Travelling abroad with your dog or cat is subject to certain conditions which you should always check before travelling. Within the EU it is essential to comply with the rules on the movement of companion animals as set out in Regulation 576/2013. It is also important to check for any additional guidelines for your chosen country that may differ from others.
An animal travelling abroad must be microchipped or tattooed
While there is no obligation for a dog or cat owner to mark their pet in any way in their own country, when entering another EU country the animal must be marked with a microchip or tattoo (made before 3 July 2011).
A microchip, called a transponder, is simply a tiny microchip, about the size of a grain of rice, which is implanted under the skin of an animal around the neck or between the shoulder blades. It allows for easy, quick and painless identification of the animal. It contains the owner’s data, which can be checked using a reader. The chip procedure is carried out by a veterinarian. Cost approx. 70 PLN. During the action of free pet chipping (usually in spring) free of charge. The presence of a microchip is necessary to issue a dog or cat passport – a document required when travelling with your pet within the EU.
It is worth knowing that if the transponder does not meet the technical requirements, the owner or authorised person must provide the means necessary to read the microchip during any verification of the marking as well as identity checks. Therefore, it is best to chip a dog at a veterinary facility and not with equipment of unknown origin 😉
The tattooing of animals for movement purposes in the EU was used until 3 July 2011. Animals marked in this way can still travel. According to current legislation, this method of identification is permitted as long as the owner has proof that the tattooing took place before 3 July 2011.
A current rabies vaccination certificate.
The rabies vaccination certificate must be up to date and entered in the appropriate consecutive box in the animal’s passport. The date of vaccination must not be earlier than the date of microchipping.
The first vaccination (over 12 weeks of age) is not valid until 21 days after the date of administration. Subsequent vaccinations, if carried out regularly at the intervals indicated in the relevant section of the passport (so-called booster doses), are valid on the day they are administered.
Passport and other compulsory documents for a dog or cat travelling to the EU.
Every animal moving between EU member states must have its passport. This document is issued at the request of the owner, by a veterinarian immediately. The cost is about 100 PLN. It is valid only within the European Union and such countries like Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City.
Other documents required in special cases:
Authorisation document – this is nothing more than a certificate issued by the owner who authorises another person (guardian) to travel with his dog Health certificate – this is issued when more than 5 animals of a given species accompany the owner or another authorised person. Such travel is possible if:it is to participate in competitions, exhibitions, sporting events or training related to such events; the owner or authorised person provides written evidence that the pets in question are registered as participating in the event referred to in the point above or with the association that organises such events; the age of the pets is over six months4. Other requirements of selected EU countries for travelling with animals additional health requirements
In some countries, additional prophylaxis against other diseases or selected parasites may apply. In the UK, Ireland, Finland, Norway and Malta, prophylaxis against the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis is mandatory under Regulation (EU) 1152/2011 and should be carried out no more than 120 hours but no less than 24 hours before the date of intended entry. Animals moved between the above countries are exempt from this requirement.
Restrictions for stray, shelter or unaccompanied animals
In Norway as of 1 July 2018. dogs and cats that do not have an owner, come from animal shelters, are up for adoption, come from temporary homes and street/homeless dogs and cats cannot be brought in.
Restrictions on certain breeds of dog
Some Member States do not allow dog breeds or dog breeds that are commonly described as dangerous, e.g. Rottweiler or Pitbull, into their territory.
Is it possible to bring a puppy or kitten less than 12 weeks old into the EU?
Yes. Member States may grant non-commercial entry into their territories from other Member States for dogs or cats that are under 12 weeks of age and not vaccinated against rabies, or between 12 and 16 weeks of age and vaccinated against rabies but do not meet the validity requirements, provided that:
– the owner or authorised person provides a signed statement that from birth to the non-commercial movement the pet animals have not had any contact with wild animals of species susceptible to rabies
– the pet animals are accompanied by their mother, on whom they are still dependent, and based on her identification document it can be established that before their birth the mother was subjected to a vaccination against rabies which complied with the validity requirements
What if I forget an animal passport or a vaccination record?
According to Article 35 of Regulation 576/2013, if during an inspection non-compliance with European Union rules is detected, the competent authority at the place where the inspection is carried out may:
- return the pet animal to the country of departure (from where the movement was initiated)
- place the animal in quarantine until it complies with the requirements of the above-mentioned legislation
- if it is not possible to send the animal back or if quarantine is not feasible, euthanise it
In addition, all the above official actions are carried out at the expense of the person responsible for the animal during the journey. However, it is therefore worth having a head on your shoulders and checking that everything is in place 😉
If you are travelling by car with your pet, remember to familiarise yourself with the safety rules for transporting animals. Foreign police often check whether the dog is properly secured, for example with a seat belt.