Pet owners encouraged to seek advice on travel plans ahead of EU exit

Date published: 06 November 2018

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) today issued advice to pet owners intending to travel to any country in the European Union (EU) with their animals after the UK leaves the EU.


Owners will still be able to travel to the EU with their pet after Brexit. However, in the event of a no-deal scenario, they may need to take some additional steps to be able to travel with their pet to the EU as the UK will become an unlisted third country. Pet owners will be required to meet additional health requirements as set out by the EU.

Therefore, in line with advice from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in London, DAERA recommends that pet owners planning to travel after 29 March 2019, should seek advice from their vet at least four months in advance to ensure their pets meet the necessary EU health requirements for travel.

EU rules state that pets must have an up-to-date rabies vaccination and a blood test to demonstrate sufficient levels of rabies antibody. The blood test would need to be carried out a minimum of 30 days after any initial rabies vaccination and a minimum of three months before the intended date of travel. Pet owners will, therefore need to talk to their vet about health requirements in good time.

The latest advice can be found at NIDirect.

A spokesperson for DAERA said: “In line with DEFRA, we have issued practical advice for people who wish to travel to European Union countries with their pets in the event the UK leaves the EU in a no deal situation. 

“We would urge all pet owners who wish to travel immediately after 29 March 2019 to consult with their vet as soon as they can. This is about planning ahead to ensure their pet has the correct health protection documented and in place for all possible scenarios. Please check the NI Direct website for the latest advice.

“DAERA has recently been in contact with Northern Ireland vets to highlight this issue. They are expecting pet owners to consult with them and plan ahead”.

Notes to editors: 

1. Advice for travelling with pets is available on NIDirect or at DAERA - Travelling with Pets

2. Alternatively anyone considering travelling with a pet after 29 March 2019 can contact Trade Section, DAERA for advice by telephone 028 77442 141 or

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