How to take your dog to Europe

Travelling with your pets to EU countries

Leaving your beloved pet behind can be an enormous wrench. so why not bring him/her with you? We have a number of Holiday Villa Owners that are happy to accept pets (see our dog-friendly villas here) – but if you’ve found a perfect place to stay you still need to get there. Travelling between the UK and mainland Europe requires knowing and following some rules so that your pet – and I’m talking dogs and cats here – doesn’t get quarantined anywhere and you don’t get hit with any unexpected charges.

Header photo by Joe Caion

Post Brexit Pet Travel Rules

Now that we've left the EU, Pet Passports issued in Great Britain are no longer valid for taking your pet to the EU. You can still use a Pet Passport issued in a EU country or Northern Ireland. For the latest government advice see taking your pet abroad.

Here are the main principles you’ll have to follow:

1. Microchip

This shouldn’t be a problem as it’s already a requirement in the UK. If you have just got your dog, or haven’t got round to doing it, your vet can do this, usually for a fee of around £10 – £15. There is more information here: get your dog microchipped.

Travelling with Toby

2. Rabies Vaccination

This has to be done at least 21 days before your date of travel so make sure the vaccination is up to date.

3. Animal Health Certificate

Instead of a Pet Passport you'll now need an "animal health certificate". Your vet can probably issue this, as long as they are registered as an "official veterinarian". The Vet will need to see proof of the microchipping date and your pet's vaccination history.

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. The certificate is likely to cost around £100 - £150.

4. Tapeworm Treatment

This has to be done from 1 to 5 days before you return to the UK. The treatment has to be certified by a vet in your pet passport under Echinococcus treatment, with both date and time recorded. Your dog can be put into quarantine if you don’t follow this rule so it’s an important one. We can help you find a vet near your villa if you wish.

If you’re leaving Great Britain for a short trip, your dog may 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.

Entering EU with your Pet

You will need to enter through a designated Point of Entry and present proof of all the documents above: microchip, rabies vaccination, blood test results, tapeworm treatment if required (only needed for Malta, Republic of Ireland or Finland) and the pet's health certificate.

Returning to the UK

Lastly, you can only use certain routes and companies to enter the UK – you should check them here: Approved Sea and Air Routes for Pet Travel.

It’s worth checking as, at the time of writing, EasyJet does not transport pets or animals in the hold of their plane. Ryanair does, as do British airways.

Most Ferry companies seem to and the Eurotunnel is also Pet friendly. And probably the kindest way to transport a pet as you get to stay with them. For more information on looking after your pet when you travel, have a look at this RSPCA factsheet (this is a PDF download)

See this article for more general advice on driving down to Italy

And that’s it:

  • Microchip
  • Animal Health Certificate
  • Rabies
  • Tapeworm on return
  • No impromptu night sailing trips across the channel

Can I get an EU Pet Passport?

It seems that the way round having to spend £100 to £150 for an Animal Health Certificate might be to get an EU-issued Pet Passport. Different countries have different processes, and it seems that getting one in Italy is very difficult unless you are a genuine Italian resident. To read more on how to (not) get a Pet Passport in Italy, read this blog post on the experience: Old Town Explorer.

Currently, France is also enforcing the same rules, so unless you are a genuine resident (and therefore have a tax-code, an address and a local phone number) you won't be able to get an EU Pet Passport.

For the time being we are stuck with the expensive and clunky Animal Health Certificate process.

Keeping your dog happy:

It’s also worth remembering that, regardless of the rules, travelling can be upsetting and traumatic for your pets. We recently found a great post about making sure you keep your dog happy:

6 things to remember when travelling with your dog.

Find a Pet Friendly Villa

Finally, you have to find out where to stay – have a look at our selection of villas in Italy and France for your dog friendly holidays

Ask us about Dog Friendly Villas

Dog Friendly Villas
Artú - (Italian for Arthur) - one of our owner's lovely dogs. He's a big soppy fellow who think he's small so tries to get on your lap.

Train your dog

When you're finally in your villa, why not use the time to teach your dog some new tricks? While we were researching this article we came across this great guide on training your dog to rollover. It's a very comprehensive guide and breaks the whole process down into steps, to the point where I thought even our dog Toby might give it a go.

Guide to training your dog to roll-over

Rolling dog
Photo by James Haworth on Unsplash
Dog on the Beach
Happy Dog on the Beach - Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash

Pet Travel Helpline

If you would like more help and advice on travelling with your pet to the EU, the UK government has set up a helpline:

Email: [email protected] Telephone: 0370 241 1710 Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm (closed on bank holidays)

Pet Friendly Villas

Toby the Dog
Our dog Toby (sadly now RIP) showing a stick what's what...