Holiday booked. Travel insurance done. Passport ready. But have you got everything ready for your pet to travel with you? Following Brexit, there have been some changes to how you can travel with your pet, be that your dog, cat or ferret.

We will discuss some points that will help you with making sure everything goes smoothly for your holiday. Make sure you check for any additional regulations for the area you are travelling to, it is your responsibility to check the current rules.

Firstly any pet passport issued in Great Britain is no longer valid for travel into the European Union or Northern Ireland, you will instead need an Animal Health Certificate. We would always advise you to discuss travelling with your pet with your vet to get the most up to date information. 

Here are our top tips for a happy holiday: 

1. Plan in advance

Book an appointment with your vet sooner rather than later. As you will see there are lots of bits that need to be done to ensure a smooth travel experience, so we would advise you to call your vet and book to see them or to chat through the requirements. You will need to see an Official Veterinarian or OV for short, they have qualifications to allow them to sign off pet travel. You may want to ask about the cost implications as well as ways to travel your pet so they remain calm and don’t find it a stressful experience. It is important to make it enjoyable for you all.

2. Microchip

All pets who wish to travel must be microchipped. This is a legal requirement in all dogs by the age of 8 weeks, but all cats must have one also. The microchip should be placed before a rabies vaccination can be given. Please make sure the microchip is registered to you and you have put at least one contact number. 

3. Rabies vaccination

All dogs, cats and ferrets will need a rabies vaccination 21 days before the expected travel date. This is because Great Britain is rabies free but many countries are not and we do not want the risk of bringing the highly infectious disease back into the country. Your pet must be at least 12 weeks of age to have this vaccine. 

4. Worming treatment

This varies depending upon the country you are visiting. If you are travelling directly to Finland, Malta, Ireland (or NI) your pet will need a tapeworm treatment. If you are travelling elsewhere your vet may advise you on preventative treatments to give. This is to stop your pet becoming ill, but mainly to prevent exotic diseases being spread. For example, along the Mediterranean coast, sandflies that can spread Leishmania and Heartworm are present, and so effective treatment is needed to minimise the risk of infection. In many European countries, there are “exotic” species of tick that are not found in the UK. These can carry serious diseases, and so tick treatment is also very important for your pet’s own protection, even though it isn’t a legal requirement.

5. Animal Health Certificate 

This must be done by an OV, but not more than 10 days before you travel. These are quite long documents and must be filled in correctly, so your vet may ask you for details prior to your visit to help ease the process. You will need to bring proof of microchipping and rabies vaccine history if done elsewhere. This document will state where you will enter the EU. 


Returning to Great Britain will involve a trip to your vet abroad as depending upon your holiday destination your pet may require a tapeworm treatment to be given between 24 hours and 5 days before you return. Your Animal Health Certificate is valid for returning to Great Britain within 4 months from when it was issued.

For any further information or questions you may have please speak to your vet. 

Finally, have a wonderful holiday with your furry friend, Bon voyage!

You may also be interested in;

Further Reading 

Taking your pet dog, cat or ferret abroad