Embarking on an overseas holiday with your furry companion has become more complex since Brexit. But fear not!
While the post-Brexit era has indeed made pet travel more challenging, it's far from impossible. Our comprehensive guide unravels the complexities of exploring the world with your beloved pets.
Deciding whether to take your pet on holiday with you depends on several factors.
Consider your pet's temperament and health: some animals may find the disruption of travel and a new environment stressful.
Also, evaluate the practicality and safety of travel arrangements, and whether your destination is pet-friendly. You’ll need to weigh their comfort and wellbeing against the benefits of having them with you.
If your pet is adaptable and the trip is feasible, it can be a great experience. However, if there are concerns, it might be kinder to arrange for pet care at home. Consulting with your vet can also provide valuable insights tailored to your pet's specific needs.
Since Brexit, UK-issued EU pet passports are invalid. You need either an EU-issued pet passport or an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) for your pet.
An AHC is a document proving your pet’s health status that's required for travel from Great Britain to the EU or Northern Ireland. It must be obtained within ten days of travel.
An AHC is valid for entry into the EU for ten days after issue, four months for onward travel within the EU, and four months for re-entry to Great Britain.
UK-issued pet passports are no longer valid for travel to the EU.
Your pet needs a valid rabies vaccination. Puppies and kittens must be at least 12 weeks old before they can be vaccinated.
Yes, for travel to the EU and Northern Ireland, a rabies vaccination is mandatory and should be done at least 21 days before travel.
Your pet must be microchipped before or at the same time as their rabies vaccination.
Yes, you can't take more than five pets to the EU or Northern Ireland unless you’re attending specific events like shows or competitions.
You need a pet passport or an AHC when travelling with your pet from Great Britain to Northern Ireland due to the different pet travel regulations that have been implemented following Brexit.
Although Northern Ireland is part of the UK, it follows the EU Pet Travel Scheme rules, similar to EU countries. This scheme requires pets, such as dogs, cats, and ferrets, to have a valid pet passport or AHC. This documentation is needed to prove that your pet is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. The requirement is in place to maintain control over pet movements and ensure the health and safety of pets and humans, particularly in relation to rabies prevention.
You can’t add a pet to travel insurance, instead it should be covered under your pet insurance plan. Check if your pet insurance covers overseas travel. Consider adding it if it’s not included.
Yes, some countries have additional requirements. For example, tapeworm treatment is needed for dogs travelling to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway, or Malta.
You'll need an Export Health Certificate (EHC) and, in some cases, an export application form.
Your pet's AHC or EU pet passport, along with proof of tapeworm treatment if required.
Travelling by car via either ferry or Eurotunnel is often the easiest and most pet-friendly option.
Most UK airlines, including British Airways, do not allow pets in the cabin (service animals are the notable exception). However, KLM, Lufthansa, and Air France generally allow pets like cats and small dogs in the cabin provided they fit the weight criteria, which is usually under 8kg including their carrier. The pet must be housed in an approved carrier that fits under the seat in front of you.
Putting your pet in the hold can have downsides. It can be stressful due to unfamiliar noises, temperature fluctuations, and being separated from their owners, and there can be health risks, especially for breeds prone to respiratory issues or anxiety. There’s also a small risk of mishandling or travel delays, which can further impact your pet's wellbeing.
It's important to weigh these factors and consult with a vet before deciding on air travel for your pet.
Yes, there are usually additional charges for pets on ferries, and policies and prices vary by operator.
Policies vary, but on some ferries, pets must stay in vehicles. Others have kennels or pet-friendly cabins.
Pets are not permitted on Eurostar services, except for guide dogs and assistance animals. This policy applies to all Eurostar routes, including those to and from London, Brussels, and Lille, as well as the Eurostar Sun and Snow routes.
Yes, there is a pet taxi service that will drive your animal to Europe for you. Le Pet Express is a convenient shuttle service for pet owners travelling without a car between the UK and France, via the Eurotunnel. The service includes pick-up and drop-off at rail stations in Ashford, UK, and Calais Frethun, France, even allowing passengers to stay with their pets throughout the journey in specially fitted vans with cages and seats. Once in France, you can then transfer to local trains or other public transport to travel with your animal.
Gradually acclimatise your pet to travel conditions, ensure they're comfortable in a crate if necessary, and keep familiar items like blankets and toys close.
Yes, there are certain dog breeds that you cannot travel overseas with, and the restrictions vary by country.
For example, Denmark prohibits 13 specific dog breeds including Pit Bull Terrier and Tosa Inu. Croatia bans all bull terrier-type dogs without a pedigree issued by a member country of the International Canine Organizations (FCI). Poland restricts several breeds like the American Pit Bull Terrier and Rottweiler, and Norway bans breeds such as the Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier.
Travellers should also be mindful of local regulations regarding leashing and muzzling, as some countries, like France, mandate specific breeds, such as Staffordshire Terriers or American Staffordshire Terriers, to be leashed and muzzled in public areas.
Each country has its own regulations, so it's important to research the specific rules of the country you plan to visit before travelling with your dog.
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