Thursday, 6 August 2020

It’s all change from next year for UK residents who want to take their dogs on holiday to Europe.

For many, having holidays without their canine companion is unthinkable. Enjoying the journey; making happy memories in a new location, and seeing their interest in new sights, sounds, smells and scenery is all part of the fun. But for UK residents, things are about to change because of the UK leaving the EU, and travel to Europe with pets will no longer involve simply obtaining a pet passport. With many not able or willing to travel this year because of the pandemic, it’s important to check the big changes being put in place from next year that will affect travel with your pet.

Holidays in Europe with your dog just got a lot more complicated for UK residents ...
(© Photo by Jasmine Brunner on Unsplash)

Since February 2000, UK residents have been able to take dogs and cats to countries in the EU and return without the animal needing to be quarantined, providing certain conditions are met. These included the pet having a valid pet passport (some 100,000 are issued annually), and being microchipped. Whilst this continues through 2020 in what’s known as the ‘transition period,’ it’s all change from 2021.


More advanced preparation will be needed for those planning holidays in mainland Europe with their pet next year. The Government’s website lists all the new requirements for a pet to travel. Spontaneous breaks will be a thing of the past, as owners will need to start planning at least four months before travel, checking with their vet to get the latest advice. Pets (defined as dogs, cats and ferrets), will need to be vaccinated against rabies and microchipped. A blood sample is then taken at least 30 days after the vaccination, and is sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory. A three-month waiting period from when the successful blood sample was taken is then required before travelling, whilst obtaining a copy of the test results from your vet, who also enters the date the blood sample was taken on an animal health certificate (AHC). To obtain the AHC, you must visit your vet no more than ten days before travel, taking along your pet’s vaccination and microchipping history and the successful rabies antibody blood test result. You will also need this evidence upon entry to the EU, and a new health certificate will be required for each trip to the EU!

Check out the new rules before travelling next year.

© Photo by Alan King on Unsplash     

It sounds like the new procedure will be time-consuming and expensive, and may deter all but the most determined of travellers from taking along their loyal companion on European holidays. The alternative, which many owners dislike, is boarding their pet(s) in a kennel or cattery, and not seeing (and probably worrying) about their pet for the duration of the holiday, not to mention the expense of boarding.


We advise UK-based readers to take time to check out the Government’s website, and to check with your vet if you need further guidance, well ahead of any trip.

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