The rules for taking your pet to Europe will change at the end of this year - here’s what owners need to know

Monday, 21st September 2020, 2:56 pm
Updated Monday, 21st September 2020, 2:56 pm
January 2021 will see new rules come into place as the Brexit transition period ends, including the regulations around travelling to Europe with your pet (Photo: Shutterstock)
January 2021 will see new rules come into place as the Brexit transition period ends, including the regulations around travelling to Europe with your pet (Photo: Shutterstock)

January 2021 will see new rules come into place as the Brexit transition period ends, including the regulations around travelling to Europe with your pet.

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Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning on heading to Europe with your pet after 31 December 2020.

Changes taking place

You will not be able to use your existing pet passport to enter the EU from 1 January 2021, so will need to contact your vet at least four months before you are due to travel in order to get the latest advice.

Pet owners are currently still able to continue to travel with their pets using a Pet Passport during the transition period. The UK Government is working with the European Commission in order to ensure a similar arrangement will be in place next year.

Pet travel requirements will change depending on what category Great Britain is given on 1 January 2021. If Great Britain becomes an unlisted country, you will need to take the following steps before travelling with your dog, cat or ferret to the EU for the first time after 1 January 2021.

These steps are:

  • You must have your dog, cat or ferret microchipped
  • Vaccinate your dog, cat or ferret against rabies - your pet must be at least 12 weeks old before it can be vaccinated
  • Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after its primary rabies vaccination (from a current series of vaccinations). Your vet may recommend a booster rabies vaccination before this test
  • Your pet’s blood sample will be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory
  • Wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before travelling
  • The vet must give you a copy of the test results and enter the day the blood sample was taken in an animal health certificate (AHC)

Gov.uk explains, “You will not be able to travel with your pet if you have not completed these steps.

“If the blood test result is not successful, you’ll need a repeat vaccination and another blood test taken at least 30 days after the repeat vaccination.”

Alongside this, you must also take your pet to your vet no more than 10 days before travel to get an AHC. The AHC needs to be signed by an official vet.

You must take proof of:

  • Your pet’s microchipping date
  • Your pet’s vaccination history
  • A successful rabies antibody blood test result

Your pet’s AHC will be valid for:

  • Ten days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
  • Onward travel within the EU for four months after the date of issue
  • Re-entry to Great Britain for four months after the date of issue

It’s also worth noting that if you’re travelling with your dog directly to Finland, Republic of Ireland, Norway or Malta, it must have treatment against tapeworm one to five days before arriving in one of these countries.

Your vet must enter full details on the AHC following treatment.