Taking my dog abroad after Brexit
Does your pet get to come along on your trips abroad? Are you planning to have a summer break in Europe? More and more people are taking their dog with them on their holidays, and while we have our passports to get across the borders, it can be harder to know what you need for your dog since Brexit?
Can I still bring my dog with me on holiday?
Yes, you can still take your dog on holiday. But the process has now changed. As a result of the UK leaving the EU, since 1st Jan 2021, the rules about travelling to Europe with your dog are different than they were before.
How will Brexit affect travelling with my dog?
Great Britain has been granted “part two listed status” by the EU, which means that if you want to take your pet with you into an EU country, you’ll need to obtain an ANIMAL HEALTH CERTIFICATE (AHC).
The AHC acts as a confirmation that your dog is microchipped and has been vaccinated against rabies.
Whereas previously pet passports lasted for life (as long as you kept them up to date), under the new rules you will need to get a new AHC every time you travel to the EU. The certificate must be obtained from your vet within 10 days of the date you travel.
If you are travelling to Ireland, Finland or Malta, dogs will also have to be treated against a type of tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis), one to five days before arrival. Your vet can advise and administer this treatment.
How do I get an AHC?
If your dog doesn’t already have a rabies vaccination, you will need to have one performed at least 21 days prior to the AHC being produced. Speak to your vet for more guidance on rabies vaccinations.
If you have an up-to-date rabies vaccination, contact your local vets to make an appointment with one of their official vets (OVs). The official vet can issue you with a certificate.
An official vet is a vet that performs work for the government, making sure that animals and animal-based products (meat, leather etc) are fit to be exported from the UK to other countries, and most practices have at least one. Be sure to book well in advance though to make sure you can see an OV to get your certificate within 10 days of travelling.
How long is my AHC valid for?
After you obtain the certificate (within 10 days of travelling) the AHC will be valid for 4 months (after the date of issue) for onward travel within the EU and for re-entry into the UK.
Your pet will need a new Animal Health Certificate for each trip to the EU, so you will need to contact your local vet to make an appointment with one of their official vets every time you want to take your pets to the EU.
What will happen when I arrive in the EU?
Once you and your pooch hop off the plane, sail into the port or drive up to the border, you’ll need to enter through a designated point of entry where you’ll be asked to present your Animal Health Certificate.
What do I need to do to return to the UK after being in Europe?
You will need a valid AHC or pet passport to be allowed access back into the UK from Europe. Your original AHC you travelled out of the UK on will last 4 months, but if you are going to be away longer than that then speak to your local vet to advise.
When you are planning to return to Great Britain, a vet must treat your dog for tapeworm and record it for you, one to five days before you return . Your dog can be refused entry or put into quarantine if you do not follow this rule! You don’t need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re travelling directly from Finland, Northern Ireland, Malta or Norway.
What’s going on in Northern Ireland? Can I still use my pet passport?
If you live in Northern Ireland, the rules are a bit different from the ones that apply to people in England, Wales and Scotland. You can still use a pet passport that was issued in Northern Ireland or an EU country.
If you want to take your dog from England, Scotland or Wales to Northern Ireland though, you will have to obtain an AHC, as if you were going on holiday to the EU.
My dog is a guide dog - do the same rules apply?
Yes, the same rules apply for guide dogs and other service dogs. Under the new regulations, these dogs are subject to the same rules as other dogs.
If you are still unsure about travelling with your dog, contact your local vet, they will be happy to help you!
Discover more information on how to travel with a dog!
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