Thinking of Going to Europe With Your Pet This Summer?

by Will Sennitt

Now that Coronavirus travel restrictions are easing up, you may be thinking about travelling to the European continent for a little getaway. However, it’s important to remember that things have changed since the beginning of the year when 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 Now the UK is no longer in the EU, these pet passports are no longer valid for travel.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 there 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 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 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.

Also, if you are travelling with dogs directly to Finland, Norway, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland or Malta, your pets will need to have a worming tablet administered by a vet and the details written on their Animal Health Certificate. This worming treatment must be given at least 24 hours and no earlier than 120 hours (5 days) before you enter the EU.

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 to GB with dogs from EU countries other than Finland, Norway, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland or Malta, your pet will need to have a tapeworm treatment given between 24 and 120 hours before entry. This can be detailed on your AHC or the pet passports mentioned above.

As you may 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.

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