up to date and make sure your dog has tapeworm treatment if needed, as above.

But there will not be a UK pet passport, so you will need an AHC which you can get from your Vet no more than 10 days before your travel date, providing the microchipping and vaccinations are up to date.

You will need a new AHC for each trip.

Keeping your dog happy when travelling:

It’s also worth remembering that, regardless of the rules, travelling can be upsetting and traumatic for your pets. We recently found a great post about making sure you keep your dog happy:

6 things to remember when travelling with your dog.

See this article for more general advice on driving down to Italy

Pet Travel Helpline

If you would like more help and advice on travelling with your pet to the EU, the UK government has set up a helpline:

Email: [email protected] Telephone: 0370 241 1710 Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm (closed on bank holidays)

Our list of Pet Friendly Villas to help you find a great place for you to stay with your pets.

Toby the Dog
Our dog Toby showing a stick what's what...

Training your dog

When you're finally in your villa, why not use the time to teach your dog some new tricks? While we were researching this article we came across this great guide on training your dog to rollover. It's a very comprehensive guide and breaks the whole process down into steps, to the point where I thought even our dog Toby might give it a go.

Guide to training your dog to roll-over

Rolling dog
Photo by James Haworth on Unsplash

Finding a Pet Friendly Villa

Finally, you have to find out where to stay – have a look at our selection of villas in Italy and France for your dog friendly holidays

Ask us about Dog Friendly Villas

Dog Friendly Villas

I will leave these here for reference, though they no longer apply after the 31st of December 2020.

Pet Travel to the EU during an implementation period

If a deal is agreed and an implementation period is confirmed, you can travel with your pet to the EU under the current pet travel rules using your current UK issued EU pet passport.

If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you’ll have to visit your vet to get a pet passport.

UK-EU PET TRAVEL RULES (do not apply after 31/12/20)

There are a number of long-winded regulatory documents that you could read if you wish, but, provided you’re travelling with up to 5 dogs and not for animal commercial purposes, you’ll find everything you need on the Defra website: dog travelling routes.

Here are the main principles you’ll have to follow:

1. Microchip

This shouldn’t be a problem as it’s already a requirement in the UK. If you have just got your dog, or haven’t got round to doing it, your vet can do this, usually for a fee of around £10 – £15. There is more information here: get your dog microchipped.

Travelling with Toby
Toby and Oliva playing

2. Pet Passport

You’ll need a Pet Passport – again, your vet can issue this. The passport is effectively a recognised record of your pet’s identity and its vaccinations, so when you go to your Vet you’ll need to take your pet, its identity and vaccination records and any rabies blood test results (if you have them). Make sure that your pet’s passport has all the following sections filled out:

3. Rabies Vaccination

This has to be done at least 21 days before your date of travel so make sure the vaccination is up to date.

4. Tapeworm Treatment

This has to be done from 1 to 5 days before you return to the UK. The treatment has to be certified by a vet in your pet passport under Echinococcus treatment, with both date and time recorded. Your dog can be put into quarantine if you don’t follow this rule so it’s an important one. We can help you find a vet near your villa if you wish.

5. Travel Routes

Lastly, you can only use certain routes and companies to enter the UK – you should check them here: Approved Sea and Air Routes for Pet Travel.

It’s worth checking as, at the time of writing, EasyJet does not transport pets or animals in the hold of their plane. Ryanair does, as do British airways.

Most Ferry companies seem to and the Eurotunnel is also Pet friendly. And probably the kindest way to transport a pet as you get to stay with them. For more information on looking after your pet when you travel, have a look at this RSPCA factsheet (this is a PDF download)

And that’s it: