The Kennel Club issues advice for owners as international travel and dog shows gear up

As international travel begins to open up via the tiered traffic light system and schedules now available for Belfast Championship dog show, The Kennel Club has issued advice for those that take part in canine activities overseas looking to make travel plans.

“To ensure a smooth journey, there are a number of considerations and additional steps owners must now think about if they’re wishing to travel abroad with their dog, due to both Brexit and the pandemic,” commented Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club. “This is not only the case for Europe and further afield, but Northern Ireland too.

“Coming into Great Britain, pet passports are still accepted, but going elsewhere there are some new rules and requirements to be aware of. However enjoyable showing and taking part in dog events overseas is, we appreciate there is probably also some anticipation, and knowing what is required regarding documentation so the travel side is a smooth process has never been more important. This requires preparation and with the pandemic, things are changing at a rapid pace. There also continues to be a lot of confusion about the post-Brexit rules and it’s important that owners and exhibitors are able to plan without unnecessary stress and hassle - post-Brexit and post-pandemic.”

The Kennel Club and the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is reminding owners to:
  • Always check the latest travel advice for the country you’re hoping to visit, before booking and ahead of your trip
  • Visit their vet at least a month before travelling to make sure their dog is microchipped, has a valid rabies vaccination and has an Animal Health Certificate (unless they have a pet passport issued in an EU country or Northern Ireland)
  • Research Animal Health Certificates. These can only be issued by an official veterinarian so you will need to find a practice that offers this service and plan in advance, as they may be busy. Please also note that animal health certificates presently last for four months
  • Check country-specific requirements. If you’re travelling to Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway or Malta with your dog, they will need tapeworm treatment which should be scheduled in advance
  • Be aware that new restrictions apply to taking pet food from Great Britain into the EU and Northern Ireland. You can no longer take products of animal origin with you, including pet food. A limited exemption applies to special pet feed required for medical reasons, if weighing less than two kilograms
Dr Hayes added: “Due to the new rules and checks, it’s likely that border crossings might take longer than usual, so it’s better to plan to arrive at a border at cooler times in the day, such as early morning or later in the evening, in case of delays and potential warm weather.

“Take everything you’ll need – comfy bedding, food, bowls, toys, poo bags, and leads, and carefully plan any journeys to include regular pit-stops and water and food breaks. It might also be a good idea to scope out where you’ll buy your pet’s food once you arrive in a different country, if you can’t take it with you due to new regulations.

“It’s really important to make sure your dog stays cool when travelling and never leave them in a car. When travelling on the continent, as it can be much warmer, be aware of where your dog might have to walk and try and ensure that if you stop for breaks your dog doesn’t have to walk on pavement to reach an exercise area. There’s a lot to think about so it’s really important to be fully prepared – from checking vaccinations are up to date and travel rules, to making sure your dog is comfortable and safe during any trips.”

Answers to exhibitor FAQs and further information about post-Brexit pet travel requirements is available on The Kennel Club’s website and more about pet travel from DEFRA can be found at on their website.

Northern Ireland-specific advice is also available. a