Travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland
You can no longer use a Pet Passport issued in Great Britain (England, Wales or Scotland) for travel to an EU country or Northern Ireland. Instead, an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) must be issued for every animal for every journey.
It is the owner’s responsibility (not the veterinary practice) to check the rules of the destination country for any additional restrictions or requirements before they travel – the number of countries involved and the constantly changing rules means that it is not practical for the practice to keep up to date with all of this information.
For Cats, Dogs and Ferrets
(Please note, these requirements also apply to assistance dogs)
Step 1: Your pet must be microchipped first for identification purposes.
Step 2: Rabies vaccination (this can be done immediately after Step 1)
- Your pet needs to be at least 12 weeks old before rabies vaccination.
- You will need to wait 21 days after any primary rabies vaccinations before you travel, so bear this in mind when you are planning your travel and Animal Health Certificate (AHC) appointment.
Step 3: You need an Animal Health Certificate for your dog, cat or ferret if you’re travelling from Great Britain (England, Wales or Scotland) to an EU country or Northern Ireland. You do not need an Animal Health Certificate if you have a Pet Passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland, but this must be up-to-date and can no longer be updated by a UK vet.
Step 4: Tapeworm treatment for dogs:
- A vet must treat your dog for tapeworm and record it in the Animal Health Certificate if you’re travelling directly to: Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway, AND every time you bring them back to Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) from any country except those listed above. The treatment must have been given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you arrive.
- The treatment must be approved for use in the country it’s being given in, AND contain praziquantel or an equivalent proven to be effective against the Echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm.
If you’re leaving Great Britain for a short trip, your dog must be treated by a vet before you go. You must wait for 24 hours before re-entering Great Britain and return within 120 hours or you’ll need to get another treatment abroad.
You should treat your dog again within 28 days of returning to Great Britain.
|Animal Health Certificate (per animal)||£180.00|
|Tapeworm Treatment & Certification (if done separately to AHC plus wormer||£58.00|
For up to date guidance on taking your pet dog, cat or ferret abroad please visit:
How to get an Animal Health Certificate
- Make an appointment to bring your pet to see the vet no more than 10 days before you travel. The AHC may only be issued by one of our Official Veterinarians who hold the appropriate Companion or Small Animal Official Controls Qualification, and you must be able to tell us your port of entry. You will require a 1-hour appointment. We are unable to do this at weekends so allow plenty of time and book well in advance.
- If we did not implant your pet’s microchip or carry out their rabies vaccine you must provide us with a certificate of your pet’s microchipping date and vaccination history.
- Please check these details are correct, and in the correct order, with us at least 21 days in advance and before you book your AHC appointment.
- Your pet’s Animal Health Certificate will be valid after the date of issue for:
- 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland;
- 4 months for onward travel within the EU;
- 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain.
- Your pet will need a new Animal Health Certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
Arriving in an EU country or Northern Ireland
You’ll need to go through a travellers’ point of entry when you arrive in an EU country or Northern Ireland. You can find information on this here:
You may need to show your pet’s Animal Health Certificate along with proof of
their microchip, rabies vaccination and tapeworm treatment (if required).
Repeat trips to an EU country or Northern Ireland
- Your pet will need a new Animal Health Certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland.
- Your pet will not need a repeat rabies vaccination so long as his or her rabies vaccinations are up to date.
- Your dog will need tapeworm treatment for each trip if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway.
Rabies Booster Vaccinations
You must get your pet microchipped before, or at the same time as, their rabies vaccination. If you do not, they’ll need to be vaccinated again. If you’re travelling with your pet, you must get regular rabies booster vaccinations for your pet.
Check your Animal Health Certificate to find out when the booster vaccination is due. You will not need to get repeat vaccinations for repeat trips to the EU or Northern Ireland if your pet’s rabies vaccination is up to date.
In the UK, our rabies vaccine has a licence for 3-yearly boosters and this is shown on your vaccination card. However, in Europe most rabies vaccines (including ours) are licenced for 12-monthly boosters. This means that most local authorities have regulations that will require annual boosters e.g. entry to campsites, biting accidents etc. If you plan to stay for more than 3 months, you are also subject to local authority rules for annual boosters. The safest course of action is to have a rabies booster at least 21 days before you travel.
Your pet’s vaccination record in their Animal Health Certificate must show:
- your pet’s date of birth
- microchip number, date it was put in/read & location on your pet’s body
- vaccination date, and the date until which the vaccination is valid
- vaccine manufacturer, product name and batch number
- the vet’s signature and contact details
Your pet can be stopped from travelling if the details in their Animal Health Certificate are in the wrong place.
Please be advised that a GB vet will no longer be able to update the EU-issued Pet Passport, other than the tapeworm and clinical examination sections.
As a final check, you may wish to contact the relevant Embassy in GB to discuss any further lawful entry requirements. They can be located at the following link:
Alternatively check for the destination’s specific requirements at the following link:
Travelling with more than 5 pets
You cannot take more than 5 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.
All your pets must:
- be attending the event or training
- be over 6 months old
- meet all the other requirements for pet travel to that country
Be sure to check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.
Exotic Diseases: IMPORTANT PLEASE READ
When travelling abroad your pet may come into contact with diseases spread by mosquitos, sand flies and ticks. These diseases are not present in the UK so your pet will need extra protection to prevent them becoming poorly.
Our clinic nurses will be happy to arrange a consultation to go over what is needed to protect them.
There are three important diseases and two parasites you should be aware of before you travel:
- Babesiosis: Spread by Tick bites, a serious disease that infects and destroys red blood cells causing anaemia and jaundice.
- Ehrlichiosis: Spread by Tick bites, affects the white blood cells, signs are difficult to spot.
- Leishmaniasis: Caused by a parasite which is spread by the Sandfly. A serious condition with a wide range of symptoms that can present a long period after infection. A vaccine is available from the practice, please call us to discuss.
- Dirofilariasis (Heartworm): Spread by Mosquito bites to dogs and cats, once infection has been acquired, the prognosis is poor so prevention is best!
- Echinicoccus multiocularis (Tapeworm): Humans can acquire this tapeworm from their dog and, once infected, there is no cure and life-long treatment will be required.
These diseases are all spread by parasites. Now, don’t worry too much, there are parasite control regimes you can use before, during and after your holiday to protect you and your pets.
Visit the Canine Vector Borne Diseases Website for more information and to assess the disease risk in your country of destination. Please book a FREE appointment with our clinic nurses to receive a tailor-made plan for parasite prevention for your pet. We are happy to give advice on all the issues discussed here, to help you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable trip.
- MSD hub explaining diseases encountered:
- ESCAPP Map of diseases present in which countries: