Can I Take My Dog Abroad After Brexit?

January 9, 2020

With the UK due to leave the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020, what does this mean for travelling abroad with a dog? Here’s our brief guide to taking your dog abroad after Brexit. 

The good news is that your dog will still be able to join you on European holidays but there will be some changes under the PETS Travel Scheme because the UK will no longer be a member of the EU. These changes will depend on whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. As things currently stand, MPs have voted in favour of a Brexit deal, which will now be scrutinised and further voted on by MPs before 31 January.

But things could still change. In the worst case scenario – if the UK leaves without a deal – it could be as long as four months before your dog would be allowed to travel abroad. Therefore, if you are planning to take your dog on holiday with you in summer 2020, you should start planning now. 

Travelling abroad with a dog if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

If the UK leaves the EU on 31 January 2020 without a deal, your dog’s EU passport will no longer be valid. In this scenario, the UK is likely to be treated as an unlisted country. 

What will happen if the UK becomes an unlisted country?

If you are planning to take your dog abroad you will need to: 

  • Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and microchipped
  • Have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after your dog’s last rabies vaccination. The sample would then need to be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory
  • Wait three months from the date the successful blood sample was taken before you can travel
  • Get from your vet, no more than 10 days before you travel, an animal health certificate. You will need proof of your dog’s vaccination history, their microchipping date and the result of the rabies antibody blood test. 

Your dog’s animal health certificate will be valid: 

  • for 10 days for entry into the EU from the date of issue
  • four months after issue for onward travel within the EU
  • for return to the UK within four months from the date of issue

There are additional requirements for travelling to Finland, the Republic of Ireland and Malta. Your dog will need to be treated for tapeworm 1-5 days before arrival in one of these countries. This information must then be added by your vet to your dog’s animal health certificate. 

What to do when you arrive in the EU

When you arrive in the EU, if you are travelling with your dog you will need to enter through a designated Travellers’ point of entry (TPE).  You will need to present proof of your dog’s: 

  • Microchip
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Successful blood test results
  • Tapeworm treatment (if required)
  • Animal health certificate

Your dog will require a new animal health certificate each time they travel to Europe. But you won’t need to repeat the test for rabies provided you have had a successful blood test and an up-to-date subsequent rabies vaccination history. 

What will happen if the UK becomes a listed country

The requirements for dog owners planning to travel to Europe with their dogs will depend on whether the UK becomes a Part 1 of Part 2 listed country.

For both Part 1 and Part 2 listed countries, you must have your dog microchipped and vaccinated against rabies at least 21 days before travel. Your dog’s rabies vaccination will need to be kept up to date. Your dog will also need to be treated for tapeworm if travelling to Finland, the Republic of Ireland or Malta. 

If the UK becomes a part 1 listed country you would need to apply for a UK pet passport. This would replace your dog’s existing EU pet passport. This will be valid for your dog’s lifetime, provided their rabies vaccinations are kept up to date. 

If the UK becomes a part 2 listed country, you will need to get from your vet, 10 days before you travel, an animal health certificate to confirm that your dog has had a rabies vaccination and is microchipped. 

Travelling abroad with a dog if the UK leaves the EU with a deal

If a Brexit deal is reached before 31 January 2020, an implementation period will follow until 31 December 2020. During this time the UK will continue to negotiate trade deals with the EU and other countries. You will be able to travel with your dog using their existing EU pet passport. If you are travelling abroad with your dog for the first time, you will need to get a pet passport from an authorised vet. If your vet does not issue pet passports, you can ask them to recommend one. 

For more information

Main image photo credit: iStock