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  • Pet travel
  • Pet travel
  • Pet travel

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Pet Advice Categories

Since the UK’s exit from the EU, the rules around taking your pet abroad and bringing them back to the UK have changed. For the most up to date information, we always advise visiting the government website here.

What do I need to know for my pet to travel to the EU from 1st January 2021?

Your current Pet Passport will no longer be valid for travel. Instead your pet will need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) issued in Great Britain (GB) which can then be used to travel to the EU and re-enter GB for up to 4 months after it was issued.

Very importantly, a health examination and Animal Health Certificate (AHC) completion must be performed no more than 10 days prior to your planned departure. The Animal Health Certificate (AHC) will only be valid for one trip.

Why is an Animal Health Certificate necessary?

An Animal Health Certificate (AHC), along with any other official documentation, is a legal requirement in order to bring your pet into the UK or to travel with it into a European Union country or mainland Europe, without the need for quarantine.

The primary purpose is to keep the UK free from rabies, and other foreign diseases such as those transmitted by parasites that do not exist in the UK.

Which countries do I need an Animal Health Certificate for?

You need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for your dog, cat or ferret if you are travelling with your pet from Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) to any EU country or to Northern Ireland and then returning to GB.

What does your pet need to apply for an Animal Health Certificate?

  • Your dog, cat or ferret must be microchipped
  • Your dog, cat or ferret needs to be vaccinated against rabies (NB your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated).
  • You will need to wait 21 days after any primary rabies vaccination before you travel so bear this in mind when you are planning your travel and Animal Health Certificate (AHC) appointment.

An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) can only be issued by an Official Veterinarian (OV) which we have at each of our clinics. An appointment for this can be arranged by contacting the practice. When you apply for an animal health certificate, you will need to bring your pet, along with any previous rabies vaccination records. Some of this information can be found in a previously completed Pet Passport. 

An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) normally includes details of:

  • Pet owner’s details to be named on the Animal Health Certificate (AHC), who must be aged over 16. Pets must be accompanied either by their owner or by a person authorised in writing by the owner when travelling.
  • Your pet’s description including a microchip identification number.
  • Rabies vaccination details (your animal will need to have been vaccinated against rabies at least three weeks prior to the AHC appointment and have had a UK Rabies vaccine within the past three years).
  • Rabies blood test (as required).
  • Canine tapeworm treatment (as required).
  • Intended country of entry (The Animal Health Certificate has to be issued in the language of the country in which you are entering the EU).

An Animal Health Certificate (AHC) takes around an hour to complete so please help us help you by allowing as much notice as possible (within the 10-day time-frame).

How old does my pet have to be to get their animal health certificate?

The EU Regulation requires pets to be at least 12 weeks old when vaccinated. Whilst some EU countries will allow young, unvaccinated pets to travel (subject to certain conditions) the UK does not permit this. This means no pet can enter the UK unless they are 15 weeks old (12 weeks and 21-day wait).

How many pets can one person apply for animal health certificates for?

The owner or authorised person can only be accompanied by a maximum of five pets. You cannot take more than five pets to an EU country or Northern Ireland unless you’re attending or training for a competition, show or sporting event. You’ll need written evidence of registration for the event when you travel.

Do I need to worm my pet before travel to the EU?

Worming BEFORE travel to the EU is not required UNLESS you are travelling to Finland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland (NI), Norway or Malta where worming is required. If you are travelling to these countries your vet WILL need to treat your dog for tapeworm 24-120 hours (1-5 days) prior to travelling AND certify this on your Animal Health Certificate (AHC).

However, if you plan to visit the EU from GB for a trip shorter than 24 hours then worming prior to travel IS required (to conform with the entry requirements of GB).

The treatment must contain praziquantel (or an equivalent) proven to be effective against tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis).

Do I need to worm my pet before returning to GB from the EU?

Yes. GB is designated free from Echinococcus multilocularis (a species of tapeworm) and to ensure that this disease is not spread to GB, worming is required 24-120 hours prior to entry into the UK. This will need to be performed by a veterinarian in the EU and certified on any Animal Health Certificate (AHC).

You do not need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re travelling directly to GB from Finland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta.

Travelling further afield?

If you are travelling to countries other than those listed above and have questions, please contact us for more information. 

Where can I get pet travel advice from?

Please call your normal clinic where we will be happy to help with any questions you may have about travelling with your pet. Specific requirements for individual countries can be found by contacting the Animal Plant and Health Agency on 0370 241 1710.