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Taking your dog to Europe

Border Collie on a boat on holiday

TAKING YOUR DOG TO EUROPE is exciting and will be pawsome if your paperwork is in order. We plan to help you.

Last time we talked about taking your pooch on holiday in the UK. Many many of us have got very used to taking the dog to Europe. Since Brexit everything has changed. In fact it’s a bit of a minefield, so we thought we’d throw some light on the whole process.

King Charles dog Painting

Does My Dog Need Vaccinations To Travel?

First of all your dog has to have a rabies vaccination and cannot travel until 21 days have passed since the injection.

Unless you have an EU pet passport with an up-to-date rabies jab administered before 1st January 2021, then you will need an Animal Health Certificate to travel to the EU. It’s a 12 page document and has to be absolutely right, completed, signed and stamped by a specially licensed vet in all the right places and in the right colours. It’s very complicated and many vets have made mistakes on them, causing all sorts of problems at ferry or tunnel check-in.

Do Vets Issue Dog Travel Certificates?

Many vets have stopped issuing these certificates as they are so time-consuming and fraught with issues and it seems that those who are issuing them are charging anything between £80 and £350. It’s worth shopping around! The certificate is only valid for ten days and can only be used once, so you need to make sure you get your timing right! And you cannot be away for more than four months without renewing the AHC from overseas (another minefield).

Dog by Mountain lake free image

Where Can I Get Advice to Take My Dog To Europe?

The Defra website ( offers guidance but you need to do some research to make sure you get it right.

There are some very helpful places to look for help.

If you’re sailing with Brittany Ferries you can email your scanned Animal Health Certificate to  It’s a free service and they will check that your certificate complies. One of our customers has used it and recommends it.

Is There A Facebook Group for Pet Travel To Europe?

Yes, there is also a Facebook group called Animal Health Certificate which is very active and very helpful. Whatever your question, someone has probably asked it before so it’s worth joining this group if you want more information about the whole process.

Labradoodle Schnauzer dog looking out of caravan window

What Do I Need To Do To Bring My Dog Into The UK?

The rules haven’t changed to get back into the UK. Your dog has to be wormed and vetted between 120 and 24 hours before arriving back in the UK.  This, you’ll be delighted to hear, is a cheap and easy process and it’s not at all difficult to find a vet in the EU to do it for you. Just google and contact a vet local to where you are.

There is another option to the AHC which many people are currently using, and that is to get an EU pet passport while you are away. There is some question about whether, long-term, this will continue to be possible. For now, many people have done it and have had no problem travelling with their dog on the new passport. It’s a cheap and convenient alternative to the very expensive Animal Health Certificate and lasts for the lifetime of the dog.

You do, though, have to make absolutely sure that you always have the rabies jab boosted in the EU. Your UK vet must not write in the passport. Again, the above-mentioned Facebook group has all the information you need. One of Stagler’s customers is now the proud owner of a Spanish Pet Passport! Issued for the princely sum of 12 euros so worth investigating.

Taking your dog to Europe Is Easy

So, the family dog can still go on your Continental holiday. It’s more complicated and expensive than it used to be. Give your dog the life adventure to enjoy the new smells and experiences they encounter abroad. It can be done! And, of course, don’t forget to pack their favourite antler!

Bon voyage!


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