So, you have seen wonderful pictures of people exploring the world with their furry friends and you cannot wait to start your own journey. You saved up for it, you are happy with your van setup and have a clear idea of where you want to go.
Sorry to be a killjoy but there is still one thing you need to worry about: your dog passport.
The implementation of the EU pet passport has made pet movements easier and diminished the need for quarantine. One of the major reasons why pet movements need to be carefully monitored is rabies.
Technically the UK is a rabies-free country so it’s quite straightforward to travel from the UK to any other EU country. More difficult is to travel from a rabies-controlled country (basically any other EU countries other than Sweden) into the UK. You can find more info on rabies-free, rabies-controlled and high risk countries here.
I am writing this post to give you a rough idea on how travelling with a pet works, but please do check with your vet if your dog is fit to travel and all of the different countries pet travelling policies!
HOW TO GET YOUR PET PASSPORT IN THE UK
The pet passport issuing is quite straightforward in the UK and costs about £70/£100 depending where you are. Your pet has to be older than 3 months to be able to travel.
All you need to do is to call up your vet and ask if they can issue one. If they do, they will ask you to come in with your dog so that they can check the microchip n., owner and dog details, and give your dog the rabies vaccination.
Once the rabies vaccination has been administered, you will need to wait 21 days before being able to leave the country. I was asked to go back and collect Odie’s passport after this 3 week period.
It is vital that you make sure the microchip number is transcribed correctly in the passport and that all the details are up to date (residence address etc.), or you might not cross the border.
TRAVELLING FROM THE UK TO OTHER EU COUNTRIES
Here is where things can get a bit complicated. Each EU country has it’s own “travelling pets” policies. This means that some countries will require extra vaccinations or papers to be filled in on top of your pet passport.
Before setting off, it is really important that you inform yourself on what are the rules in each country you intend to visit. If your dog does not comply with the requirements he/she might risk quarantine, not cool!
This site has been of incredible help on my travels as it describes in detail each country requirements. I looked at all the countries I wanted to visit and found out which ones where OK for Odie and which ones where off-limits.
For example, I purposefully avoided travelling across Switzerland, as Switzerland requires an extra vaccination against Distemper. I’m not saying that it’s bad to vaccinate your dog against Distemper, just that at the time I thought Odie already had enough vaccines inputted in his body.
I would suggest you checking ALL the countries you intend to visit beforehand to avoid last minute surprises.
Also, not all ferry companies are able to carry pets. Here you can find a comprehensive list of the approved companies.
TRAVELLING TO THE UK FROM OTHER EU COUNTRIES
As I mentioned above, as the UK is considered a rabies-free country, entering in the UK from another EU country can be a bit more complicated.
The main factor that complicates things is that your dog will need a tapeworm treatment administered to him/her (cats are exempt from this) on top of being up to date with the rabies vaccinations and having a valid passport. The treatment needs to be administered minimum 24 h and maximum 120 h before your entry in the UK. This means that you will need to organize the treatment to be carried out at a vet in the country your are visiting. This can be difficult if you don’t speak the local language!
Once again, organization is key. I would suggest you to email or call vet clinics beforehand and ask whether they provide this service, then call a week or so before your departure to fix an appointment.
The tapeworm treatment costed me about £50 near Metz (France) a couple of years ago. I would budget about £100 pound for it as it varies from vet to vet.
More info on the tapeworm treatment can be found on the gov.uk site.
CROSSING BORDERS WITH YOUR DOG
I must admit, crossing borders can be an extremely stressing moment, especially if you are travelling with your pet. My worst nightmare would be to have the access denied or even worse having Odie put into quarantine because of lack of documents/vaccinations.
I have been lucky enough not to have any issues with Odie. I guess that’s because I thoroughly checked all the requirements before attempting entering another country.
My tips for crossing borders would hence be:
- make sure that you are LEGAL by checking with the country customs or dedicated sites. Do contact them if you are unsure! Better safe then sorry.
- double check your pet’s passport and make sure everything is in order. Keep it ready for controls.
- tire your dog out before the crossing. Customs can be nerve wracking and I’m sure your friend can feel it. The last thing you want is a restless, whiny dog on the back!
Do share any tips you have and experiences on travelling with your pets on your comments below!
- The Brittany ferries checklist for travelling with pets;
- The requirements to enter the UK with pets;
- Online forum on pet travelling.
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