Travelling abroad with your pet

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There's no need for tearful goodbyes with your furry friends when you go on holiday. The new EU rules still allow your pet to travel with you*.

  • Which vaccinations and treatments will your pet need before you travel?
  • Why does your pet need its own animal health certificate?
  • Five tips for happy travels with your pet

*As long as they have the right vaccinations and paperwork.

Can I still take my pet to Europe?

In January 2021 when Britain officially left the EU, new rules were introduced  around taking pets to Europe. The old pet passport scheme has been replaced, but don’t worry – you can still take your pet cat, dog or ferret to and from the UK without the need for quarantine.

Before your pet travels abroad, they must be microchipped and you must make sure they have certain vaccinations and treatments. Then you’ll need to get an animal health certificate (AHC) from your vet. 

It's also a worth considering having a pet insurance policy in place that covers you for unexpected vet costs if anything should happen when you’re overseas with your pet.

They must be microchipped and you must make sure they have certain vaccinations and treatments.

What is an animal health certificate?

An animal health certificate is a record of all the procedures and treatments your pet has had, and it’s what they need in order to travel abroad. You can get one from a registered vet. Remember, from January 1 2021, pet passports won’t be valid.

Before you travel, you'll need to make sure your pet has a rabies vaccination, or, if they’ve already had one, that it doesn’t need a booster. If your pet needs to be vaccinated, they won't be able to travel until after the vaccination has taken effect, which is at least 21 days after the jab itself.

You may also need to make sure your pet takes preventative treatment for tapeworm before they come back to the UK. Plus, it's a good idea to protect your pet against harmful biting insects like ticks and sand flies.

An AHC normally includes:

  • Your details
  • Your pet’s description
  • Rabies vaccination details
  • Rabies blood test (if required)
  • Canine tapeworm treatment (as required)
  • Intended country of entry 

Speak to your vet before you go. They can let you know what treatments your pet will need depending on the countries you plan on travelling to.

Why do I need an animal health certificate?

The Pet Travel Scheme and pet passports (which have just been replaced by the animal health certificate) were introduced to allow freedom of movement for domestic pets between countries, particularly in the EU.

But because some diseases that occur overseas aren’t common in the UK, the scheme has rules in place to reduce the risk of these diseases, such as rabies, coming to our shores.

Without an animal health certificate or a third-country official veterinary certificate proving your pet has the necessary vaccinations and treatment, you won't be able to bring your animal back in to the UK.

If you don't follow the rules around travelling abroad with your pet, they could be put in to quarantine or refused entry if they travel by sea - and you'll need to pay the quarantine or kennel costs during this time.

If you have a pet insurance policy with LV=, we’ll cover some of the cost of quarantining your pet if you lose your animal health certificate or if your pet's microchip fails.

How do I get an animal health certificate?

Many vets will be able to arrange an animal health certificate, but if your local vet doesn't issue AHCs, they'll be able to refer you to one that does.

You'll need to take along all the evidence you have that your pet has been vaccinated and the vet will scan your pet for proof that it’s microchipped. If you’ve got any questions about how to get an AHC or what you need for your appointment, chat to your vet.

How much will an animal health certificate cost?

It's estimated an AHC will cost roughly around £100, plus any treatments and vaccinations your pet needs. This may seem like a lot of money, but it may be less than the cost of kennelling or boarding your pet over several holidays.

How long does it take to process an animal health certificate?

An animal health certificate is issued within ten days to travel. Remember, travel to some countries requires blood tests and additional treatments, and in these cases, your AHC can take longer to complete.

The animal health certificate will be valid for:

  • Entry into the EU or Northern Ireland within 10 days of the date of issue
  • Onward travel within the EU or Northern Ireland for four months from the date of issue, or until the date the rabies vaccination expires - whichever is sooner
  • Re-entry to Great Britain for four months from the date of issue provided the rabies vaccination does not lapse

Contact your vet as soon as possible if you’re planning to travel with your pet.

What does pet insurance cover when I travel with my pet?

Quarantine costs

Our LV= pet cover gives up to the following amounts towards quarantine or kennelling and costs you have to pay to get a replacement AHC or official third country veterinary certificate for your pet should their microchip fail:

  • Time limited policies – up to £1,500
  • Lifetime policies – up to £2,000

This cover includes your pet going into quarantine because of illness, even if you’ve complied with all the regulations. We won't pay any costs for quarantine or kennelling that's only necessary because of your pet's behaviour or incorrect documentation following Brexit.

Remember to keep all your documents in a safe place, as we'll need to see them if you have to make a claim.

Repeat tapeworm treatment

If your pet's scheduled departure back to the UK is delayed by your carrier, we'll pay up to £1000 towards costs to get your pet's tapeworm treatment done again to comply with the new EU regulations.

Just so you know, we won't pay for any worming treatment unless the reason your pet needs this is due to a delayed scheduled departure that's outside of your control.

Replacement animal health certificate

We all know how stressful it is to lose things, so if your animal health certificate is lost, we'll pay towards obtaining the right paperwork to allow you to re-enter the UK with your pet up to the following limits:

  • Time limited policies up to £250
  • Lifetime policies up to £500

Just so you know, this cover is only available if you lose your pet's EU AHC or third country official veterinary certificate during your trip, or their microchip fails and you report the loss to the issuing vet within 24 hours. You must provide evidence that this was done.

Additional transport and accommodation costs

We hope your furry friend enjoys their holiday but if they become ill or go missing, we'll pay for additional accommodation and transport costs up to the following limits:

  • Time limited policies up to £750
  • Lifetime policies up to £1,000

This cover is only available while you and your pet are abroad and:

  • They become ill or injured and aren’t well enough to travel back to the UK as originally scheduled. We will only pay for costs up until your pet is well enough to travel back to the UK.
  • They go missing within the three days before your scheduled return date. We provide cover for additional costs to stay a maximum of four days from when your pet goes missing.
  • You lose your pet's AHC and you have to miss your scheduled departure back to the UK in order to get the necessary replacement paperwork.
  • Your pet's microchip fails and you have to miss your scheduled departure back to the UK in order to get the necessary replacement paperwork.
  • Travel home is delayed by your carrier and you miss your rescheduled departure because you need to get your pet's tapeworm treatment repeated.

Five top tips when travelling with your pet

Taking your pets on holiday can be just as much fun for them as it is for you. But just like us, they need to be looked after when you travel together. Here are our top tips to keep them safe: 

  • Get your pet used to its travel carrier before you leave. Or if your pet is travelling in the boot of the car, try to leave it room to stand up and lie down comfortably.
  • Make sure your pet wears an identification tag at all times. Update the tag with the contact details of your holiday destination.
  • Try to exercise your dog and give it an opportunity to go to the toilet before a long journey.
  • Check your pet insurance to make sure your pet is covered when overseas.
  • Make regular stops if you can to let your pet stretch their legs. Make sure there is always water available to drink.

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