Great Debate: Should there be a price cap on the Animal Health Certificate to travel with pets?

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animal health certificate pet travel

From 1 January 2021, travelling from Britain to any EU country as well as Northern Ireland became a lot more complicated – and expensive.

Any pet passports issued to pet owners resident in Great Britain lapsed, and became no longer valid for travel with pets. In order to visit any EU country with their pets, or visit Northern Ireland, British pet owners need a EU animal health certificate.

If you are travelling from a non-EU country or territory, your pet must have an EU animal health certificate “issued by an official State vet in the country of departure no more than 10 days before your pet arrives in the EU”.

While the certificate remains valid four months for forward travel in other EU countries and for re-entry in the UK, your pet will need a new animal health certificate for each trip to an EU country or Northern Ireland from Great Britain. This is a significant change from the Pet Passport, which remained valid throughout the pet’s life.

“I used to visit my relatives in Spain with my dogs often, but now it is simply too expensive for me”

At the moment, the cost of an animal health certificate for travel can vary significantly depending on the vet practice owners turn to, and is never cheap. Among the readers who wrote to Dogs Today, several were charged between £110 and £180 per pet for the consultation and reviewing paperwork. However, others found themselves looking at a bill over £300 for a certificate that would allow them to travel with their pet only once.

“I used to visit my relatives in Spain with my dogs often, but now it is simply too expensive for me,” a reader wrote us. “It saddens me, because they loved spending time there with my extended family, but I can’t afford to pay for a new certificate for each of them every time.

“Now I have to leave them behind, which of course means I have to pay for boarding – also expensive. As a result, I will not be able to see my family as much as I used to in the foreseeable future.”

As the animal health certificate is now a necessary document to travel to the EU with pets, some believe there should be a maximum price cap on it, to keep pet owners from being priced out of taking their dogs abroad for vacation time or to visit relatives.

Others are not keen on the idea, as the cost is inevitably going to vary depending on several factors – such as whether or not the dog needs microchipping, vaccinations or some other type of medical treatment in order to qualify for the pet health certificate.

What do you think – should there be a price cap on the animal health certificate to travel with pets?

Let us know what you think here, on Facebook, or by writing to editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk with “Great Debate” in the subject line.

10 COMMENTS

  1. No price cap. Vets need to have the right to charge what they feel is appropriate. Costs vary in different parts of the country. AHC takes in the region of 1 hour for the vet to produce the certificate plus the time added on for other admin (booking, information gathering etc). Our charging is to the lower end of your figures (£125) but we have to book out the vet for 1 hour and if that was 4 individual appointments this we be a value of £140 (£160 if it was 4 vaccination appointments). Now it doesn’t look so expensive. More than one dog/cat can go on the form but they must be the same species & travelling at the same time and we only charge the one fee.
    If you travel a lot it’s worth looking at having a passport done in an EU country which can be used to travel on in future.

    • Thats complete rubbish vet time is max 30 minutes. All the details are retained by the vet just vets taking advantage.

      Only worth £50 of time greedy vets

  2. The form used for the AHC is ancient and generic applying to many species of animal. Our vet seems to spend a lot of time crossing out (and stamping) irrelevant text. It would be better if the form could be computerised and linked in to the vet’s computer as all the information is there and it would then only take minutes rather than hours.

  3. Yes Price cap of course! – It’s like being in the FAR WEST here. Any vet can charge what they like for the same work. It’s preposterous. I was asked £273 for the health certificate at a Wimbledon Clinic, and £200 at another Vet clinic in Streatham. Once again, It’s the postcode that dictates what one pays. Absolute rubbish. I can’t wait to leave the UK, since Brexit it has become an hostile place to live for people that enjoy any type of pleasure. Here traveling with your pet.

  4. I totally agree that an AHC should not cost so much and I agree with Gary here that the form should be computerised to take much less time. It’s not fair that vets can charge what they like and rip people off! I agree with Julie that the UK has become a hostile place but even before Brexit vet fees in general were more expensive than elsewhere. I used to take my dog to France quite often and it was always cheaper to go to a vet there. Why is that? Why are so many things more expensive in the UK?
    I feel so sorry for the lady who can no longer travel with her dogs to Spain and will not be able to visit her family so often. This situation is ridiculous – the whole thing needs steam lining and cheaper instead of taking advantage of pet owners!

  5. Ridiculous. Got 2 dogs and they want 300, you must travel within 10 days and single use. Just a scam making rich vets more rich.

  6. Costing me £250 to take one dog to the EU to visit family, where I can then buy her an EU passport for €35, which will work just as well and not expire in a couple of months. It’s bollocks.

    On top of that, I can’t do it with my regular vet as they just outright refuse to do it, and the one we’re using is having to do it after they’ve normally shut in the evening. Just a mess all-round.

  7. some people are saying that’s a bullshit but i think that’s a good initiative specially after facing COVID. there are lots of things and viruses which can transfer through your pet to other pets.

  8. I live in a small Devon town where there are two vet practices. One charges £117 for an AHC and the other charges £282 – more than double!.
    The charge should be standardized and the form computerised to make the whole thing fairer and simpler. The cost should be lower to reflect the fact that the AHC is single use only. Just another example of the mess we’ve been in since Brexit.

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