Taking your Dog Abroad - What you Need to Know

Dog looking out a car window on the French Riviera

Taking your Dog to the Abroad - What you Need to Know 

Thinking of taking your dog on holiday abroad this year? If so, it's never too early to start planning. There are vital steps you'll need to be aware of to ensure your dog is ready to travel!

Taking your dog to areas of the EU like France, Italy, Spain, the UK, or even other parts of the British Isles is not especially difficult, but it requires careful planning! 


Golden Labrador at the vets

Your dog will require an Animal Health Certificate to enter the EU, so it's vital your start your preparations as early as possible

For your dog to be eligible to enter the EU, the UK, and other areas of the British Isles, the following requirements must be in place:

  • Microchipped - Your dog must be microchipped, which can be done by most Vets. The microchip holds all your dog's details. Also, if you're preparing your doggy for travel or even considering it, it is best to get the Rabies vaccination at the same time as the microchipping. Your Vet will advise you further on this.
  • Rabies - Your dog must be vaccinated against Rabies and this process will take at least four months to complete. For a dog to be vaccinated, it needs to be at least 12 weeks old. 30 days from the date the vaccination is administered, a blood sample is taken by your Vet and sent to be tested. Provided the blood sample is successful, you will then have to wait three months before you can travel to the EU. If the blood test is unsuccessful, further treatments and blood tests will be required, thus adding to the time before your dog will be eligible to travel. As long as your dog's rabies vaccinations are kept up to date, you will not be required to get repeat blood tests prior to trips to the EU.
  • AHC - Your dog will require an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) to be issued by a vet not more than 10 days before you travel to the EU. Your dog's AHC will be valid for 10 days after the date of issue to gain entry to the EU. It will also be valid for four months for onward travel within the EU and will be valid for four months from the date of issue to re-enter the UK. Note - To be issued with an AHC, you will need to provide proof of - the date of microchipping, the date of the successful rabies Vaccination as well as proof of a successful rabies antibody blood test result. Note - Your dog will need a new AHC for each trip to the EU.
  • Proof - When travelling to the EU, you must take proof of the date your dog was microchipped, plus your dog's vaccination history, as well as your dog's successful Rabies antibody test results. 

'If your dog is not used to travelling by car on long journeys, make time in advance of any trip to trial your dog on longer car journeys'

Tapeworm Treatments - Your dog will not require a tapeworm treatment to enter most EU countries. However, when travelling to Northern Ireland, Ireland, Finland, Malta and Norway, the requirements are slightly different. For the latest information - Check Here


Sign with border control on it

Dogs travelling to the UK from the EU will be required to:

  • Have either one of the following documents - A Pet Passport registered in the UK or EU prior to 31/12/2020; A valid AHC that was issued in the UK; A UK pet health certificate (for travel to the UK only)
  • You will not need this documentation if your dog is travelling from Northern Ireland; The Channel Islands; or The Isle of Man.
  • Dogs travelling back to the UK must be treated for tapeworm. The purchase of tapeworm treatment must be purchased from an Official Vet and this must be marked in the pet passport prior to travelling. The treatment must be administered at least 24 hours before return to the UK but not more than 120 hours. Dog owners are advised to treat their dogs again at least 28 days after returning to the UK. If you are travelling back to the UK from Malta, Norway, Finland or the Republic of Ireland, your dog will not be required to be treated for Tapeworm.

Find A Vet

When considering taking your dog to the EU or further afield, your Vet will be able to give you the best advice based on your doggies needs.

If you are at the start of the process and are looking for a Vet, you can search the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons directory to find registered Vets in your area SEARCH HERE

Pet Passports

If your UK-registered dog has a valid EU pet passport issued prior to Dec 31st 2020, it could still be used to re-enter the UK from the EU - Find out More

The reason EU pet passports registered prior to Dec 31st 2020 can still be used for entry to the UK, is, that the pet passport is an EU-registered document. Dogs owned by UK nationals who live in the EU can still be allowed to enter the UK with their valid EU pet passport as long as the Rabies vaccinations are kept up to date!

Top Tips Summary

1. Plan - Contact your vet and allow plenty of time to make all the arrangements. 

2. Admin - Ensure you have all your paperwork and certificates in order before you travel.

3. Test - Ensure your dog will be ok on long journeys before your holidays. Take longer drives with your dog in the car to get your dog used to longer journeys.

4. Travel - Ensure your dog is booked in advance when travelling by ferry/boat, train or aeroplane as there may be limitations by the carrier as to the number of dogs they can take bookings for. 

5. Check - Read up on the country's rules that you will travel to and through where your dog will be admitted.  


For all the latest UK government guidance, please visit - Taking Your Pet To Europe/Taking Your Pet To The UK.  


Dog Friendly Scotland has many beautiful dog-friendly, hotels, holiday homes, lodges, cottages, and cabins for you to choose from when booking your next break away. Our new website is adding new accommodations each day. Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page to see all the new properties being added, blogs, news and much more.  

First published - 24/11/2020. Updated - 28/01/2022 - 01/03/2024.
Author - Charlotte Vale 

NOTE - Information contained in this article was accurate at the time of publishing and should be used for guidance only. Whilst we make every effort to keep our information up to date, public information is constantly changing and therefore, no responsibility will be accepted if this information becomes out of date or which warrants this information to be inaccurate.

Share this Blog
Back to Blog


Thursday 23 June, 2022. 6.19pm

Great advice. Wish I'd seen this months ago. I've signed up for your newsletter, can you keep me informed if this advice changes, please. Thanks

Add a Comment