How to Travel to Italy with a Dog

One of the most dog-friendly countries in Europe is Italy, and I strongly encourage everyone to travel to this wonderful country with their dog. But how do you travel to dog-friendly Italy with a dog? I cover the paperwork requirements and transport options from various countries, plus a step you may need to do before exporting your dog from Italy.

Travel to Italy with a Dog

Travelling to Italy with a Dog from the EU

The rules to travel to Italy with a dog from elsewhere in the European Union (EU) are quite simple, the same as for most EU countries.

Firstly, your dog needs to be microchipped. Secondly, your dog needs a valid rabies vaccine, that was given at least 21 days before you cross the border (in the case of an initial vaccine) and hasn’t expired. Finally, your dog needs this all to be recorded in a pet passport.

Most visitors to Italy, myself included, find that pet passports are not checked when entering Italy by road or train, including from Switzerland.

When flying into Italy, pet passports may or may not be checked. Some airlines may also require a health certificate.

Travelling to Italy with a Dog from Outside the EU

If travelling to Italy with a dog from outside the EU, unless your dog has an EU pet passport from a previous stay in the EU, your dog will require an EU pet health certificate to be completed.

For an EU pet health certificate to be issued, your dog will require a microchip to be implanted and a valid rabies vaccine. This rabies vaccine needs to have been given at least 21 days before entry into the EU, plus have not yet expired.

Dog-friendly Italy
The paperwork to fly a pet to Italy is quite simple

Only authorised vets can issued an EU pet health certificate. It may also need to be endorsed by an official veterinarian in your country before departure. The certificate needs to be issued within 10 days of your arrival in Italy.

Find out more details on the process in these countries:

Flying to Italy with a Dog

Many of the airlines that fly to Italy are dog-friendly, including many airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin. With smaller dogs in particular, this is often the easiest way to travel to Italy.

For instance, the majority of European airlines allow small dogs to fly in the cabin, including Italian airlines. To check out the pet policy of individual airlines, check out my dog-friendly guide to European airlines.

If you’re travelling from elsewhere in the world, I’ve also put together guides to the pet policies of United States airlines, Canadian airlines and major Asian airlines.

Preparing for our flight
There are many options for flying a pet to Italy

Consider checking out flights from these airlines…

ITA Airways

ITA Airways is the new state-owned flag-carrier of Italy, replacing the now defunct Alitalia. Pets are allowed to travel on their flights, both in the cabin and the hold.

When flying in the cabin, the standard weight restriction of 8kg applies. Carriers must be no larger than 40 x 20 x 24cm, or up to 28cm high if they have a soft or semi-rigid top. 

The fee for pets to fly in the cabin is €90 within Europe and North Africa, increasing to €210 or $230 USD to the rest of the world, including the Middle East. The equivalent fee for pets to the fly in the hold is €100 and €220. See their full more pet policy, plus fee information.

Neos Air

Neos Air is a low cost Italian carrier that primarily operates out of Milan, to a mix of short-haul and long-haul destinations. Pets are permitted to fly in the cabin and hold on most routes, although there are restrictions on flights to China, Jamaica, Mauritius and UAE.

Neos offers a more generous weight allowance of 10kg for pets in the cabin. Their carrier bag size limits are also on the generous side – 48 x 35 x 29cm. There is a limit of two pets in the cabin and the hold, with pets able to be booked during your initial booking or up to 48 hours before the flight.

A flat fee of €100 applies to all pets flying in the cabin, €200 for pets flying in the hold each way. See their full pet policy.

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines flies into multiple Italian airports from a range of American cities, including Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Malpensa Airport in Milan and Marco Polo Airport in Venice.

Pets are permitted to fly in the cabin on Trans-Atlantic flights operated by Delta, although generally not pets can be shipped in the hold. No maximum weight applies, with the maximum kennel size varying depending on the flight and aircraft (check when booking).

Delta Check-In
Pets can fly in the cabin with Delta to Italy

Up to four pets can fly in the cabin on each flight, with a fee of $200 USD applying. See their full pet policy.

United Airlines

After not allowing pets on Trans-Atlantic flights for a period, United Airlines will once again allow pets to fly in the cabin to Italy. (American Airlines still won’t fly pets on Trans-Atlantic flights).

Like Delta, there is also no maximum weight for flights flying in the cabin on United Airlines flights, just a maximum kennel size. A set charge of $125 USD applies.

United Airlines Plane
United Airlines is another option

Similar to Delta, United Airlines also no longer flies pets in the hold except in limited circumstances, such as for active US military personnel. See their full pet policy.

Taking the Train to Italy with a Dog

Another option that I’ve used multiple time to travel to Italy with my dog is taking a train. There are connections to multiple surrounding countries including France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.

The rules for dogs travelling on trains in Europe vary from country to country, company to company. However, generally both small dogs and large dogs are permitted, although fees vary.

In Italy, the main train company is Trenitalia. On Trenitalia trains, small dogs in a carrier (no larger than 70 x 30 x 50cm) are allowed to travel for free, in all classes of train.

Dog at the Cinque Terre
We travelled by train to Cinque Terre with our dog

Larger dogs are not allowed in Executive class, Premium class or the Quiet Zone on high-speed trains, plus not on regional trains between 7am to 9am on weekdays. They need to be leashed and muzzled and travel with a Second class or Standard half-price ticket (regardless of class).

When crossing international borders into Italy, our dog’s passport was never checked, although always be prepared.

Exporting a Dog from Italy to Outside the EU

Finally, there will come a time when its time to head home from Italy… And if you are flying out of Italy to a country outside of the EU, including to the USA, an additional step is required.

Your pet is required by the Italian government to have a Pet Export Certificate. I’ve heard varying reports whether this applies to pets simply holidaying in Italy (it’s not always checked), so I recommend checking with your airline or getting one just in case.

You will firstly need to obtain a certificate of good health from a local veterinarian. Then within 48 hours visit the local ASL (Azienda Sanitaria Locale), who will check your pet’s health and rabies certificates and issue an export certificate, for a small fee.

For further details, see this US embassy website. This website states the export certificate is only valid for 6 days, but I’ve also heard it’s valid for 30 days. The US website also states that your pet must have been vaccinated against rabies in the last 11 months, but normally the 3-year rabies vaccination is recognised in the EU.

I don’t have personal experience at obtaining this certificate, as I have not flown out of the EU from Italy. This requirement does not apply when flying out of other countries, such as France – something to keep in mind if you are visiting multiple countries.

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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