Can I take my dog on holiday to EU countries?

·4-min read
There are new rules to follow if you want to take your dog abroad this year (Getty)
There are new rules to follow if you want to take your dog abroad this year (Getty)

As foreign travel gradually returns, one key question remains: Post-Brexit, can we take our dogs to Europe?

A new survey from MoneySuperMarket has found that 88% of British dog owners are unsure about whether or not they can legally bring their pup with them on a trip to the Continent - despite 62% of dog owners already planning to take their beloved pet along.

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Rules around taking pets to the EU changed at the start of the year, when the UK formally left the EU which meant that pet passports issued in the UK are no longer valid for travel to mainland Europe.

“Lockdown has seen an explosion in pet ownership levels, with dog ownership in particular booming,” says Rose Howarth, head of pet insurance at MoneySuperMarket. 

“With summer soon upon us, hopes are high for a return to foreign travel, meaning many dog owners will be preparing for a holiday with their furry friend. 

“If you are planning to take your dog abroad, it’s really important that you know all the rules – particularly in light of the changes following the UK’s departure from the European Union,” she goes on. 

“If you don’t have the right documentation or jabs, it’s possible that you might not be able to cross the border into mainland Europe with your dog.”

It's best to travel by car (and the Eurotunnel) if possible (Getty)
It's best to travel by car (and the Eurotunnel) if possible (Getty)

So, can I take my dog to Europe?

Yes. But before taking your pup to Europe this summer, there are now four requirements you have to meet: your dog will need a valid animal healthcare certificate, they will need to be microchipped and have had both a rabies vaccine and a tapeworm treatment.

However, the survey found that only 12% of Brits are aware that their dogs will need to meet these requirements.

What are the best countries to take my dog to?

If you are heading to Europe, Blue Cross recommends travelling by Eurotunnel where possible as it’s the safest way to travel with a pet.

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With this in mind, it could be a good idea to head for neighbouring countries like France, Germany or Spain - although be sure to check which countries are on the government’s green list before travelling.

Do I need to get pet insurance?

According to the survey, 39% of dog owners are not sure if their pet insurance policy covers their dog getting sick abroad, while 23% said they didn’t have any pet insurance at all.

If you are travelling with pets, just as you would get travel insurance for yourself should you fall sick, it’s important to get insurance for your dog too.

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“We’re encouraging dog owners considering travelling with their dog to check their pet insurance policy,” Howarth continues.

“In the same way that travel insurance for people is a ‘must have’ for foreign holidays, it’s really important that your pet insurance policy covers you in case your dog falls ill abroad. 

If it doesn’t, you could get hit with some very costly bills, so check your policy to make sure you’re covered so that both you and your dog can sit back and fully enjoy your break!”

How expensive is it to leave my dog in a kennel?

Nearly two fifths of those surveyed (38%) said they were not planning on taking their dog with them on holiday this year with, 42% of these respondents planning to leave their dog with family, 25% putting their dog in a kennel and 17% having them stay with a dog sitter.

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MoneySuperMarket found that those leaving their dog in a kennel or with a sitter can expect to spend £142 on average.

To find out more about taking your pet abroad, visit gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad

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