Travelling with animals
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“Can I take my dogs on holiday with me?”
Roberta is Italian but works in Madrid as a teacher. She would like to visit her parents in Florence this summer, but she recently bought two puppies and does not know whether she can take them on the trip with her.
“I would really love my parents to see the dogs when I go back to Italy. Are pets allowed to travel in the EU? What do I need to do to take them with me?”
It is now easy to take your pet with you when travelling between EU countries. For cats, dogs and ferrets, EU harmonised legislation now exists for most EU countries, so all you need to do is make sure your animal has:
- a valid rabies vaccination;
- an electronic transponder or readable tattoo;
- a pet passport, which can be issued by your veterinarian.
For entry into Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom, an additional test is required to ensure that the rabies vaccination has been effective. Tick and tapeworm treatment may also be necessary.
You can also use the pet passport if you are travelling to or from one of the EU’s neighbouring countries where the rabies status matches that of the EU (i.e. is considered to be under control). These include Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City State.
The European Commission recommends that you always discuss with your veterinarian the country of destination and individual circumstances before travelling with your pet.
For all animals other than cats, dogs and ferrets, there are national laws in each EU country.
Taking animals on aeroplanes
If you wish to travel with your pet by aeroplane, it is essential to talk to your airline before booking a ticket.
Airlines have different conditions for travel with pets, but in general they will ask you to:
- make sure the animal is in a secure travelling box or cage;
- make sure the pet has all the necessary vaccines, certificates and entry permits for the country to which you are travelling;
- make sure the animal is comfortable, has enough room in its cage or box and has enough food and/or water for the journey.
There have been amendments in the meantime:
The European Commission has adopted on 8 October 2007 a report to the Parliament and Council on the non-commercial movement of pet animals within and into the EU.
Further information: Health requirements applicable to the noncommercial movement of pet animals
The cost of travelling with animals can differ from country to country and between different methods of transport. However, you will need to pay a fee to your veterinarian for the pet passport and any necessary treatment.
Airlines, for instance, have different charging methods for carrying animals. Some ask you to pay ‘excess baggage’ rates (e.g. €20 per kilogram). Others charge a flat rate, such as €50 each way.
Further information: Questions and answers concerning pet passports