What does a no-deal Brexit mean for pet owners: podcast from Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show

As a no-deal Brexit still remains a possibility, what are the implications for pet owners? Listen to the podcast below to find out.

Pet travel

The most visible impact of a hard Brexit on animals will be the implications for people planning to take their pets to the UK from Ireland.

  • Currently, pet owners simply need to get an EU Pet Passport, which involves microchipping their pet and getting a rabies vaccination every three years. The process can be started just three weeks before departure.
  • If a no deal Brexit takes place, the UK would become an “unlisted third country” meaning pets would require additional veterinary certification for travel within the EU. For Irish pets, this means they’d need to have to have the rabies vaccine followed by a blood test to check the rabies vaccine has taken, a month after the vaccine, followed by a three month delay before they can travel.
  • This means a total of four months delay from starting the process till travelling. So it is already too late to do this for travel in April and May.
  • In time, of course, a different arrangement may be negotiated but there is no sign of that yet, so the default position will remain in place as above.
  • This issue highlights the paradox of the hard border etc. Pets can freely travel across to NI (no checks at border) and they can then freely travel on ferry to Scotland. This is a microcosm of many other situations and it is hard to see how “technology” can solve it. I know people who already take their dogs to Scotland without pet passports via this route because it allows them to evade the cost and hassle of getting one.


As an “unlisted third country”, no movement of horses would be permitted from the UK to and from Ireland, and export certificates would be required on a permanent or temporary basis.

Animal medicines

Veterinary medicines are currently authorised by European Medicines Agency (EMA) and some are bought from the UK by Irish vets if not available in this country . In a no deal scenario there needs to be clarity on how these medicines may continue to be imported. It’s possible that some essential drugs for pets may become unavailable.

As an example, isoflurane, the standard gaseous anaesthetic for pets (used by nearly all vets in Ireland) is currently unavailable from Irish suppliers and needs to be imported from UK. Of course it’s possible that other supply routes eg via Europe may evolve,but currently there is uncertainty.

Farm animals

In a no-deal situation, there would be no agreed “backstop” in place to avoid the need for veterinary checks on live animals and products of animal origin at the land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. An entire new team of Official Veterinarians (OV) on the UK side would be required to undertake these checks. Currently animals and products can cross the border freely. Apart from the logistical complication of the authorities needing to set up the checking process (there may not be time nor personnel available to do this), this would be a huge impediment to cross-border farm trade.

Questions from listeners about pets

The following questions were asked at the end of the interview

  • My Beagle always gets excited, starts to drool then gets sick in the car. What can I do?
  • I think my dog has fleas. I have heard that you can get a collar to get rid of them. Please advise.
  • Every time my husband comes back from work my Jack Russell gets terribly excited, rushing all over the place, up and down stairs etc. What can I do?
  • What’s the smartest dog?
  • I have a Golden Doodle and Springer and they need a hair cut. Should I do that now or wait till after the cold spell?
  • My friend is moving to Canada at the end of the year. What are the criteria for taking a German Shepherd dog with him?

Pete also did the usual Facebook live session afterwards. You can watch it here.

You can listen to the full podcast below

Listen to the podcast:

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