One of the best things about travelling around Europe with a dog is that you don’t need to visit a vet and fill in paperwork to travel between many countries, unlike in other parts of the world. This is thanks to many of the countries in Europe belonging to the European Union (or EU for short) and its single set of rules making it easy for pets to travel around the EU and a handful of other countries.
But what preparations are required to travel with your dog in between EU countries? Which border crossings does this apply to? And what about the rules for travelling with your dog between other countries? I take you through all the rules for dog travel between European countries.
Travelling Between EU and Related Countries
When travelling between countries within the EU and a number of “related” countries, this document sets out the requirements for your dog. Essentially, your dog needs to be microchipped, have been vaccinated for rabies at least 21 days ago, and have a pet passport. For a handful of countries, there is also the requirement for the dog to have a worming treatment.
What Countries are in the European Union?
Currently, there are 27 countries in Europe that are part of the EU. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
The United Kingdom is currently in transition, and for the rest of 2020 it still counted as being in the EU for the purposes of dog transport. Find out what might happen to dog travel following Brexit.
What are the “Related” Countries?
The EU counts a small number of other countries and territories as applying rules equivalent to the EU for the transportation of pets. The same rules apply for dogs crossing from these countries into EU countries. The pet passport can be either an EU pet passport or a pet passport issued by one of these countries.
These countries are also referred to as “Part 1 listed” countries and are listed on this page in the top table. These eight countries and two territories are: Andorra, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City State.
Note however that more onerous conditions may apply for transporting pets back into some of these countries! This is the case for both the Faroe Islands and Iceland. The Faroe Islands only allows pets to be imported if you intend to stay for longer than 3 months, while Iceland requires a complicated 30 day quarantine period.
What Countries Require a Worming Treatment?
For a handful of the EU and related countries, a worming treatment is required to be administered to your dog by a vet, before arriving in the country. This is also referred to as the “treatment against Echinococcus multilocularis“. It needs to be administered between 24 hours and five days before arrival and recorded in your pet’s passport.
This is required for dogs travelling to: Finland, Ireland, Malta, Norway and the United Kingdom. Note that this treatment is not required for dogs travelling in between these countries, such as between the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Do Pets from Other Countries Require a Pet Passport?
If you travelled from outside of the EU with your pet, you would have required an animal health certificate or “Annex IV” to enter the EU. If you initially entered one of the related countries, you would have likely used the same or a similar form.
When you arrive in Europe, you should try and get this stamped by customs. Even if it isn’t stamped, you should hold onto it during your travels around Europe. This certificate is then valid for travel within the EU for four months after your entry and should be shown in place of an EU pet passport.
Alternatively, you may be interested in getting an EU pet passport for your pet. The pet passport makes it easier to return to Europe with your pet. (You don’t need to have an Annex IV completed, unless your pet has been vaccinated outside of the EU.) If you need to have a worming treatment done by a vet, it’s easiest to get an EU pet passport at the same time. (This is what I did before travelling to the UK with my dog.)
Are Pet Passports Really Checked?
Just like human passports are often not checked when travelling in between the Schengen countries, pet passports are generally not checked when travelling within the EU and these related countries, at least when not flying. Although there is always the expectation that your pet does have a passport and it may be checked!
Other than when checking into flights, our pet passport was only checked when we travelled to the United Kingdom from France and to Malta. Both of these countries are quite stringent with the importation of pets, and I recommend reading my specific guidelines for how to take your dog to Malta and travelling to the UK with a dog before travelling to either country. I’ve also heard of someone being turned down for boarding a ferry to Corsica from mainland France, as their dog’s rabies vaccine wasn’t up-to-date.
On the other hand, despite also needing a worming treatment for dogs travelling to Finland and Norway, our dog’s passport wasn’t checked on either occasion, both at a road crossing and when boarding a ferry.
Any Additional Requirements for These Countries?
Generally, I’ve assumed that there are no additional requirements for pets travelling into any of the EU countries. However, this is not always the case.
I discovered when travelling to Malta that you also need to advise the country in advance of your pet’s arrival, so that they can be checked by a vet on arrival. As Malta doesn’t have any land borders, you’ll likely be reminded of this if booking a flight or ferry trip to the country with your dog. I’ve covered the whole process in my guide to travelling to Malta with a dog.
Sweden also has the requirement to advise the country of your dog’s arrival, but only at the customs declaration point or through an online form, with no need to do it in advance. I didn’t actually find out about this until I was leaving the country, and didn’t suffer any consequences. I cover this fully in my guide to travelling in Sweden with a dog.
I’m not aware of any other EU country that has any additional requirement, but I recommend double-checking the individual country websites listed here, if in doubt. When it comes to related countries, as I mentioned above both the Faroe Islands and Iceland have quite strict entry procedures.
What About Puppies?
There are some exceptions to the rabies vaccination requirements for young animals that are too young to be vaccinated. I don’t recommend travelling with animals so young for a holiday, but if they are crossing the border to go to their new home refer to the EU regulations.
Travelling into the EU from Other European Countries
If you are travelling into an EU country or one of the related countries from another European country, the rules are more complex and similar to travelling to Europe with your dog from elsewhere in the world. Depending on what country you are travelling from, a rabies titre test may or may not be required. Additionally, an animal health certificate or “Annex IV” will be required if you don’t have a pet passport from the EU or a related country.
Which Countries Require a Rabies Titre Test?
If you are travelling into the EU from these six European countries, a rabies titre test is required: Albania, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine.
A rabies titre test is not required for “Part 2 listed” countries, as listed on the bottom table on this page. These four European countries are included: Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Russia.
What are the Requirements of the Rabies Titre Test?
There are a number of rules stipulated by the EU for the administration of a rabies titre test, if your dog requires one to travel to the EU.
The sample for the test needs to be collected by an authorised veterinarian at least 30 days after your dog is vaccinated for rabies. The sample needs to be tested in an EU approved laboratory. Assuming a sufficient level of antibodies are detected (0.5 IU/ml or greater), you then need to wait three months after the sample collection date to enter the EU.
The rabies titre test though remains valid for the life of your pet, as long as they always receive their rabies vaccine booster shot before the previous one expires.
What About Pets from the EU?
If your pet is originally from the EU, it is advisable to get a rabies titre test done before leaving the EU. In this case, there is no waiting period applied. You can immediately travel back to the EU without waiting for three months after the rabies titre test. There is a section in the EU pet passport for recording your dog’s rabies titre test.
As noted above, the rabies titre test remains valid for the life of your pet, as long as they receive their next rabies booster shot before the previous one expires. If this doesn’t occur, your pet will require another rabies titre test (hence the room for recording multiple tests).
Is the Paperwork Really Checked?
During my travels around Europe, I didn’t actually make it to any of these countries. At first I wasn’t sure of the requirements for dogs travelling in between the countries (and didn’t realise that my rabies titre test from Australia was valid), and then I later ran out of time. So, I don’t have personal experience at travelling between these countries and the EU.
However, I have been informed by other travellers, that paperwork is not always checked when travelling from these countries into the EU. This includes travelling from Serbia into Bulgaria. However, it is advisable to always comply with the regulations and expect that paperwork may be checked.
If you go to cross the border and you haven’t had the rabies titre test done for your dog, there is a long waiting period. Especially if your dog is originally from within the EU and could have skipped the waiting period entirely!
What Entry Points are Allowed?
If you are entering an EU country or any of the related countries with your dog, you are required to enter at specific entry points, where your dog’s paperwork can be checked. These are known as “Travellers’ points of entry”, and may include airports, shipping ports and land border crossings.
To view the list of relevant entry points for each country, click here.
Travelling out of the EU to Other European Countries
When travelling from a country in the EU or one of the related countries to other countries in Europe, the list of requirements differs between different countries. You should check the requirements for the individual country.
Often it is sufficient to assume that travelling with your dog’s EU pet passport and an up-to-date rabies vaccine is sufficient, but this is not always the case.
Rules for Specific Countries
At the moment, I have not yet travelled personally with my dog to these countries or investigated the details of the rules for most countries. As I investigate each country, I will list them here:
A handy initial place to check the rules is PetTravel.com, but always check the relevant government website to double-check your have the latest rules and the full details required.
Is the 3-Year Rabies Vaccine Recognised?
Within the EU countries, the 3-year rabies vaccine is recognised. This means that if your dog receives a 3-year rabies vaccine, your dog does not need a booster shot for another three years. However, there are some countries around the world that only recognise 1-year rabies vaccines, and required your dog to have a booster shot yearly.
The following European countries require a yearly rabies vaccine (according to my investigations): Belarus, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine.