Dog On Surfboard

Going abroad with your dog can feel like navigating a minefield. A lot of people choose to leave their dogs behind because the whole process can feel so overwhelming. We’re here to outline the steps you need to take, so you can know where you stand when it comes to having a full family holiday.

Before we get started, it’s important to know that the rules will change slightly depending upon where you’re going. What we’ve put together below is for if you are going to Europe with your dog (EU only) – if your destination is somewhere more exotic, it’s advisable to do some of your own research too.

Check your travel company’s pet policy

Before you get stuck into the rules around travelling with your dog, you need to make sure that it’s actually possible in the first place. If you’ve yet to make your travel arrangements, search around to see which companies accept dogs. Even if you’re travelling by car, you will need to check your ferry company’s policy on pets coming on board. Think about every step of the journey, too – for example, your airline may allow dogs (UK airlines don’t let dogs in the cabin as a general rule, though some may allow them to travel as cargo), but have you checked if you can get your dog from the airport to your accommodation?
Tram Doors

 In addition to this, think about how you’re going to get around once you’re there. Check your destination country’s rules around dogs in public, as many of them require your dog to either be crated or muzzled. If your dog needs to be muzzled, we advise a basket muzzle as this allows your dog to breathe and pant freely. If you have any questions about muzzles, please email us at and our resident Dog Behaviourist will be happy to help you.

If you have a bull breed, mastiff, or rottweiler, some countries consider these to be dangerous dogs and may have further stipulations that you need to also consider before travelling – always check with your destination country before travelling so you can be prepared for any eventuality.


Once you’ve gone through all of your travel arrangements and double checked that they’re pet-friendly, you can start prepping your pup for travel. It is a legal obligation in the UK that any dog older than 8 weeks is microchipped, but you should make sure that all of the associated information is correct. Battersea Cats and Dogs Home found that up to 63% of dogs have out of date microchip information, so take this as your reminder to get it updated!
Microchip Scan

It's also worth noting that travel companies can only read certain standards of microchip, so it’s a good idea to bring your own microchip scanner with you just in case.

Rabies Vaccinations

Most countries, including Great Britain, will need your dog to have a valid rabies vaccination. This means that the primary injection must have been given at least 3 weeks before the date you’re due to travel, and they shouldn’t be due any boosters whilst you’re away.
Your dog must be microchipped before having their rabies vaccinations so everything can be adequately recorded.


Animal Health Certificate

Since Britain left the EU in 2021, our pet passports are no longer accepted by most EU countries. This means you’re most likely going to need what’s known as an ‘Animal Health Certificate’, or ‘AHC’.
An AHC is only valid for 10 days before you arrive in the EU, so make sure to get it done no more than 10 days before you travel. It will then be valid for 4 months for any onward travel and for returning home.
Dog with Vet
It’s also important to note that only Official Veterinarians (OVs) have the authority to sign an AHC, so it’s worth checking with your vet if this is something they can offer well ahead of time. If they can’t, they should be able to help you find a professional who can. 

Tapeworm Treatment

Some countries will require your dog to have a tapeworm treatment 1-5 days before you arrive. This will need to be given by a vet and recorded on the AHC. The countries that have this regulation are:
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway
  • Malta
If you’re travelling to one of these countries, you can read more about this here.
Remember, these rules can vary slightly depending upon your destination, so always be sure to check the most up-to-date guides for your specific country ahead of time.

Coming Home

Coming home can be just as complicated as getting there in the first place!
  • You will need to travel by an approved route. Check if your route is allowed.
  • Your dog’s rabies vaccination must still be valid, so make sure it isn’t due to expire whilst you’re away
  • The microchip must still be functional and in place
  • Your dog must be treated for tapeworm, by a vet, between 24 and 120 hours (1-5 days) before you arrive in Great Britain. For most people, this means they have to be treated whilst abroad. The treatment must contain praziquantel or equivalent, which is effective against the species Echinococcus multilocularis, and it must be recorded on the AHC. It’s a good idea to find a vet that can do this before you travel.
If you don’t follow these rules, your dog is likely to be placed into quarantine for up to 4 months, or they may even be refused entry to the country – so go through them with a fine-toothed comb!
Dog On Decking

We hope this information has helped to give you an overview of what you need to think about when you travel with your pet. If you choose to go ahead, we wish you the most wonderful of holidays with your furry family!

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