Last time that I was travelling around Europe with my dog, I would have loved to also visit Turkey. However, I wasn’t sure it was feasible to visit Turkey with a dog, and there were so many other places we could visit more easily, that we didn’t end up visiting Turkey with our dog.
However, next time I’m in Europe I definitely want to road trip around Turkey, bringing along my dog. So, I’ve looked into whether it’s possible and how dog-friendly it is to travel in Turkey with a dog. If you’re looking at visiting Turkey with your dog, read on…
Importing a Dog to Turkey
Turkey isn’t a member of the European Union, so it has its own rules for importing pets. Unfortunately, the rules aren’t that clear, and the interpretation is different on different websites, even between the USA, Canadian and UK government guidelines.
I did manage to dig out these rules on a Turkish government website, including a health certificate, but there’s not an English version and my Google translation wasn’t that clear. Here’s what I’ve been able to determine…
Firstly, your dog will need an ISO-compliant microchip, before you start the process. Your dog will then need a rabies vaccine, at least 30 days before arriving in Turkey. Some sources say that Turkey doesn’t recognise the 3-year rabies vaccine, so this should have been done in the last 12 months, or else you also need a rabies titre test (see below).
The most confusing part of the process is the rabies titre test. Some sources say this is only required if your dog hasn’t been vaccinated for rabies, or if they were given a 3-year vaccine over 12 months ago. Other sources say that it is required, and needs to have been done at least 3 months before arrival. (Similar to travelling to the EU from a high rabies country.)
I best liked the description on this website that there is inconsistent treatment of this aspect, and it’s basically “optional”! Other websites also mention that if you haven’t done this, there is a home quarantine option.
To cover all possibilities, I recommend having the rabies titre test done with your dog, at least 3 months beforehand, at an EU-approved laboratory. This test will also be required if you travel to the EU after Turkey (see more information below).
Next up, is a health certificate required? If you are travelling from the US, have your vet use the health certificate on the USDA APHIS website. This will also be need to be certified by USDA APHIS, no more than two calendar days prior to your departure to Turkey. Once in Turkey, this will then be valid for four months or until the rabies vaccine expires.
If you are coming from Europe, the situation is not clear. Speaking to someone who travelled to Turkey from the UK (firstly taking a ferry to Amsterdam, then flying to Turkey with their dog in the cabin), they had their vet stamp their pet passport (where their dog’s rabies vaccine and titre test results were already recorded).
Plus their vet completed the UK DEFRA export health certificate for Turkey. But, these were never looked at. (More on this below!)
Is anything else required? It’s not that clear… Some sources say that both external (flea/tick) and internal (worming) parasite treatments are required. These are listed on the Turkish health certificate, but there are no details given as to how close to departure they are required.
Base your decision on whether any information is given on your country of export (e.g. USA, Canada, UK government websites). To be safe, have your vet complete these and record on the health certificate or in their EU pet passport.
Additionally, some websites state that other common dog vaccines are required. This includes canine parvovirus, leptospirosis, hepatitis and canine distemper. But this is not mentioned on the Turkish health certificate, so are probably not required. However, it is advisable to have your dog up-to-date on their vaccines before travelling.
Banned Dog Breeds in Turkey
Before undertaking this preparation, make sure that you dog is not banned for entry to Turkey. A large number of dogs are included, including pit bulls and staffys.
This is the full list: Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosa, American Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Rottweiller, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Neopolitan Mastiff, Spanish Mastiff, Dogue de Bordeux, Roman Fighting Dog, Bandog Tosa Inu, Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff or similar, mongrel breeds.
If in doubt, contact the Turkish authorities.
Arriving in Turkey with Your Dog
It’s possible to arrive in Turkey with your dog at an airport, port or land border, I couldn’t find any restrictions on entry points.
On multiple sites, it is stated that on arrival you need to present your dog at customs clearance, including your own passport. A vet will check over your dog to see that they are in good health. I also came across some mentions that you need to arrive by 11:30am, to ensure same-day customs clearance.
However, in the case of the person I mentioned above from the UK who flew with their dog in the cabin from Amsterdam to Turkey, neither their dog or paperwork were checked at all.
Perhaps the checks only apply only for dogs in the hold or cargo? In any case, I’m not certain of the process, but always be prepared with your paperwork and be prepared for a potential wait.
Returning to the EU from Turkey with a Dog
If you intend to return to Europe with your dog from Turkey, or even if you are travelling elsewhere but might possibly be transiting through an EU country, also be prepared for the rules to travel with a dog to the EU from Turkey.
As you need these for Turkey, you’ll already have a microchip and a rabies vaccine at least 21 days beforehand. (Make sure this is still valid for your return, or get a booster shot.)
But you’ll also need a rabies titre test to head to the EU with your dog, as Turkey is not in the exempt list of countries. It is best to get this before leaving the EU, at a EU-approved laboratory, so there is no waiting period. (Otherwise a three-month waiting period would apply if you have it done in Turkey.)
As this is probably also required to enter Turkey with your dog, just have this done three months before heading to Turkey. For entering the EU, this result does not ever expire, as long as you keep your dog’s rabies vaccination up-to-date.
Flying to Turkey with a Dog
It’s easy to fly to Turkey with a dog, with multiple Turkish airlines accepting dogs, as well as many of the other airlines that fly to Turkey.
The flag-carrier airline of Turkey is Turkish Airlines, which has a very extensive network worldwide. Turkish Airlines permit dogs both in the cabin and in the hold.
For pets flying in the cabin, a maximum weight of 8kg including the carrier bag applies. There is a charge of 70 TRY (about €11) for pets in the cabin on domestic flights, while on international flights the fee depends on the excess baggage calculations, with a minimum of $70 USD.
For dogs in the hold, on international flights the charge is also based on excess baggage fees, and is a minimum of $140 USD. On domestic flights, there is a charge of 110 TRY for 9-15kg dogs, 170 TRY for dogs over 15kg.
Pets need to be booked at least 6 hours in advance, with payment at the airport. Turkish Airlines also has a list of dangerous dogs that they do not carry. For their full pet policy, click here.
Pegasus Airlines is a Turkish budget airline that operate both domestic routes, plus fly to and from Turkey from a wide range of European destinations, mainly in western Europe.
They permit dogs in the cabin on both domestic and international routes, except for on flights to the UK, UAE and Qatar. On domestic flights there is a fee is 70 TRY (about €11), with a charge of $50 USD for international flights.
Pets in the hold are only permitted on domestic flights, not on international flights to Turkey. There is a charge of 150 TRY for dogs 8kg to 15kg, and 215 TRY for dogs over 15g. For their full pet policy, click here.
Note that the budget airline Onur Air does not accept pets.
Travelling around Turkey with a Dog
As I detailed above, it’s easy to fly around Turkey with your dog, with pets permitted in both the cabin and hold on domestic flights operated by Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines, for a reasonable cost.
When it comes to shorter distances, if you’re travelling with a small dog, you’ll be able to catch the trains operated by TCDD (Turkish State Railways). Small pets in a cage, light enough to be carried, are permitted, as long as they don’t create a nuisance.
You’ll need to carry your pet’s ID card and health certificate (e.g. EU pet passport), plus you might need to buy them a half-price fare. (It isn’t clear whether this is only if you want an additional seat – double check at the station.) The full details are listed here(in Turkish only).
However, if you’re travelling with a larger dog or to destinations not accessible by train, it’ll be best to hire a car. (Larger dogs are not permitted on trains, plus dogs are only permitted in the luggage compartment on buses, which I don’t advise.) The quality of roads in Turkey is high, similar to roads elsewhere in Europe.
Finally, if you’re taking ferries in Turkey, dogs are permitted on open-air ferries on the outside deck. Small dogs need to be in a cage, while larger dogs require a leash and muzzle. Double check the type of ferry you will be catching before booking, plus any extra rules.
Finding Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Turkey
Turkey doesn’t have as many dog-friendly accommodation options as some European countries, but there are still plenty of options. When I compared the percentage of dog-friendly hotels in different European cities, about 10% of hotels in Istanbul allow dogs, similar to the percentage in London or Amsterdam. But as there’s a lot of hotels in Istanbul, the raw number of dog-friendly hotels is quite high.
As only a minority of hotels and other accommodation accepts pets, make sure you book ahead, especially in destinations without many accommodation options and at peak times.
Dining Out in Turkey with a Dog
I expected that restaurants in Turkey wouldn’t generally allow dogs inside, and there may even be issues with dogs at some outdoor terraces. (I’ve discovered a few kebab shops elsewhere in Europe that didn’t allow dogs outside, and dogs were generally not welcome inside restaurants in Greece.)
However, based on reports from other visitors to Turkey, some restaurants do allow dogs inside. This doesn’t apply to all restaurants, so always ask in advance. And if the weather is nice in the warmer months, it’s best to simply dine outside, again checking in advance.
Don’t Forget Your Turkish Visa
Finally, before heading to Turkey with your dog, don’t forget to also organise a Turkey visa for yourself. For many countries, you will need to apply for a visa online in advance, with the option to get a visa on arrival no longer available.
Countries that require a visa in advance include the following: UK, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Croatia, Malta, Norway, USA, Canada, Australia.
The easiest way to apply for your visa is at eVisa Turkey. If you’ve left it to the last moment, select to submit an urgent application, which has an average response time of just 14 minutes!
You May Also Like
- Rules to Travel With a Dog Between European Countries
- Do I Need a Rabies Titre Test to Travel with My Dog?
- Dog-Friendly Bulgaria
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25 thoughts on “Is it Possible to Visit Turkey with a Dog?”
As always excellent information! It is a lot of work to find all the info you need to travel to different countries with your pooch. Kota also appreciates that you also include big dog info! He does feel a bit discriminated against though since public transport is never as big dog friendly as it is lottle dog friendly. Haha. Thanks again and hope you and Schnitzel get to Turkey. ?? Kota wanted to include this ?
Thanks Anita and Kota! It is unfortunate that bigger dogs are sometimes discriminated against on public transport. I like to include as much information as possible for all size dogs, although sometimes it’s hard to know about those grey areas where rules aren’t always enforced. Loving your IG photos!
Need some help with the health certificate for entering Turkey.
1) Should the health certificate be signed only by the vet, or does it need to be endorsed by the government agency that regulates animal import/export?
2) we were told that the cert needs to be signed within 2 days prior to travel. Was that your experience?
3) we plan to fly to Turkey from Norway. Does the health certificate need to be signed in Norway, or can it be signed by a vet or govt agency in another EU country within a reasonable amount it time (such as 30 days).
The information online had been contradicting and inconsistent. Any help is appreciated.
Julie – I agree the information in inconsistent, and different people I’ve spoken to have said different things. (We haven’t yet done this ourselves, this is based on speaking to various people.)
1) This depends on the country, I believe for USA/Canada it should be done by the government agency, but for pets coming from elsewhere in Europe, only the vet has signed it.
2) I’m not clear on this. For people I’ve spoken to coming from Europe, this hasn’t always been the case, but the US government site said 2 days.
3) I see no reason why it can’t be signed in another country. I’m originally from Australia and have a French pet passport for my dog, but have had health certificates done in Italy and Greece, as required.
Excellent piece of work! Thank you for all your research and providing such a great review! A total gem! Thank you!
This is a great read. Thanks for pulling it together!
I have one questions on returning back the the US (I will be originally travelling from USA to Europe). I heard i still need to do some paper work in order for me to get my dog back with me home.
What are these paper work and how easy to get them and how long does it take to prepare for travelling back home (USA).
The big change recently are restrictions on importing dogs to the US from high rabies countries, such as Turkey. However, if you are a US resident and have a valid rabies vaccination certificate from the US, you should be fine. Here’s all the relevant information, depending on country of export: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/bring-pet-into-the-united-states/pet-travel-dogs-into-us. Don’t forget to check for any state requirements, too.
Can you share your story on the way back to the US from Turkey?
I would love to know what documents they looked at or asked for, etc.
How long did it take CDC to provide you with a Dog Import Permit?
In 2021 we flew with our dog from Finland to Turkey (and back). We experienced the same as you, inconsistency in the requirements. Not even the Turkish embassy in Finland gave us a clear answer. To avoid quarantine, we gathered all possible certificates, pretty much according to your guidelines, and flew over. Our dog traveled in an IATA-approved dog crate in the cargo. No one checked a single document upon our arrival in Turkey. We forced them to look at our documents, as we had put so much effort into getting them, but they clearly did not care what was written on them.
We may be driving to Turkey this year, let’s see what we will face then…
Thanks for sharing Maria and best of luck with your road trip! I think you’ll find the documents will also not be checked.
Hi Maria! I am happy to hear you travelled with your dog to turkey. My question is what did you have to do to return back to finland? Did you have to bring your dog to the vet in turkey to get back home? Or something similar? Thanks
I also have this question! I read you need a Tarim certificate and the Turkish Airlines website says this:
Please note that in accordance with the instructions of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, you must obtain a health certificate for your pet from your veterinarian before you travel abroad from Türkiye. (Veterinary Health and Ricin Certificate of Cats/Dogs/ Ferrets with the Passenger Intended to Movements to the Repuclic of Turkey). Otherwise, you will not be accepted to the flight.
Your article has been really helpful. I especially loved that you have a dachshund you traveled with. How did Schnitzel take the airplane ride? I assume Schnitzel travels on board with you, do you have any recommendations for a good pet carrier for flights?
I am a Hungarian-American dual citizen and planning to bring back a rescue dog (wire-haired dachshund) from Hungary to the US via Turkey. The issue is, that we didn’t know how difficult it would be to travel via Turkey before booking our flight. So we booked a ticket with 23 hours of layover time to be able to see Istanbul. As soon as I leave customs and enter Turkey, the puppy is entering the US from a high-risk country for rabies. :/ So I need to get her rabies titer checked and apply for an additional American CDC permit. Think of us so this little pup can have a happy life here in Seattle with us.
Hope all goes smoothly, the change in rules from CDC definitely makes it tougher. Schnitzel is quite good at flying in the cabin, he tends to sleep most of the way and not make a peep. We picked up a fairly cheap soft carrier at a pet store in Europe, I’ve got photos of it and some similar ones on Amazon in this post: https://www.travelnuity.com/best-carrier-bag-for-flying-with-your-dog/
We have driven UK to Turkey twice now and not had any problems at borders. I don’t even offer them the dogs paperwork anyone, as most are not interested. It was only leaving and on ‘re entering the UK that all paperwork/chip
Thanks for sharing!
Hello! thank you for putting this together… I am relocating from Portugal to the Philippines but on the way to Manila need to spend a week in Istanbul for work. We want to bring our dog along, but are afraid entering and exiting Turkey will add complexity to the process. Any tips are welcome, thank you!
Most people report that it’s fairly easy, but it’s just not well documented! Good luck with your trip!
Great info on all your articles and links to other articles! We are US citizens flying to Paris for 10 days and then flying to Istanbul, Turkey from Paris. We have a few hours layover in Istanbul and then flying to another city in Turkey. I am very nervous because every web site I visit has different info.
My dog has an ISO compliant chip. She got a 3 year rabies shot in Dec 2021, so less than 12 months ago. My understanding is since she got the chip first, then the rabies shot and the rabies shot is less than 12 months old, I don’t need titre test to get into France or Turkey.
We are getting our USA vet to fill out the health certificate here in the US, get it stamped by USDA within 10 days of arrival to France. I think we are all good for France. My concern is flying from Paris to turkey 10 days later. I can’t get another health certificate from my US vet and I won’t make the 2 day deadline Turkey asks for since I’ll have been in France for 10 days. So, thinking of getting an EU pet passport, if possible, while we are in Paris for 10 days. If we can get one… I have also read that French vets won’t give you an EU pet passport if you don’t live in France. If by a miracle, we can get an EU pet passport while in Paris, then I don’t think we need a health certificate from France to get into Turkey, do we? Is an EU pet passport enough to get into Turkey? (With a rabies shot given in the US less than 12 months prior) Oh my God, my brain is melting.
Claudine – That’s a tricky situation, particularly with the recent changes to getting EU pet passports in France if you don’t live there. I’ve received reports from multiple people flying to Turkey from the EU that no-one has looked at their dog’s paperwork, but it’s hard to know if this applies all the time. I recommend trying to get the EU pet passport, and having the vet fill in the health check page. Alternatively, ask a vet in Paris to write a health certificate on their letterhead – this will likely be easier.
As you state, you don’t need a rabies titre test for your dog to go to France, everything you’ve listed is enough. However, I’m not sure of your plans after Turkey. Turkey is considered high risk rabies by the USA, so I hope you are across the US rules (https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing-an-animal-into-the-united-states/dog-origin.html). If you are travelling via the EU after leaving Turkey, the EU also requires dogs from Turkey to have a rabies titre test.
Hope this helps! It’s unfortunate that the rules for Turkey are more complicated and unclear.
This is an awesome and super useful website. I am Turkish, and live in the Netherlands with my shihtzu. I got my dog from the NL, she has an eu passport, microchip, rabies vaccine and rabies titre test and and top of this NVWA in the netherlands(animal control customs) asked me to legalize all documents in the NL such as vet health certificate, rabies titre test and even the EU passport. In Turkey law in Tarim Bakanligi, it says the titre test should have been made 3 months back whereas ours was just a month ago. This is also very stupid because there is no way a pet from EU has rabies, so why is there a 3 months period.. I don’t think the rules are inconsistent, but the practice is surely inconsistent! I called Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen customs, and the guy there clearly said titre test results should be 3 months back. However, i don’t think the security or whoever checks the documents in the customs are aware of this, or %99.9 of the time they simply do not care about the documents of pets. I hope we won’t face any problems next week on our flight! I will get my documents legalized as I don’t want to face any problems when we are coming back to the NL!
Best of luck for your trip!
Thanks for this info! I will be traveling to Turkey for 2 weeks with my dog. I will be flying straight from the US to Istanbul. And Istanbul nonstop back to the US. My question is do I need additional papers from a Turkish vet to export my dog back to the US? Or will my USDA certified health certificate that i got from my US vet suffice since i will only be there for a couple of weeks?
Turkey is classified as a high risk country for rabies according to the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/importation/bringing-an-animal-into-the-united-states/dogs.html. You should be fine with a rabies certificate issued in the US. I would also double check if the airline needs a more recent health certificate.