How to Travel with a Dog Between the UK and Europe

One of the best things about travelling in Europe with a dog is that it’s usually so easy! Generally you don’t require any paperwork for travelling from country to country and most transport options allow dogs. However, this isn’t the case if you’re departing the UK to travel to Europe with a dog, or on the other hand you’re trying to travel to the UK with a dog.

For starters, dogs aren’t allowed on the otherwise-so-convenient Eurostar, almost the only train service in Europe that doesn’t allow any size pet dogs. Additionally, pet dogs are also not allowed to fly into the UK in plane cabins, only as cargo, and there are limited flight options when leaving the UK. So, how do you take your dog from the UK to continental Europe, or vice versa?

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Taking a dog to Europe from UK

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Can You Take a Dog on the Eurostar?

It would be wonderful if you could quickly and easily head from England to France, Belgium or the Netherlands with your pet dog on the Eurostar! Unfortunately though, no pet dogs are allowed on the Eurostar. The only dogs that are allowed on the Eurostar are assistance dogs, and even then they need to be booked in advance.

It would be terrific if this changed to allow pets on the Eurostar, but there are currently no plans for this to change. It’s especially perplexing given that dogs are allowed on trains in both the UK (for free!) and in France.

Taking a Dog on the Ferry as a Foot Passenger

Generally, most of the ferries that travel between the UK and continental Europe only allow passengers with a vehicle to bring along dogs. This is because most of the time pets must stay in the vehicle, or they do not have facilities for the boarding of foot passengers with pets.

There are only a handful of exceptions, with the following four ferries allowing foot passengers to take a dog. Options range from kennels to dog-friendly cabins.

Ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe (DFDS Seaways)

This is the only ferry between England and France that allows foot passengers to bring their dog, with a set charge of £18. The journey is about 4 hours (longer than the shorter Dover to Dunkirk or Calais routes) and dogs are kept in kennels on the car deck for the entire journey. Pets must be carried on board in a pet carrier.

Read my review of taking this ferry (plus multiple trains) to travel with my dog between Paris and London without a car or read more about the rules for pets travelling on DFDS Seaways Ferries. (Note: I previously booked online as a foot passenger with a pet, but you now need to call up to book, if you do not have a vehicle.)

Click here to book this ferry (if you are travelling with a vehicle)

can i take my dog on a ferry as a foot passenger
The DFDS ferry between Newhaven and Dieppe allows foot passengers to take dogs

Ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland (Stena Line)

This longer crossing takes about 8 hours, but is quite popular as there are two kennel rooms for dogs that remain accessible during the voyage, plus a TV channel showing CCTV footage from the kennels. (Car passengers also have the option of leaving dogs in their car.) The set charge per dog, regardless of whether they use a kennel or stay in a vehicle, is £19.

Read my review of travelling between London and Amsterdam with my dog on this ferry, on the overnight sailing. It is possible to book online; simply add your pet to your booking after selecting a cabin, on the same step where you add meals.

Click here to book this ferry

Stena Line kennel
Schnitzel onboard the Stena Line ferry to Hook of Holland

Ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam (DFDS Seaways w/ Pet-Friendly Cabins)

This ferry service is unique for having dog-friendly cabins as well as kennels, with both available to foot passengers as well as car passengers. It’s also a convenient option for dog-owners travelling from northern England or Scotland, although the journey time is longer – nearly 16 hours.

There is a charge of £30 per pet in either a cabin or kennel. Foot passengers travelling with a pet need to book by calling the contact centre

Read this review by someone else taking the ferry or click here to find out more about the DFDS pet-friendly cabins.

Ferry from Hull to Rotterdam (P&O)

This ferry service also connects northern England with the Netherlands, but this time the ports of Hull and Rotterdam. The journey time is about 11 hours, with the service generally operating overnight. All pets on the service must travel in the air-conditioned kennels, with various size kennels available, and a set fee of £22 charged.

It’s stated that the staff members check on the kennels every 2 hours; if you want to check up on your pet, you’ll need to ask a staff member. It’s quickly and easy to add a pet to an online booking.

Click here for further information.

Taking a Ferry with a Car and a Dog

It’s a lot easier to travel in between England and continental Europe with a pet if you also have a car! The majority of ferries travelling between England and continental Europe allow passengers travelling with a car to also transport pets. Click here for the full list of approved ferries.

On most ferries, your dog (or other pets) will stay in your car for the voyage, although some ferries do offer kennel options or even pet-friendly cabins (including Brittany Ferry to St Malo, Bilbao and Santander, and DFDS Seaways between Newcastle and Amsterdam).

If your dog is staying in your car, it’s best to choose one of the quicker ferry options, such as between Dover and Calais, particularly if travelling in the warmer months.

Bringing dog to UK
Consider the short ferry trips between Dover and Calais

Most ferries charge a fee per pet, usually under £20, except on the longer voyages to and from Spain, although this varies between the different companies. Check out the websites of the individual ferry companies for more information.

Taking the Eurotunnel with a Dog

The second option available if you have a car, and probably the more convenient one, is to take the Eurotunnel car shuttle train. Your dog stays in your car along with you, and the actual crossing only takes 35 minutes. There is an additional charge of £20 per pet, in each direction.

Keep in mind that when travelling from Calais (France), you will need to arrive at least 45 minutes before your departure and report firstly to the Pet Reception Centre, before checking in. Here your dog’s worming treatment and other records will be checked.

This isn’t required when departing the UK, but you need to specify you have a pet when checking in. See further details on the Eurotunnel website about transporting dogs via the Eurotunnel.

Note that the Eurotunnel doesn’t take foot passengers, with or without a dog.

Flying to the UK with a Dog

If you’re wanting to fly to the UK with a dog, the only option available is for your pet to fly as cargo. No dogs are allowed to travel to the UK in the plane cabin, except for assistance dogs, or as checked luggage. 

Click here for the list of approved airlines, including the approved destination airports, or alternatively check the pet policy of the airline you intend to use, as many airlines that fly pets elsewhere in Europe don’t offer the option of flying pets as cargo to the UK.

Depending on the airline, you may be required to use an animal transport company, meaning it can be quite expensive. Additionally, there is a large fee payable when you collect your pet from the quarantine office, and the process is reportedly quite time consuming.

Is it any wonder that most people avoid flying to the UK with their pet?

Flying out of the UK with a Dog

While pets flying into the UK must travel as cargo, the rules are more relaxed for flying with pets out of the UK. Dogs are allowed to travel in the cabin or as checked luggage. However, there are only a limited number of airlines that offer this. Check the pet policy of the airline that you intend to use.

Last time I checked, the following airlines clearly stated in their pet policy that they permit dogs to fly in the cabin or hold on flights departing the UK:

can i take my dog to europe from uk
Flying with our dog on Air Malta, one of the airlines that allows dogs in the cabin out of the UK

Some additional airlines may also allow small dogs to fly in the cabin when leaving the UK, but don’t make this clear on their website. (I’ve read reports about Lufthansa and Air France/KLM allowing this, but there is no mention on any of their websites.)

I recommend phoning up the airline you are considering using to find out if this is an option, plus noting down the details of who you spoke to and when if you do get the okay. Note that none of the UK airlines allow pets to fly in the cabin at all.

Let me know if you find out about any other airlines that allow this!

Taxi Services Across the English Channel

The other alternative if you’re travelling between the UK and continental Europe without a car, and are struggling with the limited transport options available, is to utilise a taxi service. There are multiple providers that will basically take you on a taxi ride, along with your dog in the vehicle, but a slightly different taxi ride as you’ll be taking the Eurotunnel with the taxi.

Generally you just take the taxi between Folkestone Central station and either Calais Ville or Calais Fréthun station, utilising trains on either end. Expect to be charged about £100 in addition to the Eurotunnel cost. There may also be the option to travel a further distance on each end, such as all the way from London, for a higher cost.

For further details on taking a dog taxi from the UK to France, contact:

Additionally, there are some companies that are specifically set up to transport dogs longer distances between European countries and the UK, not just across the channel. These companies can collect your pet from an airport or city in Europe, then transport your pet to your door in the UK.

One such example is Jane’s Euro Pet Taxi, which is DEFRA certified. Contact Jane’s for more details on the options available.

An alternative is Pet Courier, a Spanish company that specifically transports pets between the UK and Spain, and vice versa. Their Facebook page lists upcoming trips. 

What Paperwork is Required for my Dog?

Important! Read my guide on what Brexit will mean for travel between the UK and the EU after the 31st December 2020. Up until then, the following rules apply…

The current rule for pets travelling from the UK to the rest of the EU is that the dog or cat needs to be microchipped, be vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days before your day of travel and have a pet passport.

However, currently when heading from the UK across to continental Europe, generally no paperwork at all for your pet is checked. This occurred to me when taking a ferry to the Netherlands, and is usually the case for most ferries and when taking the Eurotunnel. But there still is a chance it will be checked, most likely if you are flying to a specific destination such as Malta, so always be prepared.

Also be prepared for your pet’s paperwork to be carefully checked when returning to the UK. The UK is is very strict about dogs entering the country, so make sure everything is in order. (Not surprising given that up until 2012 all dogs arriving had mandatory quarantine.)

In particular, if your dog or cat is only being vaccinated for the first time for rabies, 21 days must elapse before entering the UK.

Also all dogs (except for those entering directly from Finland, Ireland, Malta or Norway) will need to be administered a worming treatment by a vet between 24 hours and 5 days of entry into the UK, with this carefully checked down to the hour.

For more details on the paperwork required, read my post about travelling in the UK with a dog.

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Taking a dog to Europe from UK

43 thoughts on “How to Travel with a Dog Between the UK and Europe”

  1. How about taxis, most of the taxi drivers in London they refuse the journey when they see the pet, how about your experience. thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • I’ve had both experiences with catching taxis in London – being refused or accepted (although I guess it helped that my dog is small and was in a carrier bag). It’s helpful if you can advise in advance that you have a dog.

      With crossing the channel in a taxi, it’s a specific service offered by these companies that you book in advance, advising that you have a dog. I’m sure they wouldn’t refuse if it’s all been properly booked!

      Reply
  2. This is a great series but I’m really surprised that you haven’t once mentioned the banned dog breeds in Europe! As owners of the soppiest, softest, daftest, most laid back (breed indicative!) Bullmastiff, we were shocked to discover that we are unable to drive through France with her. We are however looking at options to take the ferry straight to Spain instead! The Caravan and Motorhome Club has some info, but we’ve found that this is not a widely publicised subject which could catch out unsuspecting owners. https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/overseas-holidays/useful-information/travelling-with-pets/

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    • This is a concern of mine as well! I plan to tour Europe with my dog on an extremely extended trek, but she is a pit-hound mix. I think I am going to mostly rely on the fact she looks more like a hound dog and hope that saves us! If I could get her to howl on command, that would convince everyone. You can’t mistake the distinct hound baying xD

      My final hope is that the muzzle that is required in many areas doesn’t ruin the illusion. Covering her very hound-y snout might draw more attention to her very pit-y ears. : {

      As for crossing from France to England, I have half a mind to hitch hike, LOL!

      Reply
    • It sure is tricky returning pets to the UK, unless you’re happy to have them travel as cargo (and pay the cost)! Probably my favourite recommendation (and that of many people I’ve spoken to) is flying to Amsterdam and then taking the Stenaline ferry to Harwich or the DFDS ferry to Newcastle. Alternatively, if you would prefer to travel by train, I recommend checking out Man in Seat 61 for the options.

      Reply
      • I recommend flying to either Paris or Amsterdam, then taking the ferry or a pet taxi on the Eurotunnel. Alternatively, there’s companies that can provide end to end land transport from many countries to the UK

        Reply
  3. Such a great help. Thank you! We are getting the Eurotunnel to France with our dog and then driving up to Belgium. I’ve struggled to find anything about traveling between countries in Europe and can only assume that we don’t have to do anything between France and Belgium? Just the vet stop in France on the way back? If you can offer any advice I’d be ever so grateful. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Georgia – Great to hear about your plans! For travelling with your dog between EU countries (and other countries like Switzerland), you’re required to have their pet passport and a rabies vaccine at least 21 days old, but this is rarely checked (except for UK and Malta, possibly Finland and Norway, that all requires the worming treatment). Expect to show nothing when travelling from France to Belgium, the same as regular passports are not checked. And yes, stop at the vet between returning to the UK for the worming treatment, at least 24 hours before returning to the UK.

      Reply
  4. Thanks for the clear and up-to-date information. This is an invaluable help as it can be hard to get clear information about pet-travel in one place, which can be very confusing. I really appreciate it !

    Reply
  5. Excellent information, thank you.
    I moved to Cyprus 2yrs ago with my dog in cargo and he was severely traumatised to the point that I thought he may die as he stopped eating. Then he got hit by a car and is now paralysed. I am desperately trying to get back to the UK but am struggling to find a way off the island without putting him in hold again. He weighs too much to go as hand luggage and i have to toilet him every 4hrs so cargo is not an option. Any suggestions?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Unfortunately I haven’t yet been to Cyprus, so I’m not fully across the transport situation. One option might be taking a ferry, then trains across Europe (see https://www.seat61.com/Cyprus.htm). I know the ferries in Greece allowed dogs on the outside decks. But Greece has restrictions on larger dogs on trains, and Turkey may have the same. Not to mention this is a long journey.

      I’d recommend looking into an animal transport company, who may operate vans where they transport dogs. I’ve heard of this before, but haven’t used it in Europe. Additionally, speak to your vet whether they can recommend something to help your dog, if you do end up resorting to cargo again. Sedatives aren’t usually recommended, but are an option if you work out a plan and trial it with your vet.

      Reply
  6. Hi,

    Can you tell me if you have to pay someone to go through customs at both the CDG airport if flying into France with your dogs, and then at either border, France or UK, when taking the on-foot ferry option or the overnight ferry option from Amsterdam?

    Reply
    • Kelly – Sorry for taking a while to reply, I haven’t had decent internet access lately. The great news is that no customs fee is payable arriving in CDG or crossing the channel. The only customs fee in Europe I’m aware of is flying into the UK. Hopefully this doesn’t change with Brexit.

      Reply
  7. Hi!
    I am thinking of taking a small-sized dog, but I live in the UK. I travel to Sicily quite a lot (my home is there) and was thinking if you could suggest the best option to travel there. How expensive could that be?

    Reply
    • It’ll be easier to travel to Sicily with your dog, as some airlines accept dogs flying out of the UK (perhaps Alitalia, I haven’t heard reports), but flying back into the UK dogs can only travel in cargo. Most people avoid this (and the high cost) by flying to a nearby city and then driving back across (on a ferry or the tunnel) or taking the ferry. I’ve covered these options in this post. I recommend contacting an airline directly for a cargo quote. The cost of driving or taking the ferry is trickier to estimate as it varies depending on your choice and has multiple components.

      Reply
  8. Hi,
    I am travelling from U.K. to Brazil with my pet in the cabin. However my flight has a connection of 1:30 hour in Amsterdam, where I will change the aircraft but won’t leave the lobby of arrivals and departures.
    I already have all the documents required by Brazilian authorities.
    Do you know if I have to apply for any additional document to present in Amsterdam or the health certificate issued by British authorities is enough?

    Reply
    • If you’re not leaving the airport in Amsterdam, you don’t require anything. However, if you wish to leave the airport this depends on whether this is this year or next year after the end of the Brexit transition. At the moment, your dog would just need a EU pet passport, showing the valid rabies vaccine. However, this is often not checked.

      Reply
  9. Thank you so much for this post!!
    I have struggled so much in finding good information to take my pet from the Uk to Switzerland.

    I am moving and I have also lots of luggage, do you recommend anything on this situation?

    I was planning on renting a car but because I’m not 25 yet this is not an option for me unfortunately.

    Once again thank you for taking the time on writing this post.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Mariana! There are some services that will deliver luggage for you, but I’m not sure of the costs involved. Alternatively, I’d recommend using a taxi to cross the channel (and loading it up with your luggage), plus investigating using BlaBlaCar (car pooling), specifying you have extra luggage.

      Reply
      • Does BlaBlaCar work well? I saw this even searching for ways to cross but did not look into it heavily… I’ve been wanting to drive and hook up a dash camera to record to country side of France and England.

        Reply
    • You can send your luggage before you leave to where you’re going out have someone do it for you after. I’m going to see my mum and I’m going to Oxford flying into France from the USA. I spent £256 to send two bags at 72lbs and 60lbs from Oregon USA to Oxford England.

      Reply
  10. Hello, thanks for this very useful guide! I want to go from Paris to London with a cat, and I have one question: is there a way of renting a car to go from Paris to London (and drop the car in London) with my cat? I am from the USA, so I am not sure if there are any special restrictions I need to take into account, or if rental companies even let you have a cat in the car. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sebastian – I looked into this when I was travelling the same route, and found most car companies either didn’t permit a one-way hire or charged a fortune for it. Most car hire companies don’t have rules against pets in the car in France, although I would ideally keep your cat in a carrier (for their own safety, too) and remove any pet hair before returning it.

      Reply
    • Have you gone yet?
      I’m doing the taking my cat to France CDG this month trying to book my tickets for the ferry or taxi across to England

      Reply
  11. In case you are not aware the rules post Brexit have changed at Eurotunnel. Generally for any pet there is a new requirement for travel from the UK to France to have a health declaration which is obtained at a vet and costs around £160 per pet. This is because France now does not recognise the UK Pet Passport. And at Eurotunnel there is a new Pet reception centre you have to visit to board the train with your dog.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the information on the new pet reception centre! As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on my blog, yes a health certificate is now required to travel from the UK to France. This article is due to be updated soon.

      Reply
  12. Hi there,

    Great website! Has anyone had experience travelling from Amsterdam to Newcastle by ferry as a foot passenger? The website gives conflicting info 🙁 Are you allowed to take a small dog with you on this route?

    Many thanks!!

    Reply
    • You should be able to take a small dog in the pet-friendly cabins, I know people who have done this. However, this may be impacted by Covid, so I recommend calling to confirm.

      Reply

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