Moving to Europe with your pet

If you find you and your family on the move to Europe this year and are wondering what to do with your beloved four-legged friend…relax, because with a little bit of forward planning, they will be able to come with you. It is of course, very important to take your cat or dog with you when you move, after all they are a member of your family. It has been proved numerous times that there is a link between owning a pet and leading a healthy and happy life. Not only do they offer companionship and are a good excuse to go for ‘walkies’ and explore your new surroundings but there is also evidence that shows that spending time with a pet can help you relax and reduce stress.
Since May last year, travelling and moving to Europe with a pet has got a lot easier when new legislation was approved by the European Union (read our article about it here ). When moving to Europe from the UK with a dog or cat you must follow the rules set out by the EU. In short, your pet needs:

  • a microchip
  • a rabies vaccination
  • a pet passport
  • dogs will also require tapeworm treatment

It is also important to keep in mind that your pet must be microchipped before it is vaccinated against rabies. You will need to make sure that your vet records the microchip number on the pet passport and that an ISO Standards recognised microchip is used, you may be required to bring a microchip reader with you when you travel if the microchip does not meet the required standards.
From 6th April 2016 it will be compulsory for all dogs in England to have a microchip, this costs around £20-£30 and can be carried out by any reputable vet.
As mentioned above, you will need to get your pet chipped before the rabies vaccination so your vet can record details of the vaccination on the chip. You must also wait 21 days after the vaccination before you can travel to Europe with your pet. After the first vaccination, and waiting period, your pet can travel to or from the EU/UK whenever required as long as booster vaccinations are given on time.
As well as being microchipped your pet must also have a ‘pet passport’, this can also be issued by your vet and will contain details about the animal and any vaccinations it has received.
PDSA Senior Vet, Elaine Pendlebury, said: “If you plan to bring your pet abroad with you during a move, you will need to make sure that you follow all of the guidelines from the government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on overseas pet travel ( It’s important to ensure that your pets are up to date with all required vaccinations and parasitic treatments, otherwise your pet and others they come into contact with will be at risk of serious or even fatal diseases. Make an appointment with your vet well in advance to discuss the risks present at your destination and what protection your pet may need. Remember as well, a dog will need to see a vet if you decide to come back. For example, they will have to record in your pet’s passport that your dog has been treated for tapeworm. That has to be done one to five days before you travel home.
A long, unfamiliar journey can be a stressful experience for a pet. I would recommend getting a final check up at your vet about two or three weeks before travel, to ensure there are no underlying issues that could cause a problem during the journey. In addition, some transport companies require a statement from your vet to say that your pet is fit to travel. Reputable carriers will ensure your pet is transported safely and comfortably, and some may allow you to leave your pet with a familiar blanket or toy, to help keep them calm on the journey.” For more advice on these steps, you can download PDSA’s free leaflet Holiday Health for Pets from their website.
Each country has very slightly different rules regarding travelling with pets and these mentioned above should only be used as a guide. More information can be found on the UK Government’s website . If you are considering moving to Europe, click here to find out more about the specialist European removal services offered by Cadogan Tate.