Travelling abroad with your dog

For dog owners in Great Britain, the rules for travelling to Northern Ireland or Europe with a dog onboard changed in January 2021. If you’re planning to travel soon, make sure you’re up to date on the latest regulations, so you can travel with peace of mind. 

What are the new pet travel rules?

Before you go:

  • You’ll need to visit your vet one month before travel to make sure your dog is microchipped and up to date with their necessary vaccinations – especially their rabies vaccination.
  • Every dog owner needs to carry an Animal Health Certificate – typically £100 – £200 per dog. Each one is valid for up to 10 days after the date of issue for entry into Northern Ireland or the EU and valid for one return trip only within four months after the date of issue. OR you’ll need a valid pet passport that’s accepted in the country you’re travelling to (check the gov website for validity).
  • If you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway, you’ll need to make sure your dog has been treated for tapeworm.

When you arrive:

  • Arriving at borders without the correct paperwork could result in a u-turn back to the UK, or your dog placed into quarantine. You will need to cover the costs of quarantine if your dog does not meet the entry requirements and will be required to book any quarantine premises. Your dog will be eligible for release from quarantine when it meets the entry requirements.
  • With the new checks and regulations, border crossings may take longer than they used to. It’s best to plan your arrival at border checkpoints at cooler times of the day – such as early mornings or late evenings – just in case of delays and potential warm weather.
  • When you arrive in the EU or NI, you’ll need to go through a traveller’s point of entry. Here, you may need to show your pet’s animal health certificate or a valid pet passport, along with proof of their:
    • microchip
    • rabies vaccination
    • tapeworm treatment (if required)

Returning to Europe:

  • You’ll need a new animal health certificate for each new visit to the EU.
  • Check your dog’s rabies vaccination date is still valid.
  • Tapeworm treatment for each trip, if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway.

What do you need to do and when? 

As soon as possible:

  • Get an Animal Health Certificate OR locate your dog’s passport which is accepted in the country you’re travelling to.

1 month before your trip

  • Get your dog’s rabies vaccination up to date.
  • Update your details on your pet’s microchip record before travelling. Petlog, for example, is a member of the European Pet Network so can still help to reunite holidaying owners and pets.
  • Check if your pet insurance will cover your trip and, if not, take out insurance to ensure your dog is protected when on holiday abroad.

2 days before your trip

  • Tapeworm treatment is required between 24 hours and 120 hours before arriving in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta. Make sure your vet logs all of the details of this treatment on your Animal Health Certificate.

Your dog travel checklist

Before booking any travel, check the latest advice for the country you are planning to visit. Make sure the accommodation you are staying in is dog-friendly and suitable for your dog.

  • Animal Health Certificate OR pet passport that’s accepted in the country you’re travelling to
  • Travel safety equipment (e.g. seatbelt harness for car travel or a crate)
  • Microchip up to date
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Tapeworm treatment (if applicable)
  • Dog bed
  • Food and water bowls
  • Travel water bottle and bowl
  • Dog-friendly suncream (if needed)
  • Poo bags
  • Dog lead, collar and/or harness
  • Details for a local vet where you will be staying, in case of any emergencies
  • Favourite toys
  • Food and treats (it’s important to check the latest guidance on food restrictions for the country you’re travelling to).

For the most up-to-date guidance, always visit the government website before you travel. 

3 thoughts on “Travelling abroad with your dog”

  1. You can’t take dog food aboard anymore . Cannot take meat into EU . So have to suspend your tails .com delivery before you leave

  2. You cannot take meat based products into Europe. That means no dog food unless it is vegan. The only exception is up to 2kgs of dog food for medical purposes, and this is meant to have supporting documentation from your vet. Having said that I wasn’t checked crossing ia eurotunnel in a motorhome – however breaking the rules can mean a fine and confiscation of the food. I eventually joined in France to get my dog his usual food. Also very good online vet in Folkestone with do you AHC for less than £100.

  3. Very useful information! Though I traveled and travel a lot with Spot there are always things to learn!


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