What is an Animal Health Certificate?

Connie PowellPaw Pet Travel Tips & Advice

What is an Animal Health Certificate

Full article with thanks to: forbes.com/uk/advisor/pet-insurance/pet-passports

For almost two decades, pet owners who like to holiday overseas – or who own a second home abroad – have been able to travel with their cat or dog with relative ease, thanks to the ‘pet passport’ scheme.

When it was introduced, the scheme was a real game-changer, as it enabled Britons to take their pets on unlimited trips to and from the rest of the European Union (EU) without the need for unpleasant and stressful quarantine – and with minimal bureaucracy. 

But, in the wake of Brexit, a lot has changed. 

How did the UK pet passport scheme work prior to Brexit?

Up until the start of 2021 when the UK was part of the EU, as long as your cat or dog had a valid EU passport showing it was microchipped and up-to-date with vaccinations, you could travel freely with your pet to an EU country – and back again. This was permitted under the EU Pet Travel Scheme. 

What about post-Brexit?

Since we left the EU on 1 January 2021, pet passports in their old form have stopped being valid. The EU has removed the UK from its ‘Part one listed’ status in the Pet Travel Scheme and will no longer accept pet passports issued in the UK. 

While there is still no quarantine requirement, we have now been given ‘Part two listed’ status. As a result, there is more red tape involved in taking a dog or cat abroad.

Now, if you want to travel to the EU or Northern Ireland with your pet, you need an Animal Health Certificate to do so.

What is an Animal Health Certificate?

One of these certificates confirms that your cat or dog is microchipped and successfully vaccinated against rabies.

More specifically, the paperwork includes information about your pet’s age, size and breed, details about its microchip, copies of records of vaccinations, and also details of tapeworm treatment (if applicable).

It’s important to note that vaccinations must be administered at least 21 days prior to travel. With this in mind, it’s advisable to start the process early.

Be aware also that the certificate must be in the language of the destination you are arriving at.

How do you get an Animal Health Certificate?

This document must be issued by a vet no more than 10 days before taking a pet into the EU. Given these timings, you need to plan your appointment carefully.

If your local vet doesn’t offer the Animal Health Certificates, ask if they can refer you to a vet that does.

How long is it valid?

The certificate is valid for four months. It can be used for a single trip into the EU, onward travel within the EU, and for returning to the UK.

How much does it cost?

An Animal Health Certificate will cost around £110, according to the Royal Veterinary College. And you will need a new one each time you travel. As a comparison, the old pet passport used to cost around £60.

On top of the £110, you will also need to pay for the costs of any treatments and vaccinations your pet needs. You could expect to pay between £15 and £20 to get your pet microchipped, and between £50 and £60 for a rabies injection. 

Given the changes, it’s advisable to speak to your vet well in advance of your planned date of departure. That should give you sufficient time to jump through all the necessary hoops, such as getting the right procedures carried out, and the correct documentation lined up.

To find out more about taking your pet overseas, visit the Government website

Could the current situation change?

The Government insists the UK meets all the requirements for ‘Part one listed’ status and continues to press the European Commission to stay in this part of the Pet Travel Scheme. But for now, at least, the situation set out above is the status quo.

What about pets entering the UK?

Following Brexit, there has been no change to the health preparations for pets entering the UK from the EU. The UK will still accept pet passports issued in an EU country for entry into the UK because EU countries continue to have ‘Part one listed’ status in the Pet Travel scheme.

What about non-EU countries?

If you are travelling to a non-EU country, with your pet you are likely to need an Export Health Certificate. This shows your dog or cat meets the health requirements of that destination. As with the Animal Health Certificate, this will need to be signed off by a vet. 

Before heading off to any non-EU country, it’s worth checking government guidelines carefully a few months in advance. It’s also advisable to speak to your vet.

Where does pet insurance come in?

Pet insurance policies will usually cover unexpected vet costs overseas for your cat or dog, provided all the correct documentation required to travel is in place. But don’t assume this is always the case. 

If it’s not, see if your insurer can offer extra cover for costs abroad – for an additional fee. 

Generally speaking, pet insurance policies will not cover routine procedures such as microchipping and vaccinations – nor will they cover the cost of a pet passport or Animal Health Certificate.

That said, some policies may include cover to replace your pet’s Animal Health Certificate should it get damaged or lost, or cover if your pet’s microchip fails.

If you are unsure about what is and isn’t included in your policy, contact your insurer in plenty of time to check.

Full article with thanks to: forbes.com/uk/advisor/pet-insurance/pet-passports

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If you choose us for pet travel, don’t worry – your animal companion will be in safe hands from start to finish.

Simply get a quote from us for more information.