Can I Take My Dog Abroad?

I’m sure you’ve seen those cute pictures of dogs sitting on planes and wondered “Can I take my dog abroad?”. Taking your dog abroad isn’t as tricky as you might think. Especially compared to how hard it used to be.

There are loads of reasons that taking your dog on holiday with you is great (apart from the cute photos of course!). Why worry about your dog being at home when it can come with you? If you’re leaving your dog in kennels then it can be even more hard to leave. So bring your dog along to enjoy the fun together!

People don’t just take their dogs abroad for holidays. Maybe you’re actually moving abroad and so need to take your dog with you. A while ago your dog would have to go through a 6-month quarantine which isn’t fun for the dog or the owner. Luckily it’s a lot more simple now.

Sadly, you can’t just decide to hop on a plane with your dog. The first step should always be to check you meet the requirements of the country you’re going to. When you come back home, you also need to make sure you meet the UK’s requirements (click here for more information).

The Legal Stuff

If you are bringing your dog back home, make sure you’ve completed these requirements:

  • Your dog has been microchipped.
  • You have a pet passport for your dog (or a third country official veterinary certificate).
  • Your dog has had a rabies vaccination.
  • Your dog has had tapeworm treatment.

Doing these things in advance is super important. If your dog fails to meet these requirements then it can be put into quarantine for up to 4 months. And all fees and costs are charged to you, the owner.

Pet Passports

Pet passports are required to take your dog abroad. Fortunately, these are a lot easier to get than they used to be.

You can get pet passports from most vets in the UK (just ring up and ask if they do them). You can also get them from certain vets in the EU and other countries the UK accepts pet passports from (click here for more information).

When you go to get your passport, you’ll need to bring along your pet, identification and vaccination records as well as any rabies blood tests.

Before you travel, make sure your vet has filled in:

  • Details of ownership (if your passport was issued after 29 December 2014, make sure you sign section I)
  • Description of animal
  • Marking or identification of animal
  • Vaccination against rabies
  • Rabies blood tests (if needed)
  • Details of the vet that issued the passport (from 29 December 2014 onwards)
  • Your dog’s tapeworm treatment (if needed)

Luckily, your vet does most of the work!


Before taking your dog abroad, it will need a rabies vaccination and tapeworm treatment (tese need to be done at least 21 days before travelling). To get your dog vaccinated just go to the vet along with proof of identification and that it is over 12 weeks old.

Your dog also needs to be microchipped before, or at the same time of, the vaccination. If it isn’t then you will need to vaccinate your dog again.

For more information on any of the legal aspects just ask your vet. Or you can click here to go to the government’s website on the topic.

Travelling By Ferry

Phew. Now we’ve got all the legal stuff out of the way, we can actually talk about the details of travelling with your pooch.

Most people who take their dog abroad (from the UK that is) tend to go to Ireland and France. And if you’re going there with your dog, chances are you’re going by Ferry.

Taking your dog on the ferry is getting easier and easier. Dover Port have even added a dog exercise area! Unfortunately, dogs don’t travel free (P&O Ferries charge £15 per pet). Although, assistance dogs can come with you for no extra charge.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re taking your dog on a ferry:

  • Try and travel on a calm, cool day (if you’re booking in advance this may be impossible).
  • Make sure your dog will have access to water.
  • Some ferries won’t let your dog leave the car and you might not be able to check up on it, so make sure you keep your car cool and well ventilated. We have a post here that’s just about taking your dog abroad by car.

If your pooch has never been on a boat, remember it can get seasick too!

If you’re going to France, taking your dog on the Eurostar is a very similar process. There are exercise areas set up and the fee is £19 per dog per way.

When you travel on the Eurostar you are actually with your car the entire way. This means you won’t leave your dog (also, you can’t get seasick on a train). In such cases, make sure to get your dog either a car seat for dogs or a car-suited dog crate where they will feel most comfortable.

Travelling By Plane

Getting your dog on a plane is a little more tricky. Some Airlines, like Thomas Cook, will let you bring your dog with you in the cabin. Other airlines, like Emirates, have a blanket ban on all pets (except falcons…).

Most airlines will let you bring your dog in the hold as long as proper requirements are met (these differ from airline to airline). Almost all airlines will let you bring assistance dogs with you in the cabin for no extra charge.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re travelling with your dog by plane:

  • Try and book direct flights so travelling is as short as possible
  • Make sure your pet carrier is comfy and is fitted with a water container
  • Dogs can get very stressed by flying and the crowds in an airport
  • Always check with the airline on their pet policies before flying

For more information on different airline’s costs and policies, click here.

Even though there’s lots of hassle. Travelling with your dog is really fun! Having your dog with you will motivate you to go on plenty of walks and really explore the country you’re going to.

It also means that you don’t have to be constantly worrying about how your best friend is getting on at home!

Here are a few more things to think about when travelling with your dog:

  • Schedule lots of rest breaks to give your dog a bit of exercise
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks for the journey
  • Make sure your dog is happy, give it lots of attention to try and stop it from being stressed

As you can see, travelling with your pooch isn’t nearly as difficult as you might have thought it was. As long as you make sure all pet passports and vaccinations are done in advance you should be fine. Have fun travelling with your dog!

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