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Can I Take My Dog Abroad?

August 1, 2020

Since the UK left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, what does this mean for travelling abroad with a dog? Here’s our brief guide to taking your dog abroad post Brexit. 

The good news is that your dog will still be able to join you on European holidays but there will be some changes under the PETS Travel Scheme because the UK will no longer be a member of the EU. However, these changes will not come into effect until 1 January 2021, following the transition period.

Travelling abroad with a dog during the transition period

During the transition period, you will be able to travel with your dog using their existing EU pet passport. If you are travelling abroad with your dog for the first time, you will need to get a pet passport from an authorised vet. If your vet does not issue pet passports, you can ask them to recommend one.

Travelling abroad with a dog after 1 January 2021

After 1 January 2021, the UK will regarded as a third country. In the EU pet travel scheme, there are three types of third country. These are :

  • Unlisted
  • Part 1 listed
  • Part 2 listed

The UK has applied to the European Commissioned to be a listed country.

What will happen if the UK becomes an unlisted country?

If you are planning to take your dog abroad you will need to start planning four months in advance – a current EU pet passport issued in the UK will not be valid for travel to the EU from 1 January 2021.

Here’s what you will need to do: 

  • Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and microchipped
  • Have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after your dog’s last rabies vaccination. The sample would then need to be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory
  • Wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel
  • Get from your vet, no more than 10 days before you travel, an animal health certificate. You will need proof of your dog’s vaccination history, their microchipping date and the result of the rabies antibody blood test. 

Your dog’s animal health certificate will be valid: 

  • for 10 days for entry into the EU from the date of issue
  • four months after issue for onward travel within the EU
  • for return to the UK within four months from the date of issue

There are additional requirements for travelling to Finland, the Republic of Ireland and Malta. Your dog will need to be treated for tapeworm 1-5 days before arrival in one of these countries. This information must then be added by your vet to your dog’s animal health certificate. 

What to do when you arrive in the EU

When you arrive in the EU, if you are travelling with your dog you will need to enter through a designated Travellers’ point of entry (TPE).  You will need to present proof of your dog’s: 

  • Microchip
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Successful blood test results
  • Tapeworm treatment (if required)
  • Animal health certificate

Your dog will require a new animal health certificate each time they travel to Europe. But you won’t need to repeat the test for rabies provided you have had a successful blood test and an up-to-date subsequent rabies vaccination history. 

What will happen if the UK becomes a listed country?

The requirements for dog owners planning to travel to Europe with their dogs will depend on whether the UK becomes a Part 1 of Part 2 listed country.

For both Part 1 and Part 2 listed countries, you must have your dog microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel. Your dog’s rabies vaccination will need to be kept up to date. Your dog will also need to be treated for tapeworm if travelling to Finland, the Republic of Ireland or Malta. 

If the UK becomes a part 1 listed country you would need to apply for a UK pet passport. This would replace your dog’s existing EU pet passport. This will be valid for your dog’s lifetime, provided their rabies vaccinations are kept up to date. 

If the UK becomes a part 2 listed country, you will need to get from your vet, 10 days before you travel, an animal health certificate to confirm that your dog has had a rabies vaccination and is microchipped. 

For more information

Main image photo credit: iStock