Are you planning a big move to Europe soon? If you are planning to make this move with a dog in tow, you may be curious as to where to begin. Well, you will be happy to hear that bringing your dog into parts of Europe is now much easier than before! Well, if you are coming from the United States or Canada that is. Before doing any of your move planning, be sure to check out these tips for bringing your dog into Europe to make your move easier. It should be noted that we are going to focus this on countries within the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are the countries in the European Union
- 2 Bringing your dog into the European Union
- 3 Bringing your dog into Ireland
- 3.1 From within the European Union:
- 3.2 From outside the European Union (Category 2 country):
- 4 Bringing your dog into the United Kingdom
What are the countries in the European Union
These are countries that make up the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
When coming from one of the above-mentioned countries, you will be happy to hear that long quarantines are no longer required and the required paperwork is quite standard, so it shouldn’t be an issue obtaining it.
We will discuss the general rules of bringing a dog into one of these EU countries. Then we will give you an example of bringing your dog to Ireland and into the United Kingdom.
The European Union has distinguished different entry requirements for pets based on their country of origin. The three categories are:
EU countries and European countries/territories that operate under the same EU Pet Travel Scheme rules. These countries are Andorra, Gibraltar, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Northern Ireland, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, and Vatican City State.
Non-EU countries that have applied for the listing with the relevant EU bodies. These are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Ascension Island, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bermuda, BES Islands (Bonair, Saint Eustatius, and Saba), Bosnia-Herzegovina, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Curaçao, Falkland Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, New Caledonia, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Russian Federation, Saint Maarten, Singapore, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, USA (includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US virgin Islands), Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
Countries that either did not apply for Category 2 status, or their applications were not accepted. Any country that does not have a functional rabies-surveillance system will fall into this category. In such cases, you must take some specific actions several months before you travel to Europe.
Bringing your dog into the European Union
Just like with any other big move, you need to plan your departure well. That means that you cannot wait until the last minute to set things in motion because bringing a dog into Europe does require that you take your dog to the vet for specific exams within a very specific timeframe.
Let’s talk about the steps that you need to take to be prepared to move with your dog to Europe. In general, your dog can travel with you from a non-EU country to an EU country or within the European Union if he has the following:
- microchip (it must comply with the requirements of Annex II of the EU regulation on the movement of pets)
- has the rabies vaccine
- gets a rabies serological test—if you are coming from an Unlisted Country
- is clear of Echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm
- has a valid European pet passport, when traveling to another EU country or an EU animal health certificate, when traveling from a non-EU country
Contact the airline
Before you do anything else, you need to contact the airline that you plan to fly when you go to Europe. There are several reasons for this.
Airlines often have size/weight limits for the animals that will be flying in their cargo area due to limited space. Some airlines also don’t allow certain breeds to fly for various reasons. This may be due to the breed’s reputation for violence/aggression or due to breathing and health issues that some breeds are prone to.
Many airlines require you to make a flight reservation for your dog to fly in the cargo area (expect to pay roughly $200 for this reservation).
Many airlines also have blackout dates in which they don’t allow pets to fly (typically May–September, due to the hot summer months).
Head to the vet
Once you know when you will be traveling with your dog, you can get your dog’s vet visit scheduled. In order to travel to Europe, your dog needs several things:
- Be in good health
- Receives a rabies vaccination
- Has an international microchip
- If your dog has anxiety or behaves nervously, you might consider requesting sedatives for the trip (only recommended if your dog will be traveling in the cabin with you)
- While there, be sure to get all of your dog’s other vaccinations up to date as well. There are countries throughout Europe that have different requirements so there is benefit to being fully vaccinated
- Be sure and check the links below for any other specific vaccinations and treatments that your dog may need for entry
Additionally, you need to have a completed ANNEX II form from your veterinarian. This form needs to be completed 12 to 15 days before your travel. Once you have this form filled out, it needs to be hand delivered or delivered via USPS to your local USDA office to become certified. It’s wise to hand deliver it in order to prevent a delay in the mail. This form needs to be filled out within 10 days of your arrival to Europe. (Also, keep in mind what country you are moving to and be sure to have your form filled out in the official language of the country you will be moving to.)
It’s time to get ready to travel
Before your flight, make sure to get the correct pet carrier for your dog. If they will be traveling in the cargo area, they will need a hard case which meets the requirements of the airline. Also be sure to bring enough food and water to put into the carrier with your pet for the trip.
If your pet is flying in-cabin with you, you will need a flexible, soft carrier that will fit under the seat. Be sure and bring snacks, portable food and water dishes as well as pee pads for those necessary potty breaks.
Next, call the customs office 24 hours before your arrival to your destination country. Not all countries require a meeting with customs upon arrival, but some do, so it’s important to be prepared for this potential meeting.
Make sure to allow extra time for you and your dog so arrive at the airport early. You should arrive at least two hours early so your dog can have a good walk. And hopefully allow them to calm down before takeoff.
Once you arrive in Europe
For your first 90 days in Europe, your USDA paperwork will work for your travel throughout the European Union. After the 90 days, you will need to get a European Pet Passport to travel throughout Europe with ease.
What websites should you check before bringing your dog into Europe?
It is important to monitor the website for your destination country to know the requirements and/or restriction changes that may come up. Here are some useful links:
This is an official website of the USDA. It is the best resource to keep track of the requirements for bringing your dog into any country from the United States.
The official Government of Canada website has general instructions for bringing your dog into Europe. It also has the needed Canadian International Health Certificate that you can download.
This European Union website has up-to-date information about bringing your dog into Europe. And it gives you instructions based on your country of origin.
Bringing your dog into Ireland
From within the European Union:
If you are coming to Ireland from a Category 1 country, you must do the following:
Your dog must be microchipped before it is vaccinated against rabies. The microchip must be readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785.
You have to vaccinate your dog against rabies. You have to microchip your dog before you give the vaccine. Then you must wait until the appropriate immunity has developed before you can bring your dog Ireland. This is usually at least 21 days after the vaccination is given. The waiting period does not apply to booster vaccinations (assuming it is given before the previous rabies vaccine has run out).
You need a pet passport issued by an EU country or one of the countries listed above. It must be stamped by a vet to show that the rabies vaccination has been given.
Your dog must be treated for tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) each time you travel to Ireland, unless you are traveling from Northern Ireland, Finland, Malta or Norway. It must be given within five days of arrival and recorded in the pet passport.
From outside the European Union (Category 2 country):
Note: If you travel from Britain (not including Northern Ireland), non-EU rules apply. You must follow the following process even if your pet is returning to Ireland from Britain and was born and raised in Ireland. If your pet does not have an EU pet passport (GB pet passports are no longer allowed, but NI pet passports are), you must have a health certificate issued by UK authorities.
Your dog must be microchipped before it is vaccinated against rabies. The microchip must be readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785.
You have to vaccinate your dog against rabies. You have to microchip your dog before you give the vaccine. Then, you must wait until the appropriate immunity has developed before you can bring your dog Ireland. This is usually at least 21 days after the vaccination is given. The waiting period does not apply to booster vaccinations (assuming it is given before the previous rabies vaccine has run out).
EU pet passport, or EU health certificate:
If you have an EU pet passport the pet passport must be stamped by an EU-registered vet to show that the rabies vaccination has been given. Otherwise, you must get an EU Health Certificate signed and stamped by an official government veterinarian in the country you are traveling from. After being checked and stamped on arrival, this certificate is valid for four months.
If you are coming from an Unlisted Country, your dog must get a rabies serological test. You must wait at least 30 days after getting the rabies vaccination. Your vet must send the blood sample to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory. Your dog must then wait three months from the date of the blood draw, before he can travel to Ireland. You have to bring the original blood test certificate from the lab, or a copy received from the lab.
Your dog must be treated for tapeworm (Echinococcus multilocularis) each time you travel to Ireland. The treatment must be given by a vet within five days of arrival. And it needs to be recorded in the pet passport or EU health certificate.
You must tell the Irish port or airport authorities of your arrival and set up a time for a compliance check. This is ideally done 24 hours to one week before your arrival. You must only enter Ireland at the following ports or airports: Dublin Airport, Dublin Port, Shannon Airport, Cork Airport, Ringaskiddy Port, or Rosslare Europort.
Your dog will go through a compliance check on arrival into Ireland from a non-EU country. If your dog is traveling to another EU country first and you have a check there, then your dog does not need another check on entry into Ireland.
Bringing your dog into the United Kingdom
Be aware that certain dog breeds are not allowed into the United Kingdom. These include: Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro. You should make sure to check on these restrictions when you are thinking about bringing your dog into Europe from abroad.
Requirements to bring your dog into the United Kingdom
You have to microchip your dog before you give the rabies vaccine. The microchip must be readable by a device compatible with ISO standard 11785.
If you are coming from a Category 1 country, you need a pet passport. Or UK-issued Animal Health Certificate—valid up to 4 months after it was issued. Or pet health certificate, if you’re traveling from Category 2 or Unlisted Countries.
You have to vaccinate your dog against rabies. You have to microchip your dog before you give the vaccine. Then you must wait 21 days before you can bring your dog into the United Kingdom. The waiting period does not apply to booster vaccinations (assuming you give it before the previous vaccine runs out).
If you are coming from an Unlisted Country, your dog must get a rabies serological test. You must wait at least 30 days after getting the rabies vaccination. Your vet must send the blood sample to an approved blood testing laboratory. Your dog must then wait three months from the date of the blood draw, before he can travel. You have to bring the original blood test certificate from the lab, or a copy received from the lab.
You have to give your dog a tapeworm treatment each time you travel to the United Kingdom. The treatment must be given by a vet within five days of arrival. And it needs to be recorded in the pet passport or health certificate. You do not need to treat your dog for tapeworm if you’re coming directly from Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta, or Norway. Even if you’re leaving for a short trip, you still need to give your dog a treatment before you go. You must wait for 24 hours before re-entering. And you must return within 120 hours or you’ll need to get another treatment abroad.
You can only use certain travel routes and companies to enter England, Wales, and Scotland. These can change or may only operate at certain times of the year, so make sure you check the approved routes. You do not have to use an approved route or company if you’re traveling from Ireland.
A custom’s agent will review your dog’s microchip and documents on arrival. Your dog could be put into quarantine or may have to return to his country of origin if there are any issues. If you are entering from outside the European Union, you can only collect your dog after he has been taken through customs. You can usually pay an agent, travel company, or airline to do this for you. Alternatively, contact customs prior to arrival or the National Clearance Hub.
Hope these tips and suggestions help you while you are making plans for bringing your dog into Europe.