Travelling with your pets 

By Vet Graham Lewis

Before leaving the European Union there were Pet Passports that were suitable for travel throughout the EU. These still exist, but all British versions are no longer accepted so cannot be used to travel. 

If you have a non-British Pet Passport with Rabies vaccination in date you can still use that for travel to and from the EU. However British vets are not authorised to update these, so if the Rabies vaccination has lapsed you cannot get that updated in the UK.

To travel to the EU with your pet from the UK most people will need to get an Animal Health Certificate (AHC). These are 10 plus page documents that only certain vets can fill out, so it is worth checking in advance that your Veterinary practice does them. Also, because they are lengthy legal documents, there is often quite a cost involved.

Also required is a Rabies vaccination. These need to be done at least 21 days before travel so some forward planning is needed for these trips with your pet.

An AHC can only be done in the 10 days before you travel and involves a health check of your pet as well. Once the paperwork is done you are good to go, however each AHC is only valid for one trip. It is a requirement that a worming treatment should be given by a vet before you return to the UK so this will need to be arranged as well.

If you wish to take your pet to a country outside the European Union, this is a lot more complicated and varies between countries. There are specialist pet travel companies that can help with the export process. Blood samples that are regularly needed can be done by your local vet with guidance from these companies.

Be aware that there are some diseases on continental Europe that are a risk to your pet, that we do not have in the UK. There are measures to limit the risk of your pet picking up an exotic disease, ranging from vaccinations to spot on treatments to avoid Sandflies. Please speak to your vet about where you are travelling and what you can do to keep your pet safe.

Travel to Northern Ireland from Great Britain is currently allowed without an AHC, however travel to the Republic of Ireland requires the correct documentation and treatments before going.