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A Beginner Guide to Travelling to EU with Dog in 2024

travelling to EU with Dog

Taking your dog along on your European adventure can be an experience of a lifetime, but it also requires careful planning and preparation. Before setting off, ensure your dog is microchipped and vaccinated against rabies, critical prerequisites for obtaining the Animal Health Certificate (AHC). 

This document is vital for smooth travel within the EU and between the UK and the EU, valid for up to four months. Additionally, it’s crucial to adhere to health protocols like the mandatory tapeworm treatment before re-entering the UK. In this blog, we will help you ensure a stress-free travel experience while travelling to EU with dog. We will also inform you about everything from regulations on foods to considering a dog transport service

Understanding EU Pet Travel Regulations

Before you book your tickets, familiarise yourself with the latest EU pet travel regulations. As of 2024, dogs entering the EU must be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies. The microchip must comply with ISO 11784 or 11785 standards, and the rabies vaccination must be administered after the microchip is implanted.

The rabies vaccination is critical for obtaining an Animal Health Certificate, which is necessary for dogs travelling between the UK and the EU. This vaccination must be administered at least 21 days before issuing the Health Certificate. To ensure all requirements are met without any last-minute issues, it is advisable to have your dog vaccinated against rabies at least one month before your planned travel. 

In the UK, most rabies vaccinations remain valid for three years, allowing ample flexibility to vaccinate your dog well ahead of time. Early vaccination not only ensures compliance with travel regulations but also provides sufficient opportunity to verify that all necessary health checks are in place. During your appointment for the rabies vaccine, your veterinarian will first verify your dog's microchip and then administer the vaccine. 

They will also record the vaccination in your dog's clinical history, confirming that the microchip was checked and the vaccine was given correctly. While pet travel regulations do not mandate routine vaccinations, you may find that some accommodations, like campsites across the EU, require proof of these vaccinations for your dog to stay. 

It's important to note that the rabies vaccine should not be administered simultaneously with certain other vaccines, specifically those for kennel cough and Lepto 4. This precaution helps avoid any potential interference between the vaccines, ensuring each performs its intended protective function effectively.

Getting a Pet Passport or Animal Health Certificate

Before travelling to EU with Dog, you must secure an Animal Health Certificate (AHC), a crucial document for ensuring that your pet meets the required health standards for entry. Here are the key points about the Animal Health Certificate for pet transport UK to the EU:

  • The AHC can be issued only if 21 days have passed following your dog's initial rabies vaccination. If it's a booster shot and still valid, this waiting period does not apply.

  • You must obtain the AHC within 10 days of departing the UK. This ensures that the health information on the certificate is current and valid for entry into the EU.

  • Once issued, the AHC allows your dog to travel within the EU, Switzerland, Gibraltar, Norway, and Andorra for up to four months. It facilitates hassle-free travel across these regions without the need for additional health documentation.

  • The AHC is valid for a single entry into the EU and one return to the UK. It must be reissued for subsequent trips.

  • An AHC can cover up to five pets owned by the same person. It is versatile and can include different types of pets, like dogs, cats, and even ferrets, all on the same certificate.

Issuing the AHC

The AHC must be issued by an official veterinarian who is the UK government author. This does not necessarily have to be your regular vet. Any veterinarian who has the requisite qualifications can issue this certificate. Make sure to plan this step well in advance of your travel to ensure all conditions are met for the issuance of the AHC.

Ensuring Tapeworm Treatment for Dogs Before Re-entering the UK

Before travelling back to the UK with your dog from any EU country, it is crucial to adhere to specific health protocols concerning tapeworm treatment to prevent the spread of a dangerous tapeworm that can cause severe disease in humans. 

Dogs must receive tapeworm treatment from a licensed veterinarian, and this treatment must be administered at most 120 hours and 24 hours prior to your dog's scheduled arrival time in the UK. This timing is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment in preventing the tapeworm's entry into the UK.

For those planning brief visits to the EU—specifically, trips lasting less than five days—you can get your dog treated in the UK before departure. This preemptive treatment simplifies the process by avoiding seeking veterinary services abroad for short stays.

However, there are exceptions to this requirement. If your dog enters the UK directly from countries such as Ireland, Norway, Finland, or Malta, the tapeworm treatment is not mandatory. Like the pet transport UK regulations, these countries are recognised as free from tapeworm species that pose health risks to humans, eliminating the need for treatment when travelling from these locations.

Other Important Information for Pet Owners 

Declaring Your Pet at EU Entry Points

Just as you declare goods at customs, it is essential to declare your pet’s entry into the EU. Upon doing so, border control will stamp your Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to confirm your pet's entry, serving as an official record.

Travel Requirements for Dogs

Some ferry companies may require dogs to wear muzzles if they are not confined to your vehicle during the crossing. Check with your ferry company in advance to prepare accordingly. Eurotunnel does not require muzzles, as dogs remain in the vehicle throughout the journey.

Training and Socialisation

Prepare your dog for the journey by acclimatising them to their crate and handling environments that mimic busy airports. Additionally, before travelling to EU with Dog, socialise it to be comfortable around strangers and new environments, reducing stress during travel.

Regulations on Dog Food

EU legislation prohibits the import of meat-based dog food, including treats. However, an exception prohibits transporting up to 2kg of prescription pet food for dogs with special dietary needs. There are currently no restrictions on bringing dog food back to the UK from the EU.

Health Considerations

When travelling to the Mediterranean, be aware of insect-borne diseases such as Leishmaniasis, which are transmitted by sand flies and can pose a severe risk to your dog's health.

Preparing for the Journey

Choose a dog transport service and inquire about their requirements for transporting dogs. Some pet transporters allow small dogs to travel in the cabin, while others may require that dogs travel as checked baggage in a climate-controlled area. Ensure your dog's travel crate is IATA compliant, providing adequate space and ventilation.


Travelling to EU with dog in 2024 can be a delightful experience if you prepare well in advance. Securing an Animal Health Certificate and adhering to rabies and tapeworm treatment protocols will ensure compliance with all health regulations. Remember to declare your pet at EU entry points and be mindful of transport and dietary restrictions. 

If you're looking for a reliable way to transport your dog by road, consider using Exec Pets, a specialised pet transport company. We offer a comfortable and secure road transport service for your furry friends, ensuring they travel comfortably and safely. Our services are designed with pet well-being in mind, featuring climate-controlled vehicles and frequent stops to ensure pets can stretch and relieve themselves. Contact Us Today!


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