Pet owners will still be able to travel to Europe with their pet after the UK leaves the EU, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

However, in the event of no deal, they may need to take some additional steps to be able to travel with their pet to the EU.

Before 29th March 2019

Under the current EU Pet Travel Scheme, owners of dogs, cats and ferrets can travel with their animals to and from EU countries provided they hold a valid EU Pet Passport.

Before a pet can travel from the UK to an EU country for the first time, it must be taken to an Official Veterinarian (OV) such as the Crossways team, at least 21 days before travel. The vet will ensure the animal has a microchip and rabies vaccination, before issuing an EU pet passport, which, at present, remains valid for travel for the pet’s lifetime or until all of the treatment spaces are filled.

After 29th March 2019

If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, it would become a ‘third country’ for the purposes of the EU Pet Travel Scheme.

Depending on the status afforded to the UK on exit the arrangements for taking your pet abroad may change significantly.

If the UK becomes a Part 1 listed country there would be very little change to the current arrangements.

Alternatively, If the UK becomes a Part 2 listed country there may be some changes although pet owners would still need to ensure Rabies vaccinations were up to date and they would need to see a vet at least 21 days in advance of travel for the first time.

In the worst-case scenario, the UK could become an unlisted third country and this could have more significant implications for pet travel to the EU. For that reason, if you are planning to travel with your pet after 29th March 2019 you should contact us at least four months in advance to check what you need to do.

In summary, if the UK is classed as an unlisted third country, you will need to take the following steps to make sure your pet can travel after 29 March 2019:

  1. You must get your dog, cat or ferret microchipped and then vaccinated against rabies before it can travel. Your pet must have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. You’ll need to talk to your vet about whether you need a rabies vaccination or booster before this test.(Pets that have previously had a blood test and have an up-to-date rabies vaccination do not need to repeat the blood test)
  2. The blood sample is sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory.
  3. The results of the blood test must show that the vaccination was successful (Your pet must have a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml).
  4. You must wait 3 months from the date of the successful blood sample was taken before you travel.
  5. You must take your pet to an Official Veterinarian (OV), no more than 10 days before travel to get a health certificate.

Your pet health certificate would be valid for:

  • 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU
  • 4 months of onward travel within the EU
  • re-entry to the UK for 4 months after the date of issue

On arrival in the EU, pet owners travelling with their pets would be required to enter through a designated Travelers’ Point of Entry (TPE). At the TPE, the pet owner may be asked to present proof of microchip, rabies vaccination and the blood test result alongside their pet’s health certificate.

Repeat trips to the EU

Pets that have previously had a blood test and have an up-to-date rabies vaccination do not need to repeat the blood test. Your pet will need a health certificate for each trip to the EU.

To get a new health certificate you must bring your pet to us no more than 10 days before you travel. You must bring proof of:

  • your pet’s vaccination history
  • a successful rabies antibody blood test result

Return to the UK

Your pet must have one of the following documents when returning to the UK:

  • an existing EU pet passport (both for UK and EU citizens)
  • the EU health certificate issued in the UK used to travel to the EU
  • a UK pet health certificate (issued outside the UK for travel into the UK only)

The Government/DEFRA have published further guidance for pet owners: