Travelling to Europe with Dogs by Car

Travelling to Europe with Dogs by Car

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Read time: 7 mins

31 May 2023

If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your pup behind whilst you go abroad the good news is, you don’t have to. However, there are some rules and regulations you need to be aware of. Since Brexit, a few things have changed that have made freedom of movement a little trickier, so planning ahead is essential to guarantee a stress-free trip.

Can I Take My Dog to Europe by Car?

Yes, dogs are allowed to travel to Europe by car as long as they meet all of the necessary requirements for admittance.

For advice on how to travel safely with dogs in the car, check out our guide.

What are the Requirements for Taking Dogs into Europe from the UK?

As a team of dedicated pet parents, we here at Butternut Box are up-to-date on all the things pet travel related. Our pooches deserve a holiday too, after all.

This information does not apply to residents of Northern Ireland, but residents of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) only.

According to Gov.uk, the following guidelines apply:

When travelling to an EU country or Northern Ireland from Great Britain, your pet needs to have:

• a microchip

• a valid rabies vaccination

•an animal health certificate, or a valid pet passport that’s accepted in the country you’re travelling to

tapeworm treatment for dogs if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta

*These requirements also apply to assistance dogs

Always check the individual requirements of each country before you travel, as they may have additional restrictions in place.

What Documents Do I Need to Take My Dog to Europe?

You will need to provide all of the above information in the form of documentation at both the UK and EU border, so make sure you have copies. Your vet can help to provide these.

European Pet Passport

This is an essential document which allows freedom of travel between EU countries. As Great Britain is no longer part of the EU, residents are no longer eligible. 

As of 1 January 2021, EU pet passports issued to a pet owner, who is a resident in Great Britain, are no longer valid for travel with pets from GB to an EU country or Northern Ireland. You cannot use a pet passport issued in Great Britain, unless the individual country accepts these.

Instead, you are required to have an EU Animal Health Certificate.

EU Animal Health Certificate

This has to be issued and signed by an official veterinarian (OV), so check that your vet is approved to issue an animal health certificate.

You must get an animal health certificate no earlier than 10 days before you enter the EU. In order to get an animal health certificate your pet will need to have an up-to-date rabies vaccination.

The animal health certificate will be valid after the date of issues for:

• 10 days for entry into the EU or Northern Ireland

• 4 months onward travel within the EU

• 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain

Your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland from Great Britain. 

Rabies Vaccination

Whilst we’re lucky enough to not have rabies present in Great Britain, it does exist within certain countries in Europe. Because of this, it is essential to protect your pet and help to prevent spreading the deadly disease.

If your pet needs a rabies vaccination, you must then wait 21 days after the vaccination date before you get an animal health certificate. Day 1 being the day after vaccination.

Microchipping

You are required to get your dog microchipped before, or at the same time, as their rabies vaccination otherwise they’ll need to be vaccinated again.

Tapeworm Treatment

You do not need a tapeworm treatment to travel to other European countries from Great Britain. However, you do need a tapeworm treatment for re-entry into Great Britain.

A vet in your country of travel must treat your dog for tapeworm and keep a record of it, via either an animal health certificate or a valid pet passport.

Treatment is required in Great Britain before your departure if you’re travelling directly to Finland, Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway. This should be carried out no less than 24 hours and no more than 5 days before you arrive.

Can I Take My Dog on the Eurotunnel?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the Eurotunnel.

However, you can only bring a maximum of five dogs with you, unless you’re travelling for something like a competition or sporting event, but you’ll need extra documentation to support this.

It’s actually pretty straightforward, too. Dogs are required to stay in the car with you for the entire duration of the journey, unless you’re taking them to dedicated pet exercise areas. They are not allowed in the terminal buildings, where the restaurants and leisure areas are. 

Thankfully, the journey from Folekstone to Calais only takes 35 minutes, so your pooch shouldn’t get too dismayed by this.

It costs £22 per dog, each way. You will need to have all of the required travel documentation (listed above), along with your booking details to be permitted for travel. We would always recommend booking your dog onto the Eurotunnel well in advance of your travel date, to avoid disappointment. You can do so here.

Can I Take My Dog on the Ferry?

Yes, dogs can travel to Europe on a ferry, provided that they stay in your vehicle for the duration of travel.

As the journey can be significantly longer by ferry, we would recommend opting for one of the shorter crossings where possible, to minimise the time that your dog needs to spend in the car. This is particularly important on hot days as your dog will become uncomfortable.

Some ferry providers also allow foot passengers to take a dog, with pet-friendly cabins too.

Similar to the Eurotunnel, the cost for taking your dogs on the ferry via car is usually around £22 per dog, each way. However, this can vary based on the ferry company. You will need to have all of the required travel documentation (listed above), along with your booking details to be permitted for travel.

Example Scenario

Beth is travelling from London to France on August 26th 2023, with her family and three dogs, via car. They will take the Eurotunnel from Folkestone and arrive in Calais. 

For admittance into France from Great Britain, all three dogs will need to have up-to-date annual booster vaccinations against parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, infectious hepatitis and kennel cough (optional), a rabies vaccination and an animal health certificate.

Currently, all three dogs are up-to-date with their annual booster vaccinations. None of the dogs have not had a rabies vaccination, nor do they have annual health certificates, as they’ve never travelled outside of the UK.

An animal health certificate cannot be provided by their vet any earlier than ten days before travel. But, before they can get the health certificate, they need a rabies vaccine at least 21 days prior.

Beth has scheduled her three dogs for their rabies injection on 28th July 2023. 21 days later, on the 18th August, they’re scheduled to have health certificates provided by their vet, ready for their holiday to start on 26th August.

Before heading to France, Beth got in touch with local vets near to where they’re staying and arranged an appointment for a tapeworm treatment for all three dogs. This needs to be administered between one and five days before returning home. Without this treatment, her dogs will not be admitted to re-enter Great Britain.

Dog Holiday Checklist

Depending on how long your trip is, you could find that your dog’s suitcase is bigger than everyone else's... yes, they do need all of those toys.

• Collar / harness

• Lead

• ID tag

• Seatbelt / crate

• Bed

• Blanket

• Poo bags

• Wipes

• Food

• Treats / chews

• Bottle of water

• Food & water bowls

• Toys / balls

• Shampoo

• Brushes

• Dog sun cream

• Dog first aid kit

• Towel

• Medication (if necessary)

• GPS tracker (optional)

• Animal health certificate

• Proof of microchip


• Proof of rabies vaccination