Prepare for EU Exit: Pet Travel and Equine Movement

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As March 29th approaches, UK travellers need to be aware of the changes that will occur after the EU exit. According to the European Commission analysis, roughly 250,000 British cats and dogs are taken to destinations in the EU every year. However, the guidelines for pet travel and equine movement will be changing.

Pet Travel

To ensure your pet is able to travel from the UK to EU destinations after 29th March, you must contact your vet at least 4 months before the trip. They will be able to supply you with the latest advice.

  • You must get your cat, dog or ferret vaccinated against rabies. A blood sample must be taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination. This blood sample must be sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory to ensure your pet has a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml).
  • You must wait 3 months from the date of the successful blood sample was taken before travelling.
  • Your cat, dog, or ferret must be microchipped.
  • You must take your pet to an Official Veterinarian within 10 days of travelling to gain a health certificate.

On arrival to the EU, pet owners must be able to present proof of microchip, rabies vaccination and successful blood test results. If there is a no exit deal, pet passports issued in the UK would not be valid for travel to the EU.

It is important to also take note that if you are travelling to the UK, you will need to research for any changes to the requirements for pets to enter here.

Equine Movement

If we leave the EU without a deal, the process of moving horses, ponies and other equines to the EU will change. Owners must allow six weeks to prepare for travelling.

If the EU leaves without a deal, the process will depend on whether the EU lists the UK as a third country for the export of equines. If the UK is listed, to export equines you will need to:

  • get equines tested for certain diseases
  • meet isolation and residency requirements
  • apply for an export health certificate
  • check you have the right to equine identification
  • check if you need an export welfare declaration

You can find these criteria here to find the specific details.


I have imported horses from Iceland in the past and the process could not have been easier, nor could it have been much faster. The service we used flew from Iceland to Liege in Belgium and then to Paris and the Eurostar to the UK. The whole trip was just a matter of a few days. If the UK leaves with no deal and the UK is not listed as a third country then I believe we simply will not be able to import Icelandic’s from Iceland or PREs from Spain or Portugal. Even if the UK is listed then the process will be much longer and slower and more stressful for the horses.

Peter Rudin-Burgess

We will know the outcome of this in roughly two weeks time. Keep an eye on the blog for more updates. For current advice on a changing situation visit the UK Government website.

Posted by Holly Burgess

Holly Burgess

Holly is a freelance blogger and actor based in West London. She enjoys writing about travel and theatre culture, and reviews productions for Theatrical Insight.

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