Taking your pet on holiday | Guide to travelling abroad to the EU with your pet

Taking your pet on holiday | Guide to travelling abroad to the EU with your pet

By Antinol Team

Yes! Summer is here! You’re dreaming of heading to the beach, lead in hand, for a splash about with your pooch. Or maybe relaxing in a luxurious villa with your cat, somewhere fabulous.

Taking your pet on holiday abroad can be worrying, especially if you’re heading to the EU post-Brexit. But with the right information and planning, embarking on an adventure abroad with your pet is an exciting, safe experience for the whole family.

Check out our guide to going on holiday in the EU with your pet.

Pet passports and travelling to the EU

Since Brexit, the rules about travelling to the EU with your pet have changed. Always check the current regulations before you leave on the government's website, and ensure you are up to date with the rules of travel in your destination country.

When travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland, your pet needs:

These requirements also apply to assistance dogs and service animals.

You cannot travel with more than 5 pets (unless attending or training for an event). Check government regulations if you do need to travel with more.

In most cases, pet passports issued in the UK are no longer valid for travel to the EU. Instead you will require an animal health certificate. This will be specific to the country you are visiting and will likely be in that country's language. Your vet can help with this.

Always check the current travel guidance in the UK and your destination well in advance of travel.

Veterinary health considerations

To travel to the EU with your pet, you will most likely need an Animal Health Certificate from your vet. This needs to be completed no more than 10 days before travel. 

Make sure you book an appointment with your vet to ensure your appointment fits with your travel plans.

Assuming you travel within 10 days of issue, you then have up to 4 months to return from your destination using the same certificate.

Your pet will need

  • A valid microchip that works and reads easily.
  • A rabies vaccination. This needs to be done in advance of your health certificate, as you cannot travel within 21 days of the initial vaccinations. You don't need to wait to travel after a booster vaccination, assuming there has been no break in vaccination coverage.
  • Tapeworm treatment. A vet must treat your dog for tapeworm and record it in the pet passport or health certificate every time you want to return to Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland), or directly visit Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway. The treatment must have been given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you enter the above countries. Your dog can be refused entry or put into quarantine if you do not follow this rule.

If you choose to travel to a non-EU country, please check local and international guidance.


Before you travel abroad with your pet

Planning is key to a happy holiday with your pet. Knowing what to expect when you arrive and preparing for all eventualities means everyone will arrive with a waggy tail, ready for adventure.


Check the temperatures, and make sure you keeping your dog safe in the heat. Always carry plenty of water and invest in a travel bowl or dog bottle if it’s going to be a scorcher.


Find local vet clinics and if you will need tapeworm treatment whilst away, pre-arrange your appointment at your destination.


This may be trickier than you think. You can no longer take any meat derivatives into the EU post-Brexit. This means no pet food unless prescribed by a vet (and even then, you can only take 2kg). So pet food will take some planning.  You can take vegan food with you (which is fine for dogs but not for cats). This may be a good emergency option to ensure you have something available. Once you reach your destination most popular brands of pet food will be available, so pop to the shops as soon as possible.

Hotel and local policies

Familiarise yourself with cultural norms and the rules regarding pets at your destination.  Are they allowed on the beach, and what are the regulations about off-lead walking? When it comes to booking accommodation, look for pet-friendly places to stay. Many hotels require you to pay extra fees for pets, but some are happy for your furry friend to tag along for free.

Pet-friendly eating out

Check out local pet-friendly restaurants and cafes so you don't need to leave your furry friend alone when you go out for dinner. 


Ensure you have a good supply of your pet’s medications. Check they are legal to carry and keep them in your checked baggage where possible. You may also need to consider travel sickness medication. Discuss this with your vet. 

Prepare your pet

Crate train your dog in advance, and make your cat’s travel basket a safe and cosy space for them. If they are used to their travel accommodation before the trip, they will feel much happier, safer and calmer about the whole experience. Invest in a calmer - try a herbal room spray or a pheromone spray or collar. You can even get car plug-ins for long journeys.


Make copies of all your travel documents just in case of an emergency.




When you arrive at your destination

You made it! The sun is shining. You are ready to relax with your pet or head out on an adventure with your dog. How can you make your holiday as stress-free as possible for your pet?

Don’t leave them alone

In the initial few days, try not to leave your pet alone for long. They will feel anxious in an unfamiliar place, and having you nearby will help them to settle.

Explore with your dog

Head out, have fun and go on adventures together. Remember to keep an eye on the temperature, be wary of the risks of sunstroke, and stay alert for native wildlife that may pose a risk to your dog.


If you’re relaxing, your pet will feel calmer and more relaxed in their new accommodation too. So grab a book, and chill out. 😎


Returning to the UK

Coming back to the UK will require tapeworm treatment, no matter which EU country you travel from. 

This MUST be administered by an approved vet (you can’t do it yourself) no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before returning to Great Britain. 

The only exceptions to this rule are if you are travelling directly from Finland, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta.


To reenter Great Britain you will need…

  • An EU pet passport (issued in the EU or in Great Britain before 1 January 2021), or a pet passport from a Part 1 listed third country
  • The Animal Health Certificate issued in Great Britain used on your outbound travel to the EU which is valid for up to four months for re-entry into Great Britain from the date of issue
  • A GB Pet Health Certificate (for travel into Great Britain only)
  • A valid microchip (as on departure)
  • Current rabies vaccinations (as on departure) 

Can I leave my pet at home when I go on holiday?

Travelling with your pet isn't for everyone. So if you decide to leave your pet at home, you have several options.

  • Leave them in the care of an approved kennels or cattery
  • Hire a pet sitter. They may do house visits, live in your house, or have your pet stay with them.
  • Ask a trusted friend or family member to pet sit for you. 

There are, of course, pros and cons to each. You know your pet best—weigh up which option will suit them, and your budget, best.

Not heading for sunnier climes and opting for a staycation this year? Check out our guide to traveling in the car with your dog...for stress-free summer trip

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