What you need to know about traveling with your pet after Brexit

Author picture Ralf  - updated: 04/02/2020

One in two British households owns a pet, including around 8.5 million dogs. Despite this large number of UK pet owners, sharing information about traveling with pets after Brexit has not been a top priority. Here is our summary of how Brexit will affect you and your pet for the next 12 months and beyond.

Currently, traveling or moving with your pet is regulated mainly by EU laws and is quite straightforward. You need to have:

  1. your pet microchipped (proof of identity)
  2. a valid European pet passport, issued by an authorized vet and containing details of a valid anti-rabies vaccination.

Apart from these requirements, which are mainly for health and safety reasons, cats and dogs can currently travel or move freely within the EU. 

Here's the good news: Nothing will change for your pet before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, but what happens afterward depends on what is negotiated in the next 11 months. At present, dogs, cats, and ferrets can continue to travel freely across the EU on an EU pet passport, under the EU pet travel scheme. From next year, what they will need in the way of extra certificates and vaccinations will depend on whether the EU declares the UK a “part 1 listed third country” for pet travel purposes, a “part 2 listed third country” or an “unlisted third country”.

Vets are hopeful the UK will gain part 1 status, which would require your pet to be microchipped and vaccinated against rabies 21 days before travel and to hold a UK pet passport. A dozen non-EU European countries have this status. Many more, including the US, is part 2 listed, meaning pets need extra treatments (against tapeworm, for example) plus a vet’s certificate every time they travel. They must also enter the EU at a designated entry point.

The conditions for pets from unlisted countries are even stricter. A worst-case scenario could result in owners having to pay considerable sums for extra vaccinations, treatments, and certification every time their pets travel and having to start the process up to four months beforehand.

All travel with pets will require more advance planning and to make sure your pet is able to travel from the UK through the EU after Brexit, you should contact an official vet at least four months before traveling to get the latest advice and update. If your pet does not have the proper certificates you will not be able to take with you. When making travel plans, keep in mind that in addition to any changes in UK law it will remain important to check the national rules of the country of destination before traveling with a pet. 

Pawshake found this pet-related page to be the most helpful. Be sure to check it well in advance when planning to travel with your pet.

One thing you do not have to worry about: Pawshake's friendly, reliable, and fully vetted pet sitters are always there to lovingly look after your pets while you roam the world or just spending a night on the town.