Check Your Pet’s Microchip Before Traveling with Your Pet

Dog in kennel

The Guardian posted a sad but important article recently about a dog traveling to the United Kingdom from South Africa whose microchip was faulty. Because of this, and according to the Department of Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) policies, the dog was quarantined for 4 months at great inconvenience and cost to the owner. Here is a link to the story.

This story serves to remind all pet owners how crucial it is for your veterinarian to scan your pet’s microchip every time you bring it in for whatever reason, but especially prior to traveling to any foreign country. In this case, there¬†were quarantine facilities in the UK, but this is not the case in other countries in the European Union or other countries worldwide. If your pet is not traveling with the proper identification and paperwork and the required tests have not been done, it will be refused entry and returned to the country of origin at your cost or destroyed. This is something no one traveling with a pet wants to happen.

Related: What is a microchip and why you should microchip your pet.

If your veterinarian does not have a scanner, you can rent or purchase a scanner and bring it with you.

Not all countries require a microchip, but many do including all EU countries. Just be sure that you know the regulations for your destination country before traveling with your pet. Find pet passport policies for countries all over the world. It could make the difference between a fun trip and a disaster.


Check Your Pet’s Microchip Before Traveling with Your Pet — 11 Comments

  1. Mariana – yes, the microchip comes first before the rabies vaccination. (same vet visit is fine). Just make sure that the chip has 15 digits. We have the Datamars slim chip in our store, if you cannot find one. Get your pet’s crate or carrier early and get them used to being in it. That is the single most important thing you can do. Freeze the water in the water bowl the night before. Get a big bowl for the crate (if your pet is traveling as cargo). Hydration is important. Also, get good pet pads; very important on long trips.

  2. Hi, my husband and I are moving to Germany from Mexico. I have read all the requirements that we need to bring our two cats with us. They will need a EU chip, which one do you recommend??? and does the chip has to be before the the rabies vaccination??? any other advice for an 11hr-flight? thanks!

  3. Katerina – according to new EU regulations, the chip must have 15 digits or you must provide a scanner that will read the chip. It is difficult to predict whether they will have a universal scanner on hand that will read your kitty’s chip, but you can write the Border Inspection Post that you will enter in Greece and inquire. If you re-chip, you must re-vaccinate.

  4. I have a 14 yo cat that I want to take with me to Greece from the US. She is microchipped but since it was done when she was a kitten, the chip isn’t compliant with current standards. Will this be an issue with Greek customs? I’d rather not re-chip and re-vaccinate her if I don’t have to.

  5. If you are flying in and out of Frankfurt on the same airline and your layover is around 2 hours (important if your pet is traveling in the cargo hold), then you will transit Germany and a microchip is not required.

  6. Could you please let me know – is microchip required when flying from St Petersburg, Russia via Frankfurt to Washington, DC? I’m finding mixed information on the internet and don’t know where to find the answer. I know it is not required to enter US and we would like to avoid microchipping my dog if we can.

  7. Linda – although Ireland’s regulations do not specifically ban wolf hybrids, we suspect that, if they are allowed entry, they are treated as exotics and will require an import permit.

  8. Hi Linda – we are checking on the wolf hybrid because Ireland does ban some dog breeds. In the UK, wolf hybrids are handled through the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency. We will update the post. As to your first question, it depends on what country your pet has resided in for the past 6 months. If it is from a rabies-controlled country like the US or Canada, it is a 15 digit microchip and a rabies vaccination (in that order) at least 21 days prior to entry with an Annex II form for Ireland. It is basically the same requirements when entering from another EU country except the EU pet passport replaces the Annex II form. When entering from a high-rabies country, you will need a titer test 30 days after the vaccination and 3 months prior to entering the country. In all cases, your dog will need a tapeworm test between one and five days of travel. You can find all the details here as well as links to forms and instructions if you need them:

  9. What do I need to do to take my dog’s to Ireland..
    Do I need anything else other than records of health..
    And if we own a wolf hybrid or malamute is there anything special we need? Are they allowed in Ireland..

  10. Hi Lorel – there is no tattoo or microchip requirement to enter the US, however, there will be a microchip required to return to Spain if you plan to do so.

  11. Does a dog need a microchip to travel from Spain to the U.S.?

    Is a tatoo satisfactory?

    I have heard about the research indicating that microchips cause cancer in dogs…I would rather not have to put one..

    thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *