19th May 2019

Pet Travel in the EU

With Brexit on the horizon, especially with the uncertainty of its date, we have been receiving questions about travelling pets this year. In this article, we aim to tell you what we do and don’t know so far to assist you with your decision making for taking your pets abroad.

Until the date of Brexit, the current pet travel rules remain the same, meaning that pets can continue to travel on Pet Passports issued previously as long as they continue to meet the current regulations. At the date of writing of this article, a flexible extension to Brexit has just been agreed until October 2019. Whilst at first glance this might seem a relief to those considering travelling with their pets this summer, the flexible nature of the extension and the uncertainty over the classification of the UK for pet travel means that we just don’t know what the rules will be and crucially, when they will change.

Different documentation will be required for travel depending on the classification of the UK post Brexit. In addition, there will be different requirements. For example, should the UK become an unlisted third country for pet travel, a rabies blood test will be required at least 30 days after the last rabies vaccination, the result takes 2-4 weeks to receive. The pet must then wait 3 months from the date of the passing blood test before travel. This means that a pet without a valid rabies vaccination cannot travel for a minimum of 4 months from the date of the vaccination, so this requires some forward planning. In addition, we have to consider that not all dogs will pass the blood test first time, resulting in further vaccination and blood tests and further delays. Obviously there is a cost attached to this process and as we don’t know whether we will be listed or unlisted, it could be an unnecessary expense. Having said that, travelling without complying with these rules would not be possible if we became an unlisted third country and could result in more costly quarantine, not to mention the upset this could cause. 

In addition, the Pet Travel regulations only serve to protect the UK from Rabies and Echinococcus, a particularly nasty form of tapeworm. There are many more potentially dangerous diseases which are endemic on mainland Europe and not in the UK so we suggest discussing these with us before travel.

We suggest planning now for any travel and coming to discuss these issues us as soon as possible. Please note, this article is only intended as a guide and will only be valid at the time of issue. Please use the gov.uk webite to keep up to date with the latest developments and advice.