by William Sennitt MRCVS Ryedale Vets
Many of us are looking forward to some summer sun in the EU this year, and it is always great to be able to take your pets with you.
However, it’s important to remember that things have changed since the UK left the EU. It used to be that pet dogs, cats or ferrets could travel within the EU (and other listed countries) with a pet passport. Now the UK is no longer in the EU, these pet passports are no longer valid for travel. Owners now require an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to enter the EU with up to five pet dogs, cats or ferrets. Also, because Northern Ireland are still following some EU rules, this certificate is also needed if you are planning to take a trip to Northern Ireland too.
The Animal Health Certificate is a 10-page-plus document that will be checked at the border in the first country you enter the EU (or Northern Ireland). Because of its length and detailed nature, it is best to let your vet know as far in advance as possible before you intend to travel. This will give them time to gather all the information they need to issue the AHC and prepare the document so it can be issued without delay before you travel. Your pet will still need to be over 12 weeks of age, be microchipped and fully vaccinated against rabies. If your pet is having their first rabies vaccine, there will need to be 3 week wait after the date of vaccination before they can enter the EU.
Once issued, the AHC is only valid for 10 days, so your vet will need to see you within 10 days before the date you intend to enter the EU. Each certificate is a bilingual document, written in English and the language of the country you plan to enter the EU. Because of this, once the certificate has been issued you cannot change the country you enter the EU with your pets. If you do, a different AHC will have to be issued.
So long as you enter the EU within 10 days of the AHC being issued, the certificate allows for onward travel within the EU for up to 4 months. You can also use the AHC to re-enter Great Britain for up to 4 months after it has been issued. Great Britain are still accepting GB pet passports issued before 1st January 2021 or EU pet passports to enter Great Britain. However, if you are travelling back to Great Britain with dogs from EU, your pet will need to have a tapeworm treatment given between 24 and 120 hours before entry (not required if travelling from Finland, Norway, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland or Malta). This can be detailed on your AHC or the pet passports mentioned above.
As you many see, travelling to the EU or Northern Ireland with your pet is unfortunately not as simple as it once was. But with plenty of preparation and advance notice we can help make the trip as stress-free as possible. Please contact us if you would like to discuss a trip to Europe with your pet.
Station Road, Helmsley, YO62 5BZ Tel: 01439 771166
133 Eastgate, Pickering YO18 7DW Tel: 01751 472204