What are the differences between an export health certificate (ECH) and an animal health certificate (AHC)
An AHC is the new document required to take your dog, cat or ferret abroad instead of the old Pet passport. It is for short stays (less than 4 months duration) only. The owner must travel either with the pet or within 5 days of the pet. No change of ownership should take place (either for money or gifted) and there must be less than 5 pets travelling. It is for travelling to countries within the EU that are part of the scheme. It must be valid for the country you first disembark, countries your travel through and your final destination. Please check with the Government website about your own particular journey. www.gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad
An EHC is the document required when travelling to countries that do not accept the AHC, or when you do not meet one of the requirements listed above. EHCs and their requirements differ depending on the country or countries being visited. Please check with the Government website about your own particular journey. www.gov.uk/taking-your-pet-abroad
Obtaining an EHC
Here at Moorview vets we are currently UNABLE to issue EHCs. We can facilitate the process by conducting the required blood tests, vaccines and any preventative health treatments (and provide certification of such services). However, you need to find a company who can provide the services of an Official Veterinarian (OV) to complete the EHC certificate and examine your pet prior to travel.
Please be aware that the process can sometimes take over 6 months to complete for some countries.
Also, not only are there requirements for the EHC but also the country you are going to often has IMPORT REQUIREMENTS and you have to contact the individual country to find out these requirements.
EHCs for non-EU countries
Travelling to non-EU countries with your pet is best facilitated through a dedicated pet travel company. They will help arrange everything for you, including the final examination of the pet (usually done at or near the airport) and providing the final EHC document. You can search online to find such companies. We do not have any affiliations with any companies and therefore cannot recommend a particular company to use.
EHCs for EU countries
If your pet is flying to an EU country and requires an EHC as circumstances mean you do not qualify for an AHC, then the above information about pet travel companies applies to you. If your pet is travelling by Eurotunnel or by sea and requires an EHC, then you will need to find an Official Veterinarian (OV) who can provide this service. It will require a clinical examination of your pet or pets at a set time prior to travel so that the EHC can be issued. Although we can provide you with documents of certification of vaccines, blood tests and medications, the OV completing the EHC is the vet that will have to examine your pet at this set pre-travel appointment. If this cannot be done locally to you before you set off, this may mean factoring a trip to the OV on your journey through England, or at a vet near the Eurotunnel or port.
To find a list of vets able to carry out certification for EHCs, please see the government website:
Please note that not all these vets will offer a service for small animals (dogs, cats and ferrets), so please read the information for each vet at the above link carefully.
While we may help facilitate the process of taking pets abroad, it is ultimately the owner’s responsibility to make sure that they have all the correct documentation for their trip.