Part 1: The Technical Bit
Travelling with your dog to the EU has changed a little since Brexit. With knowledge and planning it shouldn’t be too much of a headache though. Here’s what you need to know:
Your dog’s old UK Pet Passport is no longer valid for EU travel - you need an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for each trip
Your dog will still need to be microchipped and have an up-to-date rabies vaccination, and there’s still a 21 day wait after vaccination
AHCs can only be issued up to 10 days before your departure date
AHCs are then valid for up to 4 months of onward travel in the EU/to return to the UK
You will need one AHC for up to 5 pets, per trip
You need to enter the EU via an Approved Traveller’s Point of Entry
I want to take my dog on holiday - what should I do?
The first thing to do is find out if your vet practice has an Official Veterinarian (OV). OVs are the only vets licensed to complete AHCs. You can also choose to use a pet travel agency, or a vet company that deals specifically with animal transport and travel. In both cases, they will still need to arrange a visit between you, your dog, and an OV.
If your dog has not had a rabies vaccination, you will need to arrange this as soon as possible, and no less than 21 days before your travel date. Likewise, if your dog has missed a rabies booster, you will need to wait 21 days after re-vaccination before you can travel with your dog.
All dogs in the UK should be microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old, but if for some reason your dog is not microchipped this will need to be done before they have the rabies vaccination. Both the rabies vaccination and the microchip can be done by a non-OV vet, but you will need proof of vaccination for your OV when they complete the AHC.
When you contact your OV, you will need to tell them which country you are travelling to. You can travel to more than one, but the vet will need to know which country you are entering the EU via, as the AHC needs to be specific to that country. Your OV will then download the relevant AHC, complete the initial sections, and arrange to examine your dog.
This examination will be scheduled for within 10 days of your dog’s travel date, as the AHC can only be issued within this timeframe. If you are travelling to Malta, Finland, Norway, Ireland or Northern Ireland, your dog will need to be given a tapeworm treatment before travel. As this has to be done not more than 120 hours before travel, and not less than 24 hours, your OV will probably schedule your dog’s exam within this timeframe in that case.
Please also note that if you are not intending for your pet to return to the UK you will need a different document called an Export Health Certificate (EHC), and in this case you will need to request the document yourself from the APHA:
OK, so my visit is arranged, now what?
There is some more paperwork to be done, I’m afraid! Your OV will need a copy of the proof that your dog has had a rabies vaccination, so if your dog was vaccinated elsewhere or a while ago, you may need to arrange to bring a certificate or report to your OV so that they can copy it. Please note that this proof document must have your dog’s microchip number on it.
If you are not travelling with your dog, you will need to prepare a written authorisation for the person travelling with them. This gives them permission to sign the declaration stating that your dog is not being transported for commercial purposes (i.e. to be sold). You must be reunited with your dog within 5 days of travel.
Don’t forget, your dog will need to enter the EU via an official Travellers Point of Entry - see here for information:https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/movement-pets/travellers-points-entry_en
What will happen at the OV exam?
Your OV will scan your dog’s microchip and confirm this, and your dog, match with the description on all the documents, including the proof of rabies vaccination. They will then ask you to check and sign the declaration of non-commercial travel.
Please don’t be surprised if your vet does not immediately issue your dog’s AHC at this time, as they have to be copied 3 times, and stamped and signed multiple times, which, of course, takes time! Your OV will advise you when the documents will be ready for you to collect.
Once you have your AHC, you are set to travel! Don’t forget them!
Take a look at Part 2 for tips on making the journey smoother with your dog!