It’s less complicated than it sounds, but there’s an even more elegant solution if you can steal yourselves away to Ireland or Northern Ireland for a long weekend before embarking on any mainland European adventures: vets here are still allowed to issue EU Pet Passports, like the ones we used to get before Brexit.
To enter Ireland with your dog, you’ll need to do the AHC and rabies vaccinations as above, but once in Ireland you can make an appointment with a veterinarian to get the EU Pet Passport, which usually costs less than £100 and doesn’t expire. This means you won’t need to spend upwards of £200 every time you fancy a booze cruise in France or a Spanish beach jaunt with the dog. You will still need to do the pre-trip wormer within five days of arrival, though.
When returning to the UK from mainland Europe – whether using an AHC or pet passport – dogs will need to be treated for tapeworm by a local veterinarian.
How long does the whole process take?
Your pet’s rabies vaccination or booster needs to be at least 21 days old before you travel; the AHC must be issued within 10 days of travel; and the wormer needs to be given no more than five days before you arrive at your destination. This means it could take up to three weeks to prepare your dog for travel to the EU, but if the rabies vaccinations are all up to date and your vet has availability, you could also get all your paperwork done within a matter of days.
Anything else I should know?
Yes, rather frustratingly, you can’t bring meat or dairy products into the EU, which means unless your dog is on a vegan diet already, you’re unlikely to be able to bring a stash of their normal dog food with you as it might get confiscated at the border. The best solution is to transition them onto a vegan, fish-based or insect-based dog food before you travel, such as Hownd, which is entirely plant-based, comes in wet or dry food, and will pass EU border checks.