Taking my dog abroad after Brexit

After nearly a year of lockdown, many of us are itching to plan a summer getaway. And what’s the point of going on holiday if you can’t take your beloved pooch along with you?

Kathleen Pohl, a vet from Zetland Vets in Bristol and My Family Vets talks us through the new process of travelling to the EU with your dog, so you and your pup will be ready to go!

Kathleen Pohl - BVSc MRCVS

Can I still bring my dog on holiday? 

You can, yes. But the process has now changed. After Britain left the EU on January 1st, the rules about travelling to Europe with your dog changed.

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, known as an 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, under the new rules you will need to get a new AHC every time you travel to the EU. The certificate must be obtained within 10 days of the date you travel. 

How do I get an AHC?

Contact your local vet to make an appointment with one of their official vets. The official vet will 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. 

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.  

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 to 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, you’ll need to enter through a designated point of entry where you’ll be asked to present your Animal Health Certificate.

If you are travelling to Ireland, Finland or Malta, dogs will have to be treated against a type of tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis), one to five days before arrival.

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 from 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 cat, dog or ferret (who knew?) from England, Scotland or Wales to Northern Ireland, 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?

They do, yes. Under the new regulations, guide 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. 

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