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How to travel with your pet (the EU/UK edition)

Hoping to travel aboard with your furry friend? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Understanding your rights around travelling with a pet can be confusing. Particularly because the rules can vary from country to country. Brexit has also made the situation more complicated if you’re planning to travel to or from Great Britain.

But we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out how to travel with your pet to and from the EU and UK.

Travelling from Great Britain to the EU

If you are travelling from Great Britain to the EU with your pet, you must make sure that he or she is microchipped. They also require a valid rabies vaccination, animal health certificate (AHC) (scroll down for more details on AHCs) and a tapeworm treatment if travelling to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta.

These rules also apply to assistance dogs. For extra reassurance, you should check the rules of the country you’re travelling to before travelling. Some countries may have additional requirements.

Travelling from the EU to Great Britain

If you’re travelling to Great Britain from the EU, you must make sure that your dog or cat is microchipped. Your pet must also have a pet passport or health certificate and proof of rabies vaccination. Dogs are usually required to have a tapeworm treatment, too.

Your pet must arrive in Great Britain within 5 days of your arrival and you must use an approved route. Failure to follow these rules could result in a 4-month quarantine requirement on arrival. You may also be refused entry and subject to fees and charges.

Always check that the company you’re travelling with will accept your pet for travel and if there are any limits on the number of pets travelling. It’s also worth checking whether they require proof that your pet is fit and healthy to travel. This could be via a pet passport or a confirmation letter from your vet. 

What are pet passports?

Pet passports are legal documents containing important details about your pet. They include the pet’s name, date of birth, registered microchip number and vaccination record. Pet passports also include a description of the pet and the owner’s contact details. 

Pet passports issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland are valid for travel in the EU and Great Britain. However, pet passports are no longer issued in Great Britain as a result of Brexit. If you already have a pet passport that was issued in Great Britain prior to Brexit, it is no longer valid. Travelling from Great Britain to an EU country or Northern Ireland now requires an animal health certificate.

What is an animal health certificate?

As of 1 January 2021, animal health certificates are required for pet travel from England, Scotland or Wales to an EU Country and Northern Ireland. The document will include proof of pet vaccinations, owner details and the country you’re travelling to. 

Each trip to the EU or Northern Ireland from Great Britain requires a new animal health certificate. They are issued from a licensed veterinarian and cost around £100. You must obtain an animal health certificate no more than 10 days before your date of travel.

Do you need travel insurance for your pet?

Travel insurance is not a legal requirement when travelling with your pet. However, it is highly recommended as it will protect you if something goes wrong while you’re abroad. Not only will it make life easier, but it could save you significant sums of money.

Many big insurance companies offer pet cover at an additional cost. Some policies are limited to travel within certain countries so always check the fine print. 

And remember, always double-check the requirements of the country you’re travelling to and the company you’re travelling with prior to travelling! It’ll save you any hassle and awkwardness when it comes to making your journey.

Safe travels! We hope your pets enjoy their adventures.


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