Can you go interrailing with a dog?

Without question, dogs are one of the most popular pets to have. There are an estimated 12.5 million pet dogs in the UK, reinforcing the well-known fact that Britain is a nation of animal lovers!

Most people treat their pet dogs as members of their families. They go to great lengths to ensure they are fit and healthy and will often spare no expense at ensuring they have long, happy lives in their forever homes.

As you might expect, many dog owners take their canine companions with them whenever they go on holiday, for example. A lot of dog owners take their pets with them when they travel to European destinations.

When it comes to interrailing as a family, dog owners often ask this: can you go interrailing with a dog? The good news is yes; you can interrail with one or more dogs. Here’s what you need to know on the subject.

Pet Passports and Their Use Post-Brexit

Back when the United Kingdom was a part of the European Union, you could simply use a pet passport for your dog issued in England, Wales or Scotland, and your canine companion wouldn’t have to get quarantined upon arrival in a fellow EU country.

Of course, as with many things, the rules are different for interrailing with dogs now that the UK isn’t a part of the European Union. Instead, your dog will need to have a microchip and a valid rabies vaccination.

You’ll also need an animal health certificate, which you can get from your vet as long as it’s ten days or less before your travel date. Most vets can issue animal health certificates; check with yours to confirm that is the case.

If you and your dog travel to Finland, Northern Ireland or the Irish Republic, Norway or Malta, your dog must get treated for tapeworm no more than five days before you travel. Your vet must administer an approved treatment and record it in your animal health certificate.

All tapeworm treatments should contain praziquantel or similar as they’re effective against tapeworms.

The rules for travelling to EU countries from the UK apply to both pet dogs and assistance dogs.

Irish Pet Passports

Does your pet dog have a pet passport issued in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland? If so, the rules are different from dogs issued with pet passports in England, Wales or Scotland.

In a nutshell, you are still allowed to use your dog’s Irish pet passports just as you could before Brexit.

Repeat Trips

If you’re planning to interrail with your dog to the same EU countries each year from England, Wales or Scotland, your dog will need a new animal health certificate for each trip. 

They will also need repeat tapeworm treatments for Finland, Northern Ireland or the Irish Republic, Norway or Malta. However, they won’t need repeat rabies vaccinations as long as they’re up to date.

Train Operator Considerations

Finally, you’ll need to check with the train operators you wish to use that you’re allowed to travel with a pet dog. Some may impose restrictions on dog sizes; if your dog cannot fit in a pet carrier, they might not allow your canine companion to travel.

Also, some train operators may demand you buy a ticket for your dog, while others do not. Assistance dogs can travel across the EU for free with no restrictions.