Choosing To Travel To Europe With Your Pet

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Taking Your Dog Cat And Ferret To Europe

What Are The New Rules?


The New Pet Travel Rules Explained Simply

1 January 2021 saw new pet regulations for cats, dogs and ferrets travelling to and from Europe and Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

The UK has become a Part 2 listed third country under the EU Pet Travel Scheme which means pet owners will have to ensure they have an animal health certificate (AHC) instead of the pet passport.

Dog and pet passport
Currently the UK Pet Passport is obsolete
  • Owners will have to ensure they have an animal health certificate (AHC) instead of a pet passport, 10 days before making the journey.
  • Pets will have to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before the journey.
  • Pets must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated.
  • Pets and assistance dogs will also need to enter the EU through a travellers’ point of entry, which includes all the major French ports such as Calais, Caen and Dunkirk.
  • Dogs must be treated against tapeworm if they are travelling to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta.
  • Pets will need a new AHC for each trip to the EU or Northern Ireland.
  • Owners need to provide proof of their pet’s microchipping date and vaccination history to obtain an AHC.
  • Each certificate is valid for entry in to the EU or Northern Ireland for 10 days and allows movement in those areas for up to 4 months from date of issue.
  • Great Britain will not require any changes to the current health preparations and documents for pets entering Great Britain from the EU and Northern Ireland.
  • Local vets will continue advising pet owners on the requirements they need to produce for pets travel to the EU, Northern Ireland and globally.

This information is correct at time of writing however, the government are trying to secure a Part 1 listed status for the UK from the EU Commission, as they believe that Great Britain meets all the requirements to secure it. Part 1 is the same pet travelling rules as EU member states and where the Great British UK pet passports could remain in use.

2018 figures indicate that around 170,000 pets were taken abroad with owners that required pet vacations. Figures are not available for 2020, at the time of writing due to lockdown and restrictions.

The UK has seen the rise in staycations, weekend breaks and days out, naturally not needing pet passports, jabs or special treatments from veterinary services for travel purposes.

If you are travelling abroad, veterinary surgeries will be able to advise of any more recent changes made to the current legislation and is worth contacting them to bring you up to date if you haven’t travelled to Europe for a couple of years or so.

If you have a British Passport, yet your animal may have an EU pet passport issued in another country, such as Spain or France and is currently valid, then there are no changes required to the passport whilst valid and EU pet Rules continue to apply to their travel regulations.

Further updates may be published during 2021.

For new pet owners

After leaving the EU, the block requires owners to comply with the EU and specific country Rules allowing pets to travel to their countries. Travelling abroad requires owners to prepare well in advance, visiting their veterinary surgery, having the correct paperwork completed for that specific country of travel and that your pet is jabbed correctly. This applies to not just travelling to the EU, but globally.

Likewise, the UK has entry Rules for owners, pets and animals to follow, allowing entry into the UK, and produce documents by devolved powers, such as the Welsh and Scottish guideline requirements.

If it’s your first time of travel, then prepare well in advance, at least four months before intended travel, seeking advice from your vet to avoid the disappointment of turning up at the animal cargo airport or port and being turned away, unable to travel because the paperwork is incorrect or your pet or animal has not received the correct treatments it requires to complete its journey.

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