Taking Your Dog to Europe

Taking your new dog on holiday to Europe with you is easy provided you can drive to your destination. It just takes a little planning ahead. Firstly, your dog should be microchipped. It is the law in the UK that all dogs over 8 weeks old should be microchipped so you should be good to go here. Next you will need a Pet Passport and a rabies injection. Your vet can supply both at the same time. Make sure you do it at least 21 days before you intend to return to the UK.

Taking your dog to Europe by car

The Crossing

When you set off, don’t forget to take your dog’s passport as well as your own! At the port they will ask for the dog’s passport and will ask you to run the scanner over the microchip. Try to get your dog to empty his/her bowels and bladder while you wait in the car park to board. Once on board the dog will not be allowed on the upper decks, and passengers may not remain on the car deck, so he/she must be left alone in the car. Provide a favourite toy, water bowl and perhaps some dog biscuits. Make sure the ventilation is adequate. On a warm day it may be a good idea to have a cooling pad like this:

I can’t speak for the rest of Europe because we have only taken our dog to France. In France dogs are much more welcome in hotels and restaurants there than they are in the UK.

One extra thing to remember when you are preparing to return. You must visit a vet for a tapeworm treatment (a tablet) between one and five days before your scheduled arrival time in the UK. Forget this and your new dog won’t be allowed back in the country!

This is meant as a handy guide, but you should always check the full regulations at https://www.gov.uk/bring-your-pet-to-uk for the latest advice.

Obtaining a Pet Passport

If you intend to travel outside the UK with your dog you are going to need to get a Pet Passport. The easiest way to do this is to get one through your local vet. The passport will allow you to travel to all EU countries, plus a specified list of non-EU countries. If your destination is not on this list you will not be able to take your dog with you. It is wrong to think everything is OK if you look up the regulations for your destination and find your dog will be allowed in – the problems will arise when you try to bring the dog back into the UK from these non-listed countries. So it is more of a negative check because the UK publishes a list of listed non-UK countries, and if it’s not on this list it will not be allowed in without a lengthy and expensive stay in quarantine kennels. The listed non-EU countries are:
Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, BES Islands (Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba), Bosnia-Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Saint Maarten, Singapore, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Taiwan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, USA (includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US virgin Islands), Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
There are special rules for dogs returning from Jamaica, Australia and Malaysia – check with you vet.
Your dog will need to have been microchipped, which should have occurred before 8 weeks of age. Before you travel the dog must have had a rabies injection, and you must wait 21 days from the date of the injection before the dog will be allowed back in the country. Before you return the dog must have had a tapeworm treatment between one and five days before the date of travel, which must be recorded and certified by the overseas vet.
The cost for issuing the passport can vary from vet to vet, and depending what actions are necessary – check with your vet.