If you decide to go abroad with your pet this year there are a number of considerations you must take into account to ensure your holiday goes smoothly. All pet owners should be aware of the new rules concerning pet travel between Great Britain (GB), Northern Ireland (NI), and the European Union (EU) that came into effect in January 2021.
Microchipping for pet travel
When travelling to NI or the EU, you must ensure that your pet is microchipped. You will need to get your pet microchipped before or on the same day as they have their rabies vaccination, otherwise they will need to be vaccinated again.
Make sure your vet records your pet’s microchip number in your animal health certificate – the time recorded must precede your pet’s vaccinations.
It is a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped before they are eight weeks old.
If you are unsure which database you are with, use our microchip look up to check.
We are the only member of Europetnet based in the United Kingdom. Europetnet is a network of thirty five databases from across Europe that work to reunite thousands of lost animals with their owners throughout the continent. This means that if your pet goes missing when you are on holiday, you will have a greater chance of being reunited.
When your pet is found, their microchip can be scanned and microchip number inputted into Europetnet’s search facility. We will then be contacted and can quickly notify you to reunite you with your pet.
New pet travel rules for GB-based owners travelling from GB to NI/EU
If you are travelling from GB to NI or the EU with a dog, cat or ferret, your pet will need:
- A microchip
- A valid rabies vaccination
- An animal health certificate (unless you have a valid pet passport issued in an EU member state or NI). Animal health certificates are valid for ten days after the date of issue for entry into the EU. They are valid for four months from the date of issue for onward travel within the EU and re-entry into GB
- Tapeworm treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to NI, Republic of Ireland, Finland, Norway or Malta.
We can help to you to obtain these documents by providing a printable PDF with all the details of your pet’s microchip registration. Complete our online form to request these.
You will need to travel through a travellers’ point of entry when you arrive in an EU country or NI, and you may need to show your pet’s animal health certificate along with proof of their microchip, rabies vaccination, and tapeworm treatment (if required).
You will need to obtain a new animal health certificate for each trip to NI or the EU and, if you are a dog owner, your dog will need tapeworm treatment for each trip if you are travelling directly to the countries listed above. Your pet will not need a repeat rabies vaccination, as long as you ensure that their vaccinations are up-to-date.
New pet travel rules for NI-based owners travelling from NI to GB/EU
NI-based pet owners can continue to use a valid EU pet passport to travel to EU countries. If your pet passport was issued prior to 1 January 2021, you will need to take this to a veterinarian participating in the Pet Passport Scheme to be updated. When obtaining a pet passport, you will need to take your pet, your pet’s identity and vaccination records, and rabies blood test results (if your pet needs them).
For NI-based pet owners travelling to GB, you will not need any documentation or health preparations. However, a valid pet passport will be required to re-enter NI. Dog owners will also need to make sure that their dog has met the tapeworm treatment requirements when returning to NI.
What to do before you leave
As well as following the steps outlined above, you will need to make sure that your contact details are updated on your pet’s microchip by contacting your microchipping database. You will also need to update the microchip to include your holiday details, such as the address of where you will be staying, whilst overseas. If your pet goes missing, this will enable authorities to reunite you and your pet more quickly.