A post Brexit guide to travelling with a dog to Europe. Are you thinking of taking a dog to France, or travelling from the UK to Italy with a dog? This guide takes you step by step through how to travel to Europe with a dog.
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Taking a dog to Europe from the UK used to be easy, but since Brexit things have gotten a little complicated. Pet Passports are no longer issued and if yours has run out, or if you have a new pet to take to Europe, you will need to follow the new rules for travelling to Europe with a dog.
Can you travel to Europe with a dog?
The short answer is yes, there are a few hoops to jump through but traveling by ferry or using the Eurotunnel are easy options for travelling to Europe with a dog from the UK.
If you want to know how to travel with a dog from the UK to Europe, you can read about travelling from UK to Europe with a dog on the governments official website, but they don’t cover everything.
That’s why we’ve created this easy to read guide from personal experience and countless hours of research, to help more dog owners to travel to Europe with their pets.
How to travel with a dog to Europe
There are now 4 key things you need if you want to take your dog to Europe from the UK, read the legal requirements further down the page.
There are also other things to consider depending on the country you are visiting, like sand flies, water quality, and food quality. Of course it’s always best to check with your vet for these specific issues as it is country dependant, but we do have some tips below.
Travelling to Europe with a dog after Brexit
The hard part is getting to Europe from the UK, once there it’s relatively easy to move around within your 90 day visa allowance.
There are no additional requirements for crossing EU borders with a dog, including Andorra, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City State.
The only exception to this is the requirement of a tapeworm treatment if you are travelling to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Norway, Northern Ireland or the UK.
The pet passport after Brexit
Pet passports issued in the UK including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are now invalid for any travel to any EU country or Northern Ireland (pet passports issued in the EU are still valid).
Legal requirements of travelling to Europe with a dog from UK
A microchip is a legal requirement anyway in the UK.
Once your pet is 12 weeks old or older they can have the rabies vaccination. Depending on the brand this will usually last around 3 years and cost about £60.
- Get the Rabies vaccine at least 21 days before you can travel.
- It’s valid for 3 years, then you will need to get a booster.
Animal Health Certificate (AHC)
Only certain vets can issue AHC’s and prices vary wildly. Once the health check and certificate is completed it will be valid after the date issued 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 the UK
Your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland from the UK.
Top Tip – If you are travelling from Folkestone or even Dover have a look at Abbeywell Vets, they have an extremely well organised and specialised AHC service that costs just £99. Additional pets can be included on the same AHC for an additional fee of £30 per pet. Then it’s just £69 for repeat visits (a bit different to the £250+ our vet quoted us)!Animal Health Certificate Online
A tapeworm treatment must be administered 1-5 days before returning back to the UK from Europe. There are some great Facebook groups that review vets across Europe for this purpose.
- Be administrated by a vet
- Contain Praziquantel to be effective against Echinococcus tapeworm
- Not be; Stronghold, Advocate, Frontline or Frontline Combo, Nexgard or Nexgard Spectra (these will not be accepted and will result in the animal being refused travel)
You should treat your dog again within 28 days of returning to Great Britain.
If you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway, your dog will need a tapeworm treatment before you leave the UK.
Optional things to think about when travelling with a dog from UK to Europe
Do you need a muzzle when travelling with a dog to Europe?
Many European countries will require you to carry a muzzle, especially when on public transport. Get your dog used to wearing one before you go just in case you need to use it.
We never needed it, but our dog is very small and very friendly!
Other parasites and diseases not covered by UK law
Depending on the region in Europe that you are travelling to, you may want to consider other risks that may affect your dogs health when travelling.
ESCCAP is the main resource for animal parasites in Europe – they have maps of each country, broken down by specific regions, detailing the possible risks of infection (always consult your own Vet about your dogs specific requirements).
We chose to take preventative measures for two common parasites found in Southern Italy.
Heartworm in dogs
Most commonly found in Portugal, Spain, South of France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Bosnia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.
Treatment is complicated and not always successful so prevention is better.
Many dogs infested with heartworm show few signs, while others will develop a cough or complications that can lead to heart failure.
Vets recommend Milbemax or Milbeworm tablets for this purpose. They must be administered before travel and reapplied monthly while in known problem areas.
Sandflies and mosquitos in Europe
Sand flies and other biting insects like mosquitos are common in southern regions in Europe, they can carry harmful diseases like Leishmaniasis. Although more common in the Mediterranean, it’s thought climate change is now bringing these risks to the northern regions too.
As ever, prevention is better than a cure.
You can buy a Scalibor Collar to protect your dog from biting insects like mosquitos and sand flies in Europe.
Our vet confirmed this collar can be used at the same time as our regular flea and tick prevention collar that we use in the UK (the Seresto collar).
Is the water drinkable? Even if it is it may be best to stop your dog from drinking water from communal dog bowls as they may spread disease.
Are there any dangerous animals to consider? Snakes, livestock, and stray dogs are all things to take into consideration. It’s always best to keep dogs on a lead if you are unfamiliar with the area.
Are you allowed to take dog food into Europe from the UK?
Brexit has also changed the rules for taking dog food from the UK into the EU. You are no longer allowed to take meat or milk-based dog food. This includes dried food, dog treats and chews.
If your pet has special dietary requirements you can ask your Vet to give you written confirmation that your pet requires a certain dog food for medical reasons.
With this written permission from a Veterinarian, you may take packs that weigh up to 2kg. Either sealed or open food that is currently “in use”.
A way around this is to change your dog to a fish or plant-based diet, and slowly get them used to it before travelling. Vegan dog chews like Whimzees would also be allowed.
Fish or vegetarian dog food can weigh no more than 10kg and should be sealed in the original bag.
You can read the full details here on the official EU site here.
Travelling with a dog to Europe – Our experience
We drove 2000 miles from Northern England to Sicily, taking the Eurotunnel to France. We made plenty of comfort stops for Pablo the dog, and found lots of dog friendly hotels along the way – although generally found staying in privately owned B&B’s in the countryside much less stressful with a noisy Jack Russell.
We had no problems as we did our research, like you are, and Pablo managed to check 6 countries off of his bucket list (France, Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium)!
In fact the only panic we had was that our SIM cards had stopped allowing EU roaming (thanks Brexit), and we didn’t realise you need snow chains for driving pretty much anywhere in Europe in winter – but they are cheap and easy to buy on the road.
Pablo was a model traveller and was of course loved by all who met him – nothing new there!