Europe travel with a dog - What do I need to know?

We are currently travelling all around the UK and Europe with our dog Lottie, and before we set off on our trip there was a lot we needed to learn about Europe travel with a dog.

Lottie had never left the UK before and this is the first time for us taking a pet abroad, so there was a lot for us to think about and learn, especially as we are going to be travelling for quite a long time.

We are travelling in a motorhome so the guidance in this post is all specific to that and relevant to motorhome travel, if you plan to travel in a different way then of course the guidance may be different, and you will need to look into this.

We wanted to share with you what we have learnt as there is lots to think about!

Europe Travel with a dog – Requirements

In order for your pet to safely travel to Europe, there are some specific requirements:

  • Your pet needs to be microchipped
  • Your pet needs an animal health certificate
  • Your pet need a rabies vaccine

How do I get an Animal Health Certificate?

From January 2021 (post Brexit) an Animal Health Certificate is a document that is required for a pet to travel to Europe from the UK if they do not have an EU pet passport. An Animal Health Certificate must be completed and certified by an Official Veterinarian (OV) approved by the APHA (Animal and Plant Health Agency).

Prior to Brexit, you would need a pet passport for your dog to travel to Europe. Now, this has been replaced by a document called an animal health certificate which you need to travel to Europe or Northern Ireland, and you need to get this no more than 10 days before you travel and this needs to be issued by an official vet.

If you have a pet passport that was issued prior to Brexit then you can still use this, the animal health certificate is only required if you don’t already have a passport.

We are registered at our local vets 4 pets and this is part of Pets at Home. Vets 4 pets are able to issue the animal health certificate for us.
When you go to get this from your vet you will need proof of your pets microchip date and vaccination history.
This animal health certificate will then be valid for 4 months for onward travel within the EU or 4 months for re-entry to Great Britain.

The animal health certificate cost us £175, but we do know that this can vary massively in all different vets. We even had different quotes from 2 different Vets 4 Pets stores, and that’s the same branch! So it is well worth ringing around your local vets to find a good price.

The animal health certificate should be a recognised document across the EU so we have been informed that there is no specific need to have it printed out in the languages of all of the different countries you are going to, however it may be a good idea to have it in the language of the first country you are visiting which for us will be France.

Rabies Vaccine

Your pet will also need a rabies vaccine and you must wait 21 days after the vaccine before you travel and keep on top of booster vaccinations, the vaccination generally lasts 3 years.

We think it cost us around £50 for Lottie’s rabies vaccine.

Vaccination record

Your pet’s vaccination record in their animal health certificate must show:

  • Your pet’s date of birth
  • Microchip number, date it was put in or read, and where it is on your pet’s body
  • Vaccination date
  • Vaccine manufacturer and product name
  • Vaccine batch number
  • Date the vaccination is valid until
  • The vet’s signature and contact details

Tapeworm treatment for dogs

A vet must treat your dog for tapeworm and record it in the animal health certificate if you’re travelling directly to:

Northern Ireland
The treatment must have been given no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (5 days) before you arrive.

The treatment must:
be approved for use in the country it’s being given in and contain praziquantel or an equivalent proven to be effective against the Echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm.

Eurotunnel Pet Check-in Folkestone

The Eurotunnel at Folkestone seems like they’ve really considered everything to make sure you and your pet can travel as comfortably as possible. We found them to be so accommodating and friendly in the pet check-in reception.

The lady who checked all of our documentation even gave us lots of advice regarding animal health certificates and pet passports.

There is a dog walking area outside of the pet reception with lots of cool agility style activities for your dog to do whilst you wait to board the tunnel! There is even a separate dog area to this for female dogs in season which we thought was a really great idea.

The Eurotunnel really did seem to us like the perfect way to travel to Europe with a dog, especially with the short journey from Folkestone to Calais being only 35 minutes, and all being able to stay together in our motorhome saving worry for us and our dog. At only £22 per pet each way also, it is not too expensive.

Europe travel with a dog

Other things to think about

  • Your pet’s food and how much you might need to take and also can you get this through customs
  • The weather – will they need a warm coat or a cooling coat etc
  • Harness and lead – depending on where you are going to be going, you may need to consider getting a good quality harness and lead, especially if you plan to do more adventurous travel
  • Does your pet take any medication that you may need to take with you
  • Dog first aid kit
  • Dog grooming – if you are going to travel for a while, like us you will need to think about your dog’s grooming needs. We have considered buying some dog clippers and keeping Lottie’s coat short ourselves, but if you don’t want to do this you will need to think about whether you will be near a groomers on your travels.
  • Does your dog require any regular vet treatments or have any health conditions – For us, we have to take Lottie to the vets every 4ish weeks to have her anal glands expressed, this is something we need to think about on our travels and try to make arrangements to take Lottie to vets in Europe


Being able to travel all around Europe with your dog is the best thing in our opinion. We’re so happy that we get to have the most amazing experiences and bring our dog Lottie along with us to experience it too, we just want to give her the best life ever. There is a lot of prior planning and preparation to do, but with the know-how, you can get it done and have the best time travelling with your furry best friend!

Keep up with our full-time van life travels over on our YouTube channel! If you enjoy our videos, please give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel – Three As A Bird – Vanlife Travel – YouTube

You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice (

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