Travelling with your Dog in the EU (including to the Republic of Ireland)


Multiple pieces of legislation apply to dog owners in Northern Ireland. This guide will help you understand your responsibilities, but it is not to be considered legal advice. The information below applies to Northern Ireland only. The rules may be different in the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland.

Travelling with your dog between NI and the EU (Including the Republic of Ireland)

It is still possible to travel between Northern Ireland and the EU (including the Republic of Ireland) with minimal formalities, and that will still largely be true for your dogs under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). You can travel from NI to another EU Member State with up to five dogs, without  the dog(s) needing to be quarantined, provided that your dog(s) satisfy the following requirements:

·       The dog(s) must be microchipped (or tattooed with an identification number if they were tattooed prior to 2011)

·       The dog(s) must have been vaccinated against rabies. They must have been older then 12 weeks and microchipped when the vaccine was administered, and proper immunity must have developed. This will take at least 21 days after the primary vaccination is given but may take longer – see the data sheet which will have been provided with the vaccine.

·       You must hold a valid EU Pet Passport

·       If you are travelling to or from Finland, Norway or Malta or the Republic of Ireland, your dog must have been treated for tapeworm, details of which must be recorded on the Pet Passport.

You should contact the appropriate authorities in the destination state before travelling to confirm that there are no additional local or temporary EU rules which you might need to be aware of before you travel.

If you are travelling with more than five dogs there will be additional requirements (unless you are travelling to a competition or show and provide paperwork to prove that the dogs you are travelling with are registered to attend that show).

If you are travelling with more than five dogs for any other purpose you should contact a vet or the appropriate authorities in your destination country for more information.

What can happen if I break the law?

If you enter the EU with a dog that does not meet the above criteria, the most likely outcome is that the pet would be denied entry at the border and/or sent back to the departure country at your expense. While the power exists to put a dog to sleep if it is unlawfully in that jurisdiction it is unlikely that would happen unless there is a significant risk to animal or public health.

The law:

The EU Pet Travel Regulation (Regulation (EU) 576/2013), Transmissible Animal Diseases Regulation, (EU) 2016/429, Part VI.