Pet travel after Brexit: What the rules are for pet owners travelling to Europe when transition period ends

From 1 January, people travelling from the UK with pets and assistance dogs will need to ensure they have an animal health certificate.


Inews reports that as the end of the Brexit transition period looms, the question of how the UK leaving the EU affects holidays abroad will once again be on people’s minds.

From visas to health insurance, little is expected to stay the same after 31 December. But what about the rules for taking pets to the continent? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the animal health certificate?

From 1 January, people travelling from the UK to the EU or Northern Ireland with pets and assistance dogs will need to ensure they have an animal health certificate (AHC) 10 days before making the journey. This will replace the pet passport scheme that is currently in place. It means dog, cat and ferret owners must follow new rules, including owners of assistance dogs. This is because the UK will have Part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. The Government is continuing to press the European Commission to secure Part 1 listed status however, stating that the UK currently meets all the requirements for it. There will be no change to the
current health preparations or documents for pets entering Britain from the EU or Northern Ireland.

How do I get an animal health certificate?

The AHC needs to be signed by an official vet no more than 10 days before the planned travel date. To obtain an AHC, check with your vet to see if they issue the certificate.

You must take proof of:

  • your pet’s microchipping date
  • your pet’s vaccination history

Your pet will need a new certificate for each trip to the EU or NI. If it has an up-to-date subsequent rabies vaccination history, you will not need to repeat this.

The health certificate is valid for:

  • 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU or NI
  • onward travel within the EU or NI for four months after the date of issue
  • re-entry to Britain for four months after the date of issue

What other precautions must be taken?

Owners will also have to ensure their animal is microchipped, and protected against certain diseases. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said dogs, cats and ferrets will need to be vaccinated against rabies 21 days before travelling, and dogs must be treated against tapeworm if they are travelling to some countries. If you’re travelling with your dog directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, NI, Norway or Malta, it must have treatment against tapeworm. Your dog will need to receive treatment one to five days before arriving in any of these countries. For more information on vaccines against diseases click here. Owners have been advised to check the Government website for guidelines.

How do I get across the border?

Pets and assistance dogs will also need to enter the EU through a travellers’ point of entry (TPE), which includes all the major French ports such as Calais, Caen and Dunkirk.

At the TPE, you may need to present your pet’s original health certificate along with proof of:

  • your pet’s microchip
  • rabies vaccination
  • tapeworm treatment (if required)
(Story source: Inews)

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